Does Insulating Basement Walls Help Heating Costs?

Insulation batting is easy to unroll and install yourself.

Insulation batting is easy to unroll and install yourself.

Insulation is vital to maintaining a year-round comfortable temperature in your home. Because your basement is connected to your home, even if you don't use it the basement temperature can affect the comfort level in the rest of the house. Heating and cooling savings can vary depending on seasonal temperatures where you live, as well as the type of insulation you use.

Insulating Basement Walls

Consider your basement carefully when deciding whether to insulate. Although insulation can save on heating costs, there are additional expenses to consider. If your basement is prone to moisture or flooding, you may run the risk of ruining the insulating material you choose. Moisture in a basement can be remedied in some cases with the application of a simple moisture barrier product designed for basements, but other cases may require professional services, the cost of which could outweigh the benefits of insulating.

Types of Insulation

There are many different types of insulation from which to choose, depending on your needs, where you live and your budget. Basic fiberglass insulation is available across the country at any home improvement store. It comes in several different versions, with R-values that vary according to where in the house it is intended to be used. Foam insulation is a liquid material that a professional installer sprays in between the studs. It expands and hardens to fill all gaps and cracks in the walls and ceiling. You may also buy insulation boards made from foam or fabrics, as well as loose-fill insulation made from cellulose.

R-Value

The R-value of insulation is a measure of how effectively it insulates. R-value reflects the material from which the insulation is made, its thickness and its density. The R-value of the insulating material, coupled with the R-value of the flooring or wall material on top of the insulation, provides the total R-value for the home.

Basement Ceilings

Don't neglect your basement ceilings when you think about insulating, especially if you don't use your basement for anything other than storage. You can save on home heating costs just by insulating in such a way that the basement becomes separate from the rest of the house. Some basic fiberglass or foam insulation in the basement ceiling can make a big difference in the transfer of cold air from the basement to the house, as well as cut down on the loss of warm air from the house to the basement. When choosing this route, don't forget to seal off the basement door leading to the rest of the house to prevent heat transfer between floors.

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