How to Insulate a Basement
LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to Angie in Michigan who’s looking to spruce up the house. (baby cries)
Whoa, Angie, is everything OK over there?
ANGIE: Oh, yes.
LESLIE: What’s going on?
TOM: We hear the babies.
ANGIE: She just bumped her head [as you were picking up] (ph).
TOM: Oh. (chuckles)
ANGIE: Here’s our situation. We bought a farmhouse three years ago.
ANGIE: And it’s an 80-year-old farmhouse and it has a cellar under about a third of it.
(children making noise, Leslie chuckles)
ANGIE: And we’ve always noticed that the cellar is either really cool when we’re running the air or really hot in the winter when we’re running our heat. And we have propane heat, so we’re looking to find the best way to get energy efficiency in our house.
TOM: Do you have the heating system – is it in the basement?
TOM: And is it hot water or hot air?
ANGIE: It’s hot air. It’s all propane.
TOM: So – yeah, well you could have been either. But OK, so the ducts are running through the basement and if the ducts are not insulated, that’s probably why the basement’s so overly hot in the wintertime and that means that you’re leaving too much heat in the basement and you have to heat it all that much more to get it warm upstairs.
So one thing you might want to think about is insulating your ducts in the basement and that also is going to help in the summertime, too, because it’ll make the air conditioning more efficient.
ANGIE: We talked about putting insulation on the floor because there is no insulation between that. Would there be a lot of heat loss between the floor and the cellar – to the cellar?
TOM: No, generally you don’t insulate that particular space …
TOM: … because it’s an interior floor system. If you were to put a floor in your basement, then we could talk about ways to insulate that to make it a little warmer and that would be basically by putting in a vapor barrier first and then alternating usually 2×4 sleepers with solid foam so that there’s a barrier between the subfloor and the concrete floor and that makes the wood floors – it makes the basement floors a lot warmer.
LESLIE: And then you can insulate your child’s head.
ANGIE: (chuckles) She’s fine. Notice she’s not crying anymore.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, put the insulation on the walls and then – oh, good. (chuckles)
ANGIE: (chuckles) Little bumps never hurt anyone. (chuckles)
LESLIE: Aw. (chuckles)
TOM: Builds character.
ANGIE: Yeah, sure. OK, so we’ll take care of the ducts.
TOM: Alright, sounds good. Remember …
ANGIE: Alright, thanks so much.
TOM: Remember, Angie, keep all your ducts in a row, too.
ANGIE: (chuckles) Thank you.
TOM: Alright, you’re welcome.