The onset of winter brings colder temperatures and higher heating bills. Whether your basement is finished or not it can be a major source of heat loss during the winter. Bring down your heating costs with a little bit of preventative maintenance by preparing your basement for the fall.
A simple inspection of your basement can reveal trouble spots which allow in cold air. Take a look at any doors and windows for cracks, large gaps or worn weatherstripping. Fill these spaces with caulking, new weatherstripping or bits of insulating foam to ensure some draught protection.
Gutters, Eavestroughs And Downspouts
Ill maintained gutters, eavestroughs and downspouts can cause water damage leading to floods, mould or foundation problems. This can be easily rectified by checking that your gutters and eavestroughing are kept free of debris and are performing well in leading water away from the house. Also ensure downspouts are directed away from the house and flowing freely.
Inspect any basement insulation, especially along the mudsill (the area where the foundation wall meets the house frame) for integrity and placement. Replace anything that seems to be suffering wear and reinforce any areas that need it. If certain areas of the basement get especially cold make sure any water pipes in that area are properly insulated to prevent bursts. You might also want to consider insulating the pipes entering and exiting your hot water heater to cut down on heat loss and the subsequent heating bills.
Check any foundation holes like those around pipes and cables and make sure they’re well sealed to prevent heat escape and moisture buildup.
Now is a good time to consider replacing the furnace’s air filter. It’s typically done every few months depending on the in-house air quality (smoking indoors will definitely affect this), but can be performed monthly depending on the model of your furnace. If you have a furnace mounted humidifier, inspect the wick for lime deposits.
Making sure there’s sufficient air circulation before the cold weather hits will allow the basement’s floors and walls to absorb some of the summertime heat which will be re-radiated back out in the cooler weather. Running a fan during the summer and early fall will not only allow the basement to store heat, but it can also alleviate any humidity problems.