Don’t Overlook Basement and Crawl Space Insulation
Aside from your home’s attic, your basement or crawl space is one of the best places to save energy. This is because in the past, the typical home was constructed with poorly-insulated basements or unconditioned crawl spaces with open venting. Basement and crawl space insulation was considered unnecessary for home design and costs.
This has proven to be a big mistake, as many homeowners must deal with mold and mildew issues that originate in the basement or crawl space, and take a hit from higher energy bills due to air leaks. Here’s how to tackle this problem head on.
Seal First, Insulate Second
You may already be familiar with sagging fiberglass insulation in your basement or condensation in your crawl space. So, before you add basement or crawl space insulation, you must remove moisture and seal these spaces.
- Caulk and expanding spray-in foam (in a can) seals air leaks very well. Seal all sills and cracks in brick and concrete.
- Replace broken windows in your basement.
- Cut rigid foam board to fit wall vents in your crawl space and seal with a waterproof adhesive.
- Seal other large gaps, such as the ends of rim joists, with cut-to-fit foam board.
Batts in the Attic — Not Your Basement
Unless you use a dehumidifier below your floor, it’s really impossible to remove all moisture from your basement and crawl space. So, you don’t want to use any insulation that is susceptible to mold and mildew growth, such as fiberglass rolls or batts.
Your most cost-effective option is to use rigid foam board. This may be applied to the walls of your basement or crawl space and beneath flooring. For crawl spaces, first install a vapor barrier on the ground before you install the foam board. The vapor barrier should extend several inches up the crawl space walls.
At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues — especially HVAC and plumbing issues — so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.
Photo Credit: CHPEnergySolutions via Compfight cc