Drafts in a home don't only cause discomfort, but also cause much needed heat in the winter to escape, thereby increasing your heating costs. One of the places in the home where drafts usually occur is in the basement. By properly insulating the basement, you can reduce your energy cost. Here's what you can do to stop the draft in your basement.
- Seal the obvious places where air leaks in the basement occur, such as doors and the windows. Purchase some caulk from any hardware store and seal the window and door frames. This is very easy to do!
- Don't leave the windows open in the basement. During the summer, you may choose to vent the basement windows, but in the winter months, don't forget to close them.
- Locate any drafts and air leaks in your basement. Light up a stick of incense and walk around the basement. If the smoke wavers or moves in a different direction other than going upwards, that's where your air leak is. Sometimes, you can easily find the leak if it is caused by a hole on the basement wall since you will see a small beam of light coming through. Once you locate the air leaks, you can choose to treat the problem from inside the basement as well as from outside the home.
- Insulate the basement. If you have an unfinished basement, consider installing drywall but make sure to place either blow in insulation or fiberglass insulation. If you live in an older home, you may need to replace the insulation. In this case, use blow in insulation. It's best to hire a professional to do this since the high pressure compressor equipment needed may be difficult to obtain.
- Insulate the sill plate of your foundation, which is found above the joists. You will find some space between the sill plate and the cement. Stuff fiberglass insulation in the space. You may need to use a thin stick to push the stuffing in. It's more important that you cover all the space instead of layering the insulation thickly. You will also need to caulk the insulation in place once you place it on the sill. Go around the entire perimeter of the basement to ensure you get the best coverage.
- Check the outside perimeter of your home. You may need to move around shrubs to make sure you get all cracks. Seal any cracks and outside seams between the vinyl cladding outside your home. Use Great Stuff Expanding Foam Sealer. This is available in hardware stores. Follow the package directions.
These tips are relatively inexpensive and can be done in one weekend. You can even do it yourself if you find the cost of a professional too expensive. It's best to do this project in the spring or summer in preparation for the winter season. After a few hours of work, you should see a noticeable difference, not only in the overall feel of the basement, but also in your energy bill.