Insulate unheated, unfinished basement ceiling?

Chemocurl zn5b/6a IndianaJanuary 23, 2007

Another post discussing insulating the crawl space caused me to stop and think about this.

I am in Indiana, (max average lows -10F to -20F.) I just checked the temp at the ceiling in the basement, and it is 58F.

The furnace is down there and the ductwork is insulated. All of the floors on the first (and only) floor are carpeted.

Do you think it would be cost effective to insulate the basement ceilings to save heat. I can see where it would be advantageous to not have them insulated in the summer time when it is necessary to run the air conditioning.

What are your thoughts?

(frugal, curly) Sue

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Most people will tell you "no" it isn't cost effective to do this. Mainly because of one thing, Heat rises. You really want to spend your money insulating the top of the house to prevent heat from rising out.
I have an old farmhouse with a stone foundation and my basement is not insulated. I do not notice any difference between rooms with carpet or wood.
One of the cheapest and easiest things you can do is to caulk and fill ALL holes that allow air into your house. This means you should also prevent air from leaking around your light fixtures and outlets. (they sell these little pads for that purpose). I just redid our back room, which has three exterior walls. My husband took the socket covers off and replaced the sockets. When I was painting around the "holes" I could NOT believe the breeze that comes through there!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2007 at 8:52AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I had the house built about 19 years ago, and feel the builders did a pretty good job as far as insulation, moisture barrier, venting, etc. I was able to watch as it progressed and they kept me well informed about it all.

It has brick doors and good windows and doors, yet.

Short of piling on more clothes and turning the thermostat down some more, I was just looking for some additional savings.

Do you think it might be cost effective to put one of those water heater blanket coverings on the water heater in the 55F degree basement? It is 19 years old and does not feel in the least bit warm to the touch. It's probably about time to start shopping for a new one, so I will know exactly what I want, in case of an emergency. Maybe even best to go ahead and replace now b4 it goes out or leaks? Since I live alone, and it would not be any great catastrophe if it went out, and I had to do without for a few days b4 getting it replaced.

I just checked, and there are no breezes around the sockets, or under the doors.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2007 at 11:47AM
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I've heard folks tell that it helps to insulate under the floor.

But what about insulating down the basement walls to a few feet under grade?

That wouldn't take a lot more insulation, and you'd have some more comfortable space in the basement.

In summer, I often turn on the furnace fan late in the afternoon when things get rather hot, here north of the southernmost Great Lake (Erie). That blows some rather cool basement air up into the house.

We find that in that semi-cool basement in summer the warm air moving down there from outside tends to deposit some moisture and goods made of iron tend to rust. Some papers, etc. tend to mould and there is some on the walls of a finished basement room.

Several years ago our local utility added a timer to our water heater that made it run at 2:00 a.m., when there was low demand for power (with an over-ride button that one could push in case of shortage). Plus they added an insulating blanket. When another jurisdiction took over that project, they removed the timers when they made service calls, plus the insulation, when they installed a replacement heater. At least, they were going to, but I told them to leave that blanket right there - which they didn't mind doing.

Hope you can make arrangments that keep you and yours as snug as a bug in a rug (or should that be, " ... as snug as bugs in rugs"?).

ole joyful

P.S. I guess the number of bugs isn't a big deal for you who, like I, live alone.

o j

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 2:00PM
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Check around your sill plate (around the perimiter of your basement) and see if it's well insulated. Not long ago I read where that's a place for a huge amount of energy loss.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 7:58AM
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The sill plate is a good idea.
Also, I use a water heater blanket. I figured that was cheap and easy and couldn't hurt! I have heard people say it saves money, however I can't say I have proved it.

Most people will also find that the basement is insulated because of the dirt around it. Ours stays a very consistant temperature all year round. I bet you would find this it true in your case also. If you measure the temp in the summer I bet it will be about 58-60 also.

Since you live alone, maybe you should turn down heat going to the rooms you use the least. You can shut vents to these rooms or go to the basement and adjust dampers (providing you have forced hot air). Also, keep the doors closed to rooms you are not using and if you have two stories, add a door or keep the stair well door closed. This will keep the heat down stairs instead of rising to the upstairs. This will make the heater turn on less (if the thermostat is downstairs) and keep the house more even-temperatured.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 9:18AM
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