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Old 12-04-2012, 11:07 PM   #1
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Small basement ventilation and insulation

Hello all, thanks in advance for any advice you can give.

I have an old house in Colorado built in 1909. The house itself is about 1200sq ft. There is a small basement in the back of the house that is about 250sq ft that is directly under the kitchen. In the basement is the water heater.

While looking around the basement, I noticed that on the back side of the house's perimeter wall, there were some spots that were open to the outside. They did not appear to be intentionally open to the outside, but appeared that the wood was separated due to age. These spots were covered up with old burlap sacks. In the burlap sacks were old crushed up newspapers from 1951. It appears as though they were using the sacks for "insulation". They did this in 6 areas between the floor joists, about 16" wide by 7" tall.

I removed all of these old burlap sacks, and put in fiberglass insulation, covered by a wooden board, sealed with expanding foam. There were also some other holes in the floor joists above the walls that I could feel cold air coming in to. When I reached in there, more burlap sacks and newspaper. I replaced that all with fiberglass insulation and can no longer feel the drafts.

Now the small basement area is noticeably less cold and drafty. My question is: does there need to be some sort of air ventilation in the basement? I doubt it's totally sealed, but it does seem a lot more sealed than it was before. The water heater does have a proper exhaust vent that goes through the house and out of the roof. It is very dry here in Colorado, so I don't think condensation in the basement is an issue. The gutters drain very far away from the foundation. There is also a window in the basement that can be opened if necessary.

Also, attached to the basement, separated by a small wood door is the crawl space which is a dirt floor which has the furnace in it.. if that matters.

Any input is greatly appreciated.

EDIT: I just found out that there was a big flood in my town in 1951 4 days after the date on all of the newspaper I found. I guess that explains why they stuffed newspaper and burlap sacks into the open spaces in the basement.


Last edited by stevefrench; 12-04-2012 at 11:31 PM.
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:25 AM   #2
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Unless you have a radon issue, there is no need to vent the basement specifically. Venting is reserved for homes that are built to be tight and bathrooms/kitchen ranges/etc.


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Old 12-05-2012, 09:08 AM   #3
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OK, thanks very much for the reply. Radon levels are acceptable (as per the inspection) so there was no need to abate using ventilation.
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