Winterizing Your Basement

December 6th, 2011

by Jacques Bouchard

A Harsh Winter Is On The Way — Is Your Basement Ready?

No matter where you lived in the United States last year, the 2010-2011 winter was one for the history books. And with this year’s winter kicking off with a harsh Northeaster that left more than three million homes without power, you can be sure that more wintry blasts are on the way this time around.

While many homeowners are bracing their homes for the coming winter by insulating their attic, installing energy efficient windows, and by upgrading their utilities, many homeowners overlook their basement entirely when winterizing.

How A Basement Costs You Money In The Winter
A basement is where many homeowners keep the utilities in their home — including their furnace, water heater, HVAC system, air ducts, hot water pipes, and more. These utilities use energy to make heat, and they will need more energy if they’re in a cold environment.

Additionally, a cold, drafty basement means a cold floor and drafty environment in the floor above. Along with being uncomfortable underfoot, this will bring cold into the main area of the home, increasing demands on your heating system.

Addressing Critical Energy Loss Points In The Basement
One major area of heat loss in a basement is through the windows. While a homeowner may pay a bundle for high-efficiency windows in every other part of the building, the basement windows typically remain single-paned, steel-framed, drafty, and rusty.

Replacing these windows with durable windows designed with vinyl and two panes of Low-E glass will do wonders to reversing the energy drain caused by these windows. Replacing the window wells with new, covered ones will hold back winter winds, adding even more efficiency.

When the windows are closed and outside air is sealed out, your next goal should be to insulate those cold, concrete basement walls. Basement wall insulation can save you hundreds on your utility bills, while also adding value and comfort to your home. We recommend a waterproof wall board — one that will not be damaged in the sometimes damp or humid environment.

While insulating your floor is not as important as the walls, you may want a warmer surface underfoot for comfort’s sake alone (not to mention the aesthetic appeal of a new floor). Simply installing a basement floor system that creates an airspace between the cold concrete and the surface above may be sufficient, adding comfort and efficiency to your home.

Using fiberglass bats on the ceiling won't keep the air and moisture from the basement from infiltrating the insulation creating conditions for mold to develop.

What We Do NOT Recommend
Insulating your basement ceiling with fiberglass is a big mistake when it comes to energy efficiency. While it may make your floor more comfortable, you will still have a cold basement space, and cold utilities inside. By insulating the walls and floor, you avoid this problem, and make your basement more comfortable in the process.

Finally, it is in your best interests to find a basement dehumidifier that is both energy efficient AND rated for below-grade spaces. Basement dehumidifiers made for living space are most effective when drying air that is room temperature.

In a basement, it’s not uncommon for the temperatures to be 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Put a home dehumidifier in that space, and it will only be able to function at a small fraction of its capacity.

We Make Basements More Energy Efficient!
Total Basement Finishing dealers specialize in products that not only dry a basement, but also make it warmer and more energy efficient. Our exclusive line of basement products is the ideal way to upgrade your space for added beauty, utility, and comfort.

We offer homeowners within our service area free, no-obligation quotes!  To sign up for your free quote, contact us today!  We look forward to serving you!

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