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Old 01-16-2013, 01:00 PM   #1
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My basement is c-c-c-cold!

I bought this house not too long ago and it has some sort of a finished basement. I brought some couches down there and a few rugs as well as my computer but it is still really cold.

There is insulation between the drywall and concrete wall, however, near the furnace there is only bare concrete, no insulation or drywall. I'm not sure how much that is affecting it all. The floors are tile. There are two bedrooms and one bathroom.

Regarding HVAC, there are AC/heating vents that push warm air into the basement, but it is clearly not helping enough. The upper level of the house is plenty warm, though. I've done a bit of research and I see there are no cold air return vents? I'm not entirely sure though.

I have created a video giving you a mini-tour of my basement:
Here is a crappy panoramic picture of the main room:

Based on what I have described and what you have seen, what are your suggestions?


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Old 01-16-2013, 02:11 PM   #2
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Warm air can't get in if the cold air can't get out. This looks like a clasic case of someone never bothered to put in proper cold air returns. I am guessing that the long vent on the cieling is open to the cold air return duct. This is a problem if it is as cold air settled down and hot air rises. If your is set up this way then all of the hot air being put into the room is being sucked right into the cold air return


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Old 01-16-2013, 10:36 PM   #3
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Did you try closing vents upstairs and forcing it all through basement ducting? Assuming that your basement is heater with same furnace that heats the upstairs and thermostat is upstairs. That's what I did in old house I had. Closed all vents upstairs and obviously heat rises and heated upstairs too
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:59 PM   #4
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look for air leaks. my basement is not finished, and has a few air leaks. and my basement is not "cold". its about 55deg. it is 20 deg outside. and i have no heating down there.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:53 AM   #5
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Hot air rises. It actually looks like the registers you showed us are at least partially closed? It also looks like the returns are clogged with dirt. All this not withstanding, it seems to me that you could put adjustable grilles down low that just vent to the plenum space behind the walls, and put a large adjustable grill on the return duct. Make sure you change filters often though, and leave your blower on to keep air moving. This should have the benefit of keeping the basement dry, but will cost you because the return air will be tempered with the 55 degree temperature of the foundation walls.

Another option is a couple of oil filled electric radiators. They work pretty well.
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:17 PM   #6
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Not only does hot air rise, and flow out of the house, that lost air is replaced by cold air rushing in at the bottom of the house. That is called the stack effect.

But you can do something about it with caulk and spray foam. Starting in the attic, seal every electrical and plumbing penetration into the attic as well as any construction gaps. Then blow in extra layers of insulation. This will warm up the top floor a little and the basement a lot.

In the unfinished parts of the basement, seal every penetration, the window, and the rim joists. This will warm up the basement a little and the top floor a lot. You will save a lot of money over the years.

The next step is to do duct work, if necessary. The last resort is to plug in electric heaters.

Nice house, by the way.
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:55 PM   #7
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If I had to make a guess, the person who finished the basement, did not do it correct, so that is why it is still cold, even though you have heat pushing into the space.

I have two vents and a return in my basement, just insulated rim& sill bays wwith R-13, it stays around 61f all the time during Winter.

First step is that you are going to have to rip everything out the other person did, and do it correct this time around.
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:31 AM   #8
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Is the floor insulated?

The "normal" temperature of the earth about 10 feet down is somewhere around 55 degrees.

Also "wam air rises" so the air down at floor level will be close to floor temperature unless you have fans circulating the air or you have radiators or warm air vents at floor level.

Now they do not recommend loose fill or fiberglass batt insulation touching the surface of the concrete foundation inside. (A one inch air gap back there is recommended, thus "R-13" batt insulation takes up 4-1/2 inches instead of the usual 3-1/2 inches: 3-1/2 inches for the batt and 1 inch for the air gap.)


The good conscientious technician or serviceperson will carry extra oils and lubricants in case the new pump did not come with oil or the oil was accidentally spilled, so the service call can be completed without an extra visit.

Last edited by AllanJ; 01-19-2013 at 07:34 AM.
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