Glass Block Windows and Cold

mmichaelkNovember 25, 2007

I live in Michigan and have a cinderblock basement (1200 square feet), year round carpet over 1950's tile on the floor, three heat registers (outlets). I also have 7 windows all of which are glass block. The basement gets very cold during the winter and I'm wondering if the glass block windows are transferring the cold from the outside into my basement.

I've stuffed insulation all around the perimeter between the outer walls and joists. I've also checked for air leaks and found none. I'm wondering if I were to attach a sheet of plexiglass over the glass block window area, if it would warm things up a bit. It would sort of function like an inside storm glass/window. Any thoughts?

BTW, I can't put an auxillary heater down there for a couple more years due to the fact that my three year old boys play down there unsupervised at times. Too risky.


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My mom has glass bocks in several basement windows. Her basement was always cold prior to the glass block windows, so I suspect the real problem is due to a lack of heat, rather than heat loss at the windows.

I'm no expert, but 3 heat registers doesn't sound like enough for 1200 sq ft. Also, the heat registers do better job close to the windows.
Do you have any returns? My mom's basement doesn't have any returns and probably could use a few more registers, especially over the windows.
Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2007 at 1:27PM
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We also added glass block to a couple of basements, which improved their warmth. If you simply have cinderblock walls with no insulation, that's also going to be a source of heat loss. Cool air is going to settle, which makes your basement floor potentially the coolest spot in the house. If your basement registers were like mine, they were just cut into the main trunk that went down the center of the house. Since heat rises, and since the heat registers were at the ceiling, the warm air never reached the floor. I'm guessing the cheapest thing to do is circulate the air in the basement, which is probably best done by adding a return air duct.

I'm just guessing in all of this, though.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 10:23AM
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You have the best hope of achieving a warm basement by making changes on the furnace side. My guess you'll need to add some more registers and returns. You will still need to run the furnace with the fan on continously to keep the cold air from settling in the basement. I have a well insulated basement with returns and plenty of ducts. I use a programable thermostat that allows you to also program the fan setting. When we are home and active, I run the fan all the time and the entire house is the same temperature. The thermostat also has a nice feature, in addition to "fan" and "auto" fan settings it has a "circ" setting that runs the fan with heat demand and 33 % of the time randomly to circulate the air. The thermostat is well worth the money.

good luck

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 2:15PM
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Most glass blocks are filled with an inert gas which is a great insulator.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 12:32PM
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    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 10:32AM
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