5 Steps to a Warmer Basement
Does your basement leave you cold in the winter? If you're like many homeowners, your lower level doesn't get much use until the weather gets warm. Heat loss in your basement may be adding to your energy bills, as well. Fortunately, things may be looking up. Here are five ways to make your basement a more inviting place to spend time and reduce heating costs.
1. Seal air leaks
Warm air can leak out of gaps and cracks in the rim joists, where the wall meets the ceiling, as well as plumbing and wiring holes on outside walls. Caulk is best for sealing gaps or cracks that are one-quarter inch or smaller. Use spray foam insulation to fill gaps up to three inches. Fill larger gaps by cutting and stuffing pieces of insulation.
2. Add insulation
A well-insulated basement reduces heating costs and makes for a comfortable living space. A variety of insulation types are available. Fiberglass batt insulation is a good choice for unfinished basements, while blow-in products can be used to add insulation to a finished space. See recommended energy-saving insulation levels for your area.
3. Replace windows
If you have older single-pane windows in your basement, it's highly likely they're reducing comfort and increasing your energy bills. Install glass block or ENERGY STAR®-certified high-performance windows. If you choose not to replace your older windows, seal them from the outside with caulk and winterize them from the inside using a window insulation kit available at your home improvement retailer.
4. Check the crawlspace
If you have a crawlspace, make sure it's properly sealed and insulated. See Where to Insulate in a Home from the U.S. Department of Energy for more information about the right crawlspace insulation materials and techniques for your home.
5. Install carpet
Basements often have cement or tile-covered floors. If you don't have moisture problems, consider installing carpet in basement living areas. It will make the floor feel warmer and cozier beneath your feet. For work rooms and laundry rooms, consider putting a rug down with a pad underneath.
With a little extra effort, you can lower your energy costs and create a comfortable space for your family to find refuge on cold winter days.