Updated: Mar 26, 2020
Continuing on with preparation for the basement makeover, we decided it was time to grade off the Southern side of the house. We are quickly running out of nice weather, fall is setting in with cold and rain. It's ok though, just one more section to get done.
Even if I can't finish this, this fall, it is far enough along that I'll be able to get a full 3 walls done in the basement. Anyone that knows anything about me, I'll likely not even get that far this winter anyway.
The way I look at it, if I get one wall done, that's more than I had done. Even at one wall, it'll start to impact the energy savings in the basement. Not that I'm pumping tons of heat down there, only one vent. It's not about what I'm saving by pumping heat in to the basement though, it's about having the air in the basement being a bit warmer, causing the furnace to work less to get their air up to temperature and heat the upstrairs more efficiently.
With the layout of the house (designed for coal furnace), there is no cold air return to speak of. In fact, where the cold air return currently is (grate in floor), if I were to take the time to hook it up proper then I'd loose access to the 2 side rooms (the old coal storage room and the fruit cellar?). I don't want to lose these rooms, only other option would be to run the cold air return halfway across the basement, then back across the same half to avoid those doors. This would cost me head room in a good majority of the basement.
With all that said, I believe my best option is just to get the walls in and insulate it, to bring up the ambient temperature. Naturally, this will allow the one existing vent to work better and help negate the effects of the lack of having a cold air return. At least that's my thoughts on it, I could be wrong.