Wanting to get the basement warmer......
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    New Haven county, Connecticut
    Posts
    132
    I have a half finished basement which seems to stay too cold during the winter. There is one supply register in the finished side of the basement, which is about 20x20. There is no return anywhere on this side.

    Its been suggested that putting a return in would help because it should pull the cold air out and give the basement a better "mix" when the system is heating. Is this a good idea? Could I even go as far as adding a 3rd zone so that I have a second supply with an automatic damper (I have a 2 zone system right now and the panel can accept a third zone)?

    Also, the unfinished side of the basement also has the one supply register, for the same amount of space (20x20). However, above it is a tile kitchen floor which is *always* cold during the winter. Any ideas how to improve the feeling of the floor? Would I need to insulate the unfinished side of the basement? I already made sure I have insulation at the sill plate, which helped a little but not enough to make the kitchen floor comfortable (not even talking bare feet..........even with socks on the floor is cold).

    Thanks in advance!
    -Chris

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Gaylord, Michigan
    Posts
    729
    There is not a lot you can do about the floor being cold. Unless you wanted to put sleepers down, insulate and a subfloor over the top of it.

    A return air located low on an interior wall would probably help. But it sounds as though you do not have enough supply registers as well. So a combination of both would give better results.

    Zoning is another option, but you have to be careful of the sizing of the zones. You can achieve good results with a zoning system and a bypass damper. This would definetly be the most espensive option.

    It is hard to tell you exactly what you should do, the best advice is to find a reputable contractor to have a look at it, and give you options.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Huntsville,AL
    Posts
    4,125
    yes, add a return
    yes, insulate the other half.

    read at BUILDINGSCIENCE.com

    I put Styrofoam on the outside of my basement walls, down 2ft -- in Marion IN.

    was the whole bsmt load included in the furnace sizing? was any? if not, you must add insulation! --

    have you sealed the sill plate to the foundation?
    do you have makeup air to furnace?

    [Edited by cem-bsee on 09-02-2005 at 03:15 AM]

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    New Haven county, Connecticut
    Posts
    132
    Thanks for the advice.

    Since Im not the first owner of this house, I have no idea how they calculated the load when installing the system. Its already zoned, and like I said the two main zones seem to be pretty well thought out. Its just that the basement is too cool. Its even possible that they never intended on finishing even half of the basement, and when they did they just never thought about changing the HVAC setup for the finished side. I do know that the previous owners used the finished side as a spare bedroom, but I dont know how cold it got down there and/or what they did to combat it.

    I stuffed insulation around the sillplate last winter, and noticed that the felt "gasket" between the sill plate and foundation was intact all around. Should I add caulking as well? I didnt feel any drafts coming in, but I suppose every little bit helps.

    Insulating outside the basement walls is kinda a no-go. Dont really feel like digging down around the foundation to put up insulation. I could however add rigid insulation to the *inside* walls of the unfinished side, but I was under the impression you only want to insulate the walls if the space is heated, and you want to insulate the ceiling if the space is unheated (and in both cases you want to insulate the sillplate).

    Im thinking maybe the easiest way to get a little more heat to the basement might just be to put in electric baseboard and/or portable oil-filled radiators and just flick them on when I plan on being down there for an extended amount of time.

    As far as the unfinished side, Im still undecided. I knwo the door leading to my hatchway (Bilco) doors leaks like a sieve. Going to work on sealing that up to keep cold air out. But thats the only "leak" on that side that I know of, everything else has been sealed.

    Thanks again,
    -Chris

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Huntsville,AL
    Posts
    4,125
    use squirt foam to seal the bsmt cracks against infiltration.
    only insulate the bsmt if the ground is colder than your t-stat temp set point.

    if you do not want to dig, hire a digger! if you do not insulate outside, the masonry will get cold & stay cold.

    consider changing windows to glass block

    so, spend some $ and do your own load calc -- then you will understand where your biggest losses | gains are -- the one from this site is EXCELLENT -- used by HO & Pros alike.
    harvest rainwater,make SHADE,R75/50/30= roof/wall/floor, use HVAC mastic,caulk all wall seams!

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