Heating for a Basement
LESLIE: Jim in New Jersey, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
JIM: Well, I have a question for you. I have a second home; vacation home. And it’s a contemporary house.
JIM: And I have – it’s seems like – I have the heat turned way low, like 50 degrees, most of the time during the winter …
TOM: Mm-hmm. What kind of heating system do you have in there, Jim?
JIM: It’s a propane-fired hot-water baseboard. And it seems like I’m going through too much. And I’ll tell you, it’s not a very efficient system because the ceilings are so high …
TOM: Ah. Mm-hmm.
JIM: It just doesn’t – it doesn’t – I think it’s on too much.
JIM: My question was I’m looking for a supplemental heating device that I can use maybe in the basement. I have a full basement, 10-foot ceilings. And I’m thinking that it might be best to try and warm up the basement and warm up the floors as opposed to trying to warm up the first floor – the living floor – which is just going up to the ceiling.
TOM: Well, couple of things you should do. First of all, you want to reduce your consumption you ought to look at the energy efficiency issues. You probably ought to have an energy audit done by an independent energy auditor to try to get a sense as to where you could tighten up that house so you need less energy.
LESLIE: Or even your propane provider probably does an energy audit. You just have to ask for it. They’ll come to the house and let you know where these energy leaks are and then you can help to fix them. Are you a fan of ceiling fans?
JIM: Yes, I love ceiling fans and we do have them in the house.
LESLIE: Well, there are even ceiling fans on the market that heat in addition to cooling. They have heating elements built up into the fan motors and the mechanisms themselves. So if you want, you can turn it on as a heating unit and then the fan will push the heat down, which will help circulate the heat around the room.
JIM: Yeah, the heating fan is called a Reiker Room Conditioner. Reiker – R-e-i-k-e-r Room Conditioner. And they’re actually incredibly efficient. They cost about a nickel an hour to operate. So that’s – if you have a high ceiling, that’s kind of a smart way to add some additional heat. We actually have one in our kitchen. And our kitchen kind of sticks off of the main body of the house so it’s always a little cooler in there in the winter and a little hotter in the summer. And that really helps balance things out.
JIM: Now, is that thermostatically controlled …
JIM: .. or is it kind of on/off kind of thing?
TOM: No, there’s a thermostat; a wireless thermostat that goes on the wall; like a wireless remote control.
JIM: Oh, that’s great.
TOM: And you set the temperature that you want and then it maintains whether one, two or three elements come on at the same time.
JIM: And that’s electric.
TOM: It’s electric. That’s right. And it just needs regular 120-volt service.
The website for the Reiker Room Conditioner is BuyReiker.com; B-u-y-R-e-i-k-e-r. And the fans are listed there. They look good and they’ll do a great job of delivering some additional heat to a supplemental area. Good for a space like a basement with a high ceiling or maybe even a porch, like a third room that you like to have a little bit of a heat on a cool evening. BuyReiker.com.