DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > DIY Home Improvement > Insulation and Radiant Barriers > How do I know if my basement is insulated?




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Old 05-23-2014, 11:51 AM  
Perry525
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Default Cold basement.

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Originally Posted by InTooDeep View Post
I bought a house with a finished basement. Its always cold there. And gets colder the further away from the furnace. Before I start any attempt to fix it I want to know if the problem is the low or lack of insulation. Is there a way to know this without ripping down the drywall?
You only mention the furnace, is there any other form of heating down there?
A room can feel cold, because you are too warm or because there is no heating or the heat is escaping.
How much heat are you putting into the rooms (same space) above? Are they warm? Are you putting the same amount of heat into the basement? Do you want to keep it at the same temperature? What temperature are the rooms above? What temperature is the basement?

For example, the palm of your hand is probably 30C, the walls of your living room are probably 20C, when you touch them they feel cold, the basement walls also feel cold to touch, they may be the same temperature, they may be colder.


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Old 05-24-2014, 10:14 AM  
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Heat is lost from your 37C core temperature by conduction, convection and radiation.

A room with colder walls will feel colder even if the air temp is the same (radiation) but IIRC with a 50F or less air temp people feel cold no matter how hot the walls are.

Touching wood (a thermal insulator of sorts) at 72F will feel warmer than touching aluminum (a thermal conductor) at the same temp (conduction).

Moving dry air will feel cooler than moving still air (convection).

And women's comfort zone for temp and humidity is different than men's.



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Old 05-25-2014, 05:00 AM  
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Default Bodies insulation etc;

Fascinating subject, it should be taught at school.
So many people have trouble understanding.
One thing that troubles me about the insulation industry and builders is, that a Polar bear has a two inch thick fur coat, yet with a body temperature of 37C it can play quite happily in temperatures of minus 30C, we on the other hand need insulation five or more times thicker.
Industry is missing something.......builders seem to just ignore radiation.

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Old 05-25-2014, 07:28 AM  
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Originally Posted by Perry525 View Post
Fascinating subject, it should be taught at school.
So many people have trouble understanding.
One thing that troubles me about the insulation industry and builders is, that a Polar bear has a two inch thick fur coat, yet with a body temperature of 37C it can play quite happily in temperatures of minus 30C, we on the other hand need insulation five or more times thicker.
Industry is missing something.......builders seem to just ignore radiation.
They used to have a resi HVAC system with an outside temp sensor that boosted the inside temp a bit depending on how cold the outside got. Maybe that somehow didn't work out but the principle is sound.

Apparently humans gave up fur, claws, fangs, speed, strength and night vision for increased brain capacity.
Fair trade?
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Old 05-28-2014, 09:16 PM  
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One thing that troubles me about the insulation industry and builders is, that a Polar bear has a two inch thick fur coat, yet with a body temperature of 37C it can play quite happily in temperatures of minus 30C, we on the other hand need insulation five or more times thicker.
That's why I insulated my basement with bear fat. Acquiring the fat was nothing compared to the installation

(no bears were actually hurt in the making of this post)
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Old 06-18-2014, 07:02 PM  
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Thanks for all the replies. Follow up question. I ended up opening some more walls only to find that there was pink insulation but no vapor barrier (no plastic film or tar paper). Is a vapor barrier needed in a basement against the exterior walls?

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Old 06-18-2014, 08:01 PM  
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The vapour barrier should be next to the drywall, the idea is to keep warm moist air from the house from getting into the framing in the wall, if you are not finding any problem with rotting wood I would not worry to much about it.

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Old 06-19-2014, 07:20 AM  
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I found a bit of black wood along the floor. Everywhere else seems fine. I do plan to have the basement as a living space. So I'm worried that I won't be able to keep it warm in the winter. I live in Canada.

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Old 06-19-2014, 08:56 AM  
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With a screwdriver poke at the black wood to see how solid it is, compare it to clean wood higher in the wall. If it is soft and mushy you have a problem.
Any wood that is in contact with concrete will draw moisture from the concrete.
In the wood structure upstairs there are holes and gaps in trhe sheeting that allow moisture to get out of the wall if it gets in there. the vapour barier stop house air from entering the wall. In the basement there is less chance of moisture getting out because it is a more sealed unit. so with the black wood you know you have some moisture at the floor prehaps not having a barrier is a better bet. Experts have fought about this for years.
Your biggest heat loss will be the windows and doors and the biggest problem is to get enough heat into the basement (HVAC design)
I live near the coast in BC and live in a basement suite. We have 4 inches of fg in the walls, to stop noise transfer and add fire stopping we closed off the heat and added electric baseboad heat
We also added a 4" air intake to provide air for the kitchen and bathroom fan. The only thing I would change now is something on the floor, the concrete is cold.

What you want to be sure about is the water isn't leaking thru the concrete wall, the age and condition of the weeping drain on the outside, to keep it dry

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Old 06-19-2014, 10:38 AM  
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The black wood is kind of a go/no-go, binary, test. A moisture meter with needle probes may allow you to map out the intensity of moisture problems in your wood at several locations.
You might as well know the full extent of any problems.

I'm surprised at how warm the ground temps are for Canada, Fig. 2 of this link
http://archive.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/ib...igest-180.html



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