Why Most Basement Finishing Projects Get an F for Fresh Air, and How You Can Avoid the Same Problem

One challenge you’ll find in most basement finishing projects is that the original builder placed mechanical systems without regard to any future plans you might have. Chances are your furnace and water heater, as well as numerous pipes and ducts are located throughout the basement.

Of course, it would be ideal if you could go back and redesign the mechanical systems with your basement finishing project in mind, but that simply isn’t realistic. So, you’ll have to work with what you’ve been given.

You’ll no doubt need to create a separate room that will keep your furnace and hot water heater separate from the rest of your project. However, don’t simply close up the furnace and think you’re done.

Basement finishing creates some unique challenges for your furnace.

In previous articles in this series on basement finishing, we’ve discussed the need to complete a furnace analysis, as well as ensure that your space has adequate heat registers AND returns (See Highlands Ranch Basement Finishing - Warming to the Idea, and Aurora Basement Finishing - Comfort Should Be Standard.

One other important consideration is providing your furnace and hot water heater with enough fresh air to work (combust) properly. This is done by one of two methods. In most situations, simply running a 4″ insulated duct from the exterior of the house to the new furnace room is adequate. In rare cases, an in-line fan may be needed inside of the duct to provide enough air.

For Your Upcoming Basement Finishing Project, You Can Trust Us to Deliver On Time, Under Budget, and Beyond Expectations!

The need for a fresh air duct is almost always overlooked by unqualified contractors.

If your contractor is a licensed pro, he will likely obtain a building permit from your municipality before starting work. Most plans examiners and building inspectors will point out any potential need for more fresh air in your specific project.

Based on experience and the qualified advice from mechanical professionals, we’ve made the practice of providing for additional fresh-air standard in all basement finishing projects. If you’re planning a project, make sure you include one too. Your mechanical room will appreciate it and you’ll benefit from the comfort of a properly functioning furnace and hot water heater.

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