How do I know if my basement is insulated?

Discussion in 'Insulation and Radiant Barriers' started by InTooDeep, Apr 21, 2014.

  1. Apr 21, 2014 #1

    InTooDeep

    InTooDeep

    InTooDeep

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    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?
     
  2. Apr 21, 2014 #2

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

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    With a thermistor or thermocouple you'd first need to know the basement air temperature, the outside basement wall surface/ground temperature and the temperature of the inside basement wall surface.

    http://www.webstaurantstore.com/tay...ogleShopping&gclid=CIWdssGE8r0CFYMcOgodWAkADA

    I'd crumple up tin foil around the probe end to make better thermal contact with rough surfaces.
    Then it's working backward from the thermal conductivity of your wall to what it might be made of, using formulas and tables.

    If the air temperature says you should be warm but you're not, the walls may cold and so you lose body heat by radiation, the other two mechanisms of heat loss being conduction and convection.

    You could spend a lump sum for insulation plus labor or
    pay a monthly charge for a room heater or
    use a fan or furnace plenum vent to put warm house air into the basement.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014
  3. Apr 21, 2014 #3

    CallMeVilla

    CallMeVilla

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    Well, we all have ways of looking at problems. I would rent a thermal imaging camera and check the walls for cold and hot spots. You can "see" through the walls and detect the lack of insulation, particularly in corners and ceiling junctions. Compare the readings against the upstairs walls to see if there is a big difference.

    You will quickly determine exactly where your biggest problems are ... then map a strategy for fixing it.

    http://www.amazon.com/DEWALT-DCT416...78/ref=pd_sxp_grid_pt_2_0/183-9431797-2223544

    IMAGER.jpg
     
  4. Apr 21, 2014 #4

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    Just cut a hole in the drywall carefully so it can be replaced and inspect what you have.
     
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  5. Apr 21, 2014 #5

    beachguy005

    beachguy005

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    I'm with nealtw on this one. Just punch a couple of holes . It's easy and cheap to patch.
     
  6. Apr 21, 2014 #6

    CallMeVilla

    CallMeVilla

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    Simple enough for us ... but In2Deep seems to be new to this and punching holes can be daunting. I think a thermal scan is easier, faster, less intrusive, AND it can reveal a lot more information than a hole or two.

    SCAN.jpg
     
  7. Apr 21, 2014 #7

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

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    In the image, is the insulation missing in the red zone because it's hot outside or the blue zone because it's cold?

    Have you pointed this thing at women? :D
     
  8. Apr 22, 2014 #8

    CallMeVilla

    CallMeVilla

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    This is STRICTLY in the interests of demonstrating the ability of the infrared camera to distinguish shades of temperature accuracy ... if you choose to see it as anything else, it will be between you and your spouse.

    IMAGE Thermal.jpg
     
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  9. Apr 22, 2014 #9

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    Any diyer either knows how to patch drywall or has to learn, what better place than in a closet or somesuch in a basement.
    Villa: nice picture, now is she nude or wearing a silk shirt, there are just so many things that camara will tell you. Everytime I have seen them used it is immediatly followed up with cutting holes in walls.
     
  10. Apr 22, 2014 #10

    CallMeVilla

    CallMeVilla

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    Hole cutting after a thermal scan is the obvious next step. What the scan tells you is WHERE to cut and also WHY to cut.

    Sorry to disappoint you ... This is a pic of Wuzzat after a day at the beach. :D
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2014
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  11. Apr 22, 2014 #11

    bud16415

    bud16415

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    Reading this and eating breakfast at the same time and I just threw up in my mouth a little. :eek:
     
  12. Apr 22, 2014 #12

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

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    Good disclaimer. . .:)
     
  13. May 8, 2014 #13

    InTooDeep

    InTooDeep

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    So to update the situation. I opened the wall. I have pink insulation in the walls with tar paper as the barrier. Problem is that the rim joists are not insulated. The basement is finished with drywall. I plan to have the basement as livable space all year round. Is it necessary to cut the ceiling to put insulation in them patch it back up? Or would I be fine with just the wall insulation?
     
  14. May 9, 2014 #14

    nealtw

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    If you are renting the space you may want to insulate the ceiling. There are lots of houses that are missing that insulation. I guess it depends on how much heat you think you are loosing to it.
    If you were going to do the whole ceiling, you just remove 1 ft strips every four feet and you can get it in there.
     
  15. May 9, 2014 #15

    InTooDeep

    InTooDeep

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    I do plan on renting it. But what's the advantage of insulating the ceiling when the plan is for me to pay for heating the whole house. Any heat lost in the basement would just go to heating the main floor. My main concern is losing heat to the outside.
     
  16. May 9, 2014 #16

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    Noise;)................
     
  17. May 9, 2014 #17

    InTooDeep

    InTooDeep

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    I may do that in the future if the noise transfer is exceptionally bad. But right now my concern is heating the basement. Can a basement be heated adequately in the winter without insulation in the rim joists?
     
  18. May 9, 2014 #18

    bud16415

    bud16415

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    I think you will be ok if rim joists are sealed up good without insulation. I have seen construction where there are big gaps around the rim and air flow is the problem more than insulation. Don’t know if you can access that from outside or not or how house is sided.

    You said its always cold. What kind of heating is in there just a single duct or is it set up for heat?
     
  19. May 9, 2014 #19

    oldognewtrick

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    As Bud has mentioned, two areas that need to be addressed are air infiltration and thermal transfer. Merely adding insulation will do little if you have voids allowing movement of air into the basement. Weather sealing the house envelope is as important as adding insulation. Unfortunately, you have to have access to the framing to caulk and seal places where you can have air leaks.
     
  20. May 9, 2014 #20

    nealtw

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    Depending on where the house is, in a wet zone like where I am, air flow is stopped at the vapour barrier and we leave holes in the sheeting to allow the house to breath. Water is stopped on the outside with the house wrap. We treat the wall just like the ceiling/attic , air behind insulation.
     

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