How to Stay Warm In a Cold Basement

If you’re sitting there wondering, why is my basement so cold? You’re not alone. It’s expected that your basement will be significantly cooler than other areas of your home as it’s below ground and surrounded by cool earth. However, it shouldn’t get to the point where it’s so unbearably cold that you can not even spend time down there without bundling up. Follow this guide to learn how to stay warm in a cold basement and start feeling nice and cozy all season long!

Seal Air Leaks

Basement air leaks are rather typical and unfortunately, can contribute to heat loss.

Air is susceptible to escaping through door and window frames, and rim joists.

Additionally, the sealant used when building the home can crack over time – that’s why it’s recommended to reseal windows and doors roughly every five years.

When it comes to selecting a sealant to use, we suggest any foam-based one. Foam is a superior insulator compared to silicone and you can even paint right over it.

Basement dining area

Install Carpets/Rugs

Are you wondering why your basement floor is so cold? More than 10% of heat loss in a home is through the floor and foundation.

A thick, well-crafted rug will retain more heat than cold concrete or wood flooring and as a plus, it won’t be so cold on the feet.

Because concrete is so porous, moisture seeps into the floor and creates a damp, cold feeling. Consider the following when shopping for a basement carpet 

  • Aim to cover as much of the floor as possible as this will help prevent heat loss
  • Higher stitch counts insulate far better than a smaller count
  • Wool is said to be the best long-lasting material when it comes to insulating. If this isn’t possible, look for nylon, cotton, or acrylic. 

If your basement takes on water during rainstorms, or during the post-winter thaw, you should consider opting for a rug rather than having wall-to-wall carpeting permanently installed.

Replace Windows

Glass windows are responsible for allowing much of the heat in our homes to seep out. This is especially true if you’re using single-glazed windows as nearly half of the heat loss in the entire home is through this avenue.

The challenge here is having a window that allows light in, but will also keep the heat in too. Double or triple glazing is an exceedingly effective way to insulate a window. It works by having two pieces of glass with air between them and is said to significantly boost a window’s ability to insulate.

basement-interior image

Check Insulation

There are a few areas of focus in regards to how to insulate a basement; these include walls, ducts, and rim joists.

It is imperative to ensure that all external basement walls and the first floor walls directly above (because cold air travels down, while hot air rises) are properly insulated.

If you’re insulating concrete walls, it is best to opt for a type of extruded foam – like styrofoam; while fiberglass insulation is best when it comes to insulating wood walls.

Properly insulating air ducts is also an important step in warming our basements. These ducts are typically thin metal sheeting and we expect them to transport air throughout our entire home. You can consider replacing your existing air ducts with well-insulated ones, or you could wrap the existing ducts with insulation tape.

Rim joists are often overlooked when it comes to insulating. These rim joists and headers make up our floor and roof and separate the basement from the first floor. If you make sure this area has adequate insulation, you will find your home will hold heat much better.

Use a Space Heater

Using a space heater will certainly help warm up your basement, but is expensive and requires a lot of energy.

Additionally, there is the risk of fire that accompanies these devices.

This solution could work as a temporary fix, but it is certainly recommended to find a more sustainable, permanent option.

Modern Family Room Design in Custom Basement Renovation Woodbridge

Add More Heat Vents

Another option for homeowners is adding a heat vent in the basement to blow warm air during the colder months.

It’s not overly difficult to adjust the ductwork and add the vent, however, it is best to hire an HVAC professional for this type of work.

Radiate Flooring

An increasingly popular feature in homes is radiant flooring. Electric or hydronic heating is installed between the floor and concrete and warms the floor and objects above.

The electric option sees heated elements installed in the concrete or under tile flooring, while hydronic uses heated water pipes.

Eliminate Cold Spots

You can use a thermal camera to help identify where in the basement the cold sports are via temperature fluctuation. Be sure to pay close attention to windows, and crawl spaces.

These devices work by showing color,  typically warm areas, show red, and can change to orange, yellow, and white. When the temperature gets colder, the color will change from purple to blue and black.

Woodbridge Custom Basement Design

Panels, Heavy Curtains, Cellular Shades

Much like fortifying the glass in the windows to retain heat, thick curtains or shades also work to do this. It is said that insulated cellular shades can reduce heat transfer by almost 80%!

Heavy curtains also work to keep the heat in, but the bulkier solution can increase material costs and make it look cluttered. Either way, this is a great solution if you’ve been wondering how to keep a cold basement warm.

Let Us Fix Your Cold Basement

If you employ the above tips, you should start to notice your very cold basement warming up in no time! Another great solution is to trust the experts at Harmony Basements. Our team of professionals specializes in warming cold basements and offers some of the finest installation services around. Call today and you’ll no longer be concerned about how to stay warm in a cold basement.