Cold (freezing) basement

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lindgold
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 10:20 pm

Cold (freezing) basement

Post by lindgold »

I have a 1922 bungalow-style frame house, 900 sq, ft. My basement is a little less then 45 degrees during the winter. It's unfinished, cement block foundation and is quite shallow. Only about 3 ft. below grade. I don't want to finish it, I just would like to do something to make it warmer. The HVAC ducts have only 2 vents, both of which are at one end of the house. My thought is to put insulation between the floor joists, but am not sure this would help and if it would, which way should the paper barrier face. Right now I'd be happy with at least a 10 degree rise in temp. I don't want to invest in this unless I am pretty sure the insulation would help. It may be possible to put a vent in the duct at the other end of the house. Any other ideas would be welcome also.

As a DIY woman, I'm missing out on using my workshop in the winter months, unless I use a space heater when I want to do something down there, but even then it's not very comfortable, and that doesn't solve the problem for the whole space.

SkipW
Posts: 571
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:25 am
Location: Midcoast Maine

Re: Cold (freezing) basement

Post by SkipW »

I don't know where you are located, but here in Maine 3 feet below grade wouldn't get below the frost line!

Are you saying you have a full basement and five or six feet is above grade? So you have exposed concrete block walls?

Putting insulation in the ceiling (floor joists) is not going to warm the space IMHO, just keep the upstairs floor warmer (not exposed to 45 degree basement) To warm the space you could put 2" rigid foam insulation on the block walls but you still might have to add heat, I think, to get the room comfortable.

What type of heat does the house use? My small cellar is heated by the heat loss from the oil fired boiler and metal flue to the chimney. Also a bit from the hot water pipes going to the various baseboard heaters. You may add a register in your basement as you suggested but it may decrease the heating capacity upstairs if you have hot air, you might refer to your heat tech/plumber for that call....

Once you have insulated the concrete block walls, you may also get enough heat from a space heater to be comfortable, too.

I hope I understand your situation, but YMMV....
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lindgold
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 10:20 pm

Re: Cold (freezing) basement

Post by lindgold »

Thanks for your input.

I'm in the Chicago area and I was being generous about the 3 ft. It's less then that. From certain aspects of the construction I believe this house was built by a bunch of friends that were too cheap to dig deeper. The center beam has two tree trunks holding it up besides one pole. And the cistern was put in the basement instead of below ground like the houses around here that were built by contractors. Have forced air and I also thought about less heat going up. Makes for a great wine cellar though.

I tend to agree about the insulation but I am considering the rigid foam insulation. Also might do the ceiling anyhow because the living space floors are cold.

Thanks again, LG

rehabbingisgreen
Posts: 892
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:26 am

Re: Cold (freezing) basement

Post by rehabbingisgreen »

How about a small pellet stove to heat the space when you want to use it? They are pretty easy to vent and install air intakes. The bags of pellets are about 40 pounds each but if your basement is dry you could have them stored there.

I don't know if it would be more pain than it's worth but you could run it just when you need to and it is dry heat.
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