Ways to Save Energy in Your Basement

Your basement very likely has a big potential for heat loss. The walls may be in more or less direct contact with the ground, making it possible for heat to be thermally transferred out of the basement, and there are often little gaps and cracks that cold air may easily come in through. On top of that, many people have their furnace located in the basement, so any inefficiencies there fall under this category as well. Here are a few ways to reduce the energy waste in your basement and save money on electricity usage.

1. Seal up cracks and chinks

Using expanding foam sealant, putty, or some other method, go around and fill all the little gaps that are creating drafts and filling the basement with cold air. These are especially likely to exist near ventilation ducts and drainage lines as well as other types of lines that go through the wall. Since cold air sinks (and underground air is especially likely to be cold because the ground stays about the same temperature year-round), these leaks can be a big problem in winter, making your basement practically uninhabitable. Some people just don't bother heating their basement and resign themselves to a non-livable basement temperature during the winter, but that can sap warmth from the rest of your house. Cold, damp basements are more likely to develop mold problems in winter as well.  

2. Install an efficient furnace and sump pump

Getting a more efficient furnace can be one of the biggest ways to save energy in the winter. Whether you spring for an Energy Star certified unit or whether you simply switch to a more efficient fuel, such as natural gas rather than oil, you can save a considerable amount each winter both on the fuel and on the electricity used.  

3. Add insulation to walls 

The more insulation you have in your basement, the better (well, within reason). Heftier insulation is needed here than in above ground areas. Thermal transfer between basement walls and floors and the surrounding soil means that basements can lose heat much more effectively than other parts of the house. The better the insulation, the less heat you'll waste each day and the less energy you'll waste trying to heat your house.  

These three tips can help you tailor your energy efficiency tactics to the special qualities inherent in a basement. Of course you can use more general techniques, such as installing efficient lighting, on top of these tips for a well-rounded approach to basement energy efficiency. For more tips, reach out to a contractor like Palmer Electric Inc.