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Can Air Source Heat Pump Sit under the house?

Our old basement from the 1700's is surrounded with fieldstones and contains a huge central chimney with thousands of pounds of massive rocks and boulders. Since the temperature is a fairly constant 55 degrees year-round thanks in part to the thermal mass in the basement wouldn't installing an air to air (split-mini) heat pump in the basement make sense? Or is it not a feasible plan? The home is in Massachusetts and I want to get away from oil heat. (My PB steam boiler just cracked)


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,344
    There's no free lunch...

    Your basement stays at 55 or thereabouts mostly because that is the mean annual temperature; granted, the chimney base helps.

    Now... if you install an air source heat pump in the basement, keep in mind that what a heat pump does is pump heat from one place to another (hence the name...).  In this case from your basement to the rest of the house.  This means that while you are heating the rest of the house, the basement will get colder.

    I'm not saying that it's not feasible -- but I am suggesting that you might find that pretty early in the winter you got the basement down to freezing, which might not be all that desirable.

    You'd be better thinking about a ground source heat pump, if you have the land and the proper soil conditions.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Nova
    Nova Member Posts: 22
    Freezing Air

    Excellent point! I certainly wouldn't want the basement to freeze if for no other reason that my floor boards are spaced apart about a half inch throughout the living area. I thought about a ground source solution. There's an old well that looks very deep within 4 feet of the house and this might be utilized together with a dry well for the return, but I'm afraid the cost will break the bank. Meanwhile, this house needs heat so I guess I'll replace my cracked Peerless WBV 03 steam oil setup in time for next winter at least.
  • Eastman
    Eastman Member Posts: 927
    1700's basement

    Tell us about your project.  The house originally dates back to the 1700's?  At some point steam was installed?
  • Nova
    Nova Member Posts: 22
    From Fireplaces to Steam

    The house was built circa 1729 according to earlier research that got this house listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We have traced the deeds back to 1790 but that's as far back as we can go. Steam? Don't know when that came about, but before that, there were 5 fireplaces with a primitive beehive oven. Maybe we'll fire it up one day and stone-bake a pizza :)

    The project has started with the replacement of the Peerless with another steamer. The price was right. I also want to take advantage of utility rebates and install several ductless heat pumps, i.e., CREE or Mitsubishi, both for a/c and heat in the shoulder seasons, which should reduce both my electric and oil bills.