Your relationship with your basement might change with the seasons. A basement can provide a refreshing retreat on a hot, humid, midwest summer day. What was once an inviting spot to unwind for the day has turned into an icebox and lost its appeal of comfort as winter weather moves in. Don’t let the cold scare you away from enjoying family movie night or the big game. Keep your basement warm and cozy during this upcoming Iowa winter with a few of our tips!.
Have Plenty of Insulation
The first, and arguably most critical, step to keeping your basement warm is having proper insulation. Without insulation, your efforts to fight the chill will be nothing but an uphill battle. Insulation is intended to reduce the rate of heat transfer in a given space. Without insulation, there is nothing preventing the cold from depleting the warmth of your indoor air. Use an R-value of 15 for your basement in Iowa.
If you have framing studs in your basement, you can use insulation batts. These are the pre-cut rolls of fiberglass insulation that can be easily installed as they are sized for standard wall frames.
Foam board insulation is a good basement insulation option because of its high resistance to moisture. The foam board is similar to drywall in that it is simple to handle and cut to the size you need. Additionally, foam boards typically carry a higher R-value per inch of thickness than insulation batts.
Seal Cracks and Gaps
Cold air can seep through and warm air can vanish due to cracks and gaps in walls, doors, and windows. If you notice light peeking through or feel a draft near the edges of a door or window, your interior heat has an escape route. You can resolve these issues with expanding foam, caulking, or weather-stripping. In some cases, you may need to reframe your door or replace your windows.
If you have a significant crack in the walls of your home, you will want to consult a professional to address the situation to be sure there are no foundation concerns.
Install Carpet or Use Rugs
The type of flooring you have in the basement plays a role in how well your basement will retain heat. Concrete, tile, and wood flooring do not hold heat as well as carpet. Concrete is porous and moisture can work its way through the floor making it feel damp and making you feel cold. If you live in an area that experiences frequent flooding or water issues, you may not be interested in having carpet installed. In that case, consider an area rug or two to help absorb the heat during the winter. Anything that will help you stay comfortable is worth it!
Watch Your Thermostat
If your home HVAC system is running on a single-zone system, then one thermostat is responsible for the temperature throughout the whole home. The thermostat is most commonly found on the main floor of a home with this type of system. Let’s say you have your thermostat set to 70 degrees during the winter months. When the furnace kicks on, the goal is to satisfy the thermostat and since this is located on your main floor, the furnace will turn off once the floor is at 70 degrees.
However, your basement is likely still several degrees cooler than the main floor. That becomes quite obvious when you walk from the living room to the basement and feel like you need to throw on a winter coat. To offset the difference in temperature, you can use a space heater.
Turn On a Space Heater
Using a space heater as a primary source of heating for your whole home is not energy or cost-effective. A space heater as a complementary heat source for your chilly basement is a more appropriate approach that will keep you from needing to throw on a heavy sweatshirt and wool socks every time you head downstairs. It’s important to use caution as tens of thousands of house fires start each year due to space heaters. Don’t place the heater near combustible objects or ever leave it unattended.
Maintain the Right Humidity Level
Humidity can be dreaded in the summer but is necessary in the wintertime to help keep your house and basement feeling warm. Your air conditioning system will cool your home and remove humidity. The air drys out as the cold moves in and zaps the humidity levels. By maintaining a humidity of 35 to 50 percent you will aid in your comfort year-round. The difference is you remove the humidity in the summer and need to introduce humidity during the colder seasons. Plus, using a humidifier has a variety of benefits to your health and home.
Keep Your Furnace in Working Condition
All of these tips will help you maintain a comfortable home and maintain warmth in your basement during the winter, but it would all be for not if your furnace is not functioning properly. If you have concerns about your furnace or HVAC system not operating the way it should get in touch with the experts at Wyckoff Heating & Cooling. We offer bi-annual maintenance on your system to give you Peace of Mind comfort no matter what the forecast is.