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Is It Better To Consider Basement Square Footage When Installing AC?

Is It Better To Consider Basement Square Footage When Installing AC?

If you have a basement in your home, you might be asking if the square footage required for installing an air conditioner should include it. We have interviewed specialists and perused online forums because we know you’re not the only one with this problem.

If you want to regulate the environment in your basement, you must determine how many square feet it has before installing an air conditioner. But if not, don’t add up its square footage.

The quick response is yes. Sounds simple enough, right? The devil, after all, is in the details. Continue reading to learn how your basement contributes to your home’s heating and cooling requirements as well as the dangers you should be aware of.

Should You Consider Basement Square Footage when Installing Air Conditioner?

Is It Better To Consider Basement Square Footage When Installing AC?

Imagine entering a fully furnished game area with high-end surround sound and lighting. Or to a wine cellar for a romantic evening spent in peace and quiet.

Compared to the designated stockroom that most homeowners would refer to their basements as, all of this would seem like a dream.

In actuality, hardly every home has a basement. In certain areas, like Texas, for instance, they are seen as architecturally impractical. In tornado-prone states in the Midwest, basements are frequently used as shelters or for structural support against the frost line.

But you’ll need to do more than just rearrange some bookcases and furniture if you want to turn that extra room beneath your house into luxurious living quarters. You’ll have to put up with the basement’s notoriously cold and stocky atmosphere.

Mold is known to thrive in basements because of the high moisture content and inadequate ventilation. It’s difficult to stand the stench of stagnant, stale air, yet they adore it!

Molds will turn your old garments and storage devices into Petri dishes because they flourish in this kind of atmosphere.

HVAC Installation

Is It Better To Consider Basement Square Footage When Installing AC?

An wonderful option to keep your basement cozy in the winter and delightfully cool in the summer is with an air conditioner. Additionally, it maintains adequate moisture levels.

The first step in furnishing your new area will be installing AC. When you actually begin moving items around to get the desired aesthetic, it won’t be quite as hot and muggy.

So, while calculating the square footage for AC installation or replacement, include the basement if you store valuables there or intend to convert it into a usable space.

To Control The Climate

Your HVAC system should account for the basement if you’re concerned that mold will ruin your possessions or if you want to use it as a living area.

Multiply the length and width of your basement to determine its square footage. That’s pretty much it. For instance, your basement would be 120 square feet if it were 10 feet long and 12 feet broad.

How Should An Air Conditioner Be Sized For Your House?

Given that certain states are hotter than others, various online calculators request information about the size and location of your home.

While you can use these as general guidelines (to avoid being duped by exorbitant prices), it is ideal to have experts come in for in-person evaluations.

The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) has established Manual J as the industry standard for selecting the proper size air conditioner. This framework includes a list of recognized programs that provide reliable readings for the best heating/cooling.

It uses the square footage of your house, but that is only one of the measurements it will require. In addition, Manual J takes insulation, window count, ceiling height, and other aspects into account.

It’s the exact opposite of guesswork, which you should want to avoid before making a big expenditure like installing an AC. Unfortunately, not all HVAC contractors make an effort to adhere to this framework.

HVAC Requirements For Basement

Either central air conditioning or ductless mini-splits are what we advise. Regardless of which option you select, there is no harm in speaking with nearby contractors to determine which one will best suit your requirements (and budget!)

Can Central Air Be Installed In The Basement?

You can, indeed. However, some professionals advise just adding the square footage of the basement to the rest of the house if you intend to install central air.

Ask a specialist to visit and determine whether the increased load can be maintained if you currently have central air conditioning and would like to know whether it can be extended to encompass your basement.

The potential drawback, though, is that this choice can take a long time to complete (due to additional ductwork and construction).

Is It Okay To Install Ductless AC In The Basement?

A ductless mini-split is something that many contractors advise purchasing, especially for tiny basements. Due to the lack of ducting, this is a fantastic alternative (hence the name).

To connect the indoor unit to the outdoor condenser, a pipe simply needs to be drilled a tiny hole in the wall. Compared to central air, installation is significantly simpler and faster.

Since mini-splits don’t require ductwork, they are also energy-efficient. And they are less expensive! It can be utilized as an addition to an existing central air system.

What If There Is No Air Conditioning In The Basement?

Count it out when you’re getting ready to acquire AC. Even though you can still keep things below, it won’t be as comfortable to set up an underground gym or home office without air conditioning.

It won’t qualify as a finished basement because the square footage of the basement is not included in the calculation (there is no permanent cooling or heating). This holds true even if it is furnished and used as a living area, such as a bedroom.

As a result, you miss out on the benefit of increased property value that a completed basement can provide.

For your basement, we still advise purchasing a digital humidity gauge. This straightforward tool can gauge the amount of moisture in a specific area.

It’s a good idea to occasionally check on this, especially after a lot of rain or in the winter (when condensation could form in your basement walls).

Now, even without air conditioning, there are a few more things you can do to keep mold from taking over your basement.

Appliances And Products That Fight Mold

Consider using dehumidifiers, moisture absorber packs, or exhaust fans that circulate air from the basement outdoors.


Is It Better To Consider Basement Square Footage When Installing AC?

Insulation is essential for controlling heat transfer and preventing moisture from entering the basement. Although houses are made to last, not all building materials and techniques are created equally.

With the entire basement below ground, it won’t make sense to insulate from the outside, but there are advantages to insulate your basement walls from the inside.


Depending on how you want to use the space, you may or may not count the square footage of your basement when installing an air conditioner. Include it in the square footage and the installation of the AC if you want to make it comfortable.

Is It Better To Consider Basement Square Footage When Installing AC?

What do you think?

Written by HVAC Contributor

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