Finishing a basement is a major undertaking that involves many steps and decisions along the way. Be sure to include heating and air conditioning in your plans and to consider HVAC code and permits, so there are no surprises once you are done.
Before you get started, have a certified HVAC company inspect your basement and the current system. An HVAC professional can help you navigate the critical issues to protect your system and your home.
Keep heating and air conditioning components clear
In many homes, HVAC components (including the furnace and air handler) are located in the basement. If the basement is unfinished, this equipment is out in the open, and chances are you will want it enclosed as part of turning the basement into usable space. Creating a utility or mechanical room is a good way to conceal these elements as well as protect them, but that requires adhering to specific code requirements regarding gas appliances in order to properly vent them. Your HVAC company can assist you with determining the proper amount of space needed, as defined in the National Fuel Gas Code, as well as setting it up so that the equipment is easily accessible for maintenance, repairs or replacement.
HVAC code and permit considerations
In addition to the issues that surround enclosing your HVAC equipment, there are two important other code and permit considerations. First, if there are insufficient windows for natural ventilation, a mechanical ventilation system may need to be installed. Second, you may be required to provide detailed drawings to show the location of existing equipment, supply and return ducts, as well as where the new duct runs, registers and other duct system components will go. Building permits for the new equipment may also be required.
Determining the needed system size
An HVAC professional can perform a Manual J load calculation to determine whether your current system can handle the additional space. You may opt for upgrading to a whole new system, or simply add supplemental HVAC equipment to heat and cool the basement. If your system is older (10 or more years), a new high-efficiency system may make good economic sense. However, if your system is relatively new, adding on may be the best option.
Basement indoor air quality issues
Basements are susceptible to moisture and mold problems that not only cause damage but also contribute to poor indoor air quality. Incorporating proper drainage and waterproofing measures, as well as the right ventilation, into your basement refinishing plan is crucial to protect your health as well as your investment.
Indoor Air Quality is here to help with your basement remodeling project. Contact us today to get started! We serve homes in Highlands Ranch and throughout the Denver Metro Area.