Tighten up basement and crawl space to save energy

Tighten up basement and crawl space to save energy

If you live in a house with an unheated basement or in one built on an uninsulated slab or crawl space, you know it can leak energy like a sieve.

To stop the energy leaks and become more comfortable, consider bringing these unconditioned spaces into the “building envelope.” That’s the shield you put in place with insulation, caulking and weatherstripping to keep conditioned and unconditioned air from mixing.

Start with sealing and caulking holes and cracks that leak air. Then insulate. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Savers, recommends insulating:

  • All exterior walls, including walls between living spaces and unheated garages, shed roofs, or storage areas — use loose-fill or sprayed foam insulation; if your wall cavities will be open for a remodeling project, use batt and roll or insulating wall sheathing
  • Foundation walls above ground level
  • Foundation walls in heated basements, full wall either interior or exterior
  • Floors above cold spaces, such as vented crawl spaces and unheated garages
  • Any portion of the floor in a room that is cantilevered beyond the exterior wall below
  • Slab floors built directly on the ground
  • Foundation walls of unvented crawl spaces — this is an alternative to insulating the floor between the crawl space and the house and now considered the best approach
  • Joist space to reduce air flows
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