Since heat rises, basements tend to bear the brunt of the chill in many homes. However, it shouldn’t feel like the frozen tundra when you go downstairs to do the laundry or use your workbench. There are several ways to bring a bit of warmth to the nip in the downstairs air, but the most important thing is to find out from where air drafts are stemming and why.
Use Existing Ductwork
Depending on how old your home is and how the ductwork is set up, it may be possible to tap into the existing ductwork to add a line to the basement. This is not a DIY project, though. Hire a professional to see if you can safely modify the ductwork.
Check the Furnace
One of the simplest reasons for a chilly basement is an inefficient furnace or a furnace that has not been maintained. A company specializing in heating can tell you if your forced-air furnace is too big or small for your home’s square footage. In addition, they can clean and maintain your furnace once a year and check for leaks in the ductwork, which might be redirecting heat away from the basement.
It may be tempting to lay wall-to-wall carpet on wood floors, but if you can’t guarantee your basement and foundation are 100 percent waterproof stick to area rugs. Carpet can trap moisture in the foundation, but at least you can remove area rugs and air out the concrete (and the rugs).
You will know the basement has little or no insulation when you feel wafts of cold air emanating from the walls. If you don’t know exactly where, what type, and how much insulation your basement has, schedule an energy assessment. There are trained auditors who will tell you where air leaks are located.
To determine what type of insulation is best to use in the basement, you need to determine the necessary R-value. “R-value” refers to how well insulation insulates. A higher R-value means better insulation. You can figure this out by hiring an assessor or by looking at existing insulation in the area.
Seal All Cracks
Cracks around doors and windows allow cold air to flow into the basement—and they not only chill the air, but they also add moisture. Weatherstripping is a safe way to block cracks around a window without sealing off potential exits.
Any drafts coming through the basement walls means there are cracks in the concrete or brick. These need to be addressed as they indicate structural problems such as foundation shifting or water pressure. You can seal very shallow cracks yourself, but leave it to a basement expert to determine what the source of the cracking is and how to fix it.
Extra Heating Types
There are several heating appliance options: ceramic, radiant space heaters, and electric heaters. Radiant space heaters use electricity and heat smaller areas via heat radiation, so they are ideal for small family rooms. Ceramic space heaters use electricity to heat ceramic plates, which then heat the aluminum sheets between the plates. Baseboard heaters are low to the ground, heating the floor instead of the air in the middle of the room. Hot air rises, so it eventually makes its way to the rest of the room.
Never leave a plug-in heater unattended, and do not place anything on it. Keep all heaters clear of everything—even things you might think are not flammable could smoke and melt.
Acculevel Is Your Basement Waterproofing Expert
If you need a professional to fix the cracks in your foundation and basement walls, Acculevel is the company to hire. Specializing in basements and foundations since 1996, our professionals can find the source of the cracking, repair all cracks, and advise you on what needs to be done to fix the source of the problem. If you live in the Midwest, give us a call at (866) 669-3349 or email us at [email protected].