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  1. #1
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    Red face Insulating the basement ceiling

    I live in a 8 year old contemporary Ranch home in Maine, I have FHWBB heat from oil fuel. The basement is unfinished, and probably never will make it into a finished living space, so I am thinking of insulating the floor above or the ceiling of the basement to keep the house warmer and burn less oil

    Does insulating the basement ceiling save significant energy cost, or is it better to just insulate the heating pipes?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Insulating the basement ceiling

    Does insulating the basement ceiling save significant energy cost, or is it better to just insulate the heating pipes?
    Logically it makes sense to insulate the heating pipes so as not to loose it's heat to the surrounding air.

    In my opinion insulating the basement ceiling has little benefit since warm air rises it will benefit the level above.
    One area that would be more critical ensuring insulation is the perimeter rim joist. This will greatly reduce heat loss or cold infiltration to the floors near the walls.

    I'm uncertain as to the building code in your area ... being that your house is relatively new ( 8 years old) are the basement walls insulated?
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Insulating the basement ceiling

    Hi! the I have just had some advice from a heating guy and he believes that insulating the basement ceiling is a lost cause. But he did advise that adding insulation in the gap where the sill meets the concrete foundation helps a lot. And sealing with caulking compound also particularly where the basement access is.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Insulating the basement ceiling

    Hi! Some advice i'm passing on, since i'm looking into that, too.

    Our house has wooden floors and the cellar is dirt floor. One guy (who i believe) said that if you were to insulate the ceilings of the basement, it would create two zones, where no heat would be going to the basement (our house has no heat in the basement). This would cause the pipes to freeze in our mid-west winters.

    He suggested insulating the top part of our basement walls (concrete blocks above the fieldstone - we may do spray-foam), closing the windows and running a dehumidifier. The basement wouldn't get as cold, and we keep the pipes from freezing and the need to heat the basement.

    Hope this helps.

  5. #5
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    Question Re: Insulating the basement ceiling

    I am new at this & yes I have a bungalow that is 1915 & good shape. Do I understand you that it would not help? Thanks mike from des Moines Iowa renchturn@mchsi.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Insulating the basement ceiling

    Quote Originally Posted by mm135 View Post
    Hi! Some advice i'm passing on, since i'm looking into that, too.

    Our house has wooden floors and the cellar is dirt floor. One guy (who i believe) said that if you were to insulate the ceilings of the basement, it would create two zones, where no heat would be going to the basement (our house has no heat in the basement). This would cause the pipes to freeze in our mid-west winters.

    He suggested insulating the top part of our basement walls (concrete blocks above the fieldstone - we may do spray-foam), closing the windows and running a dehumidifier. The basement wouldn't get as cold, and we keep the pipes from
    freezing and the need to heat the basement.

    Hope this helps.
    I think there is some confusion here.


    Since warm air rises as well the radiant and conductive components of the heat from the upper level wouldn't really make it's way down to the basement anyway.

    Putting insulation in the ceiling of the basement won't do much to prevent the upper level from heating the basement.

    Since warm air rises the heat from the basement would aid in warming the floor above .... putting insulation in the ceiling of the basement would prevent whatever rising warm air in the basement to escape to floor above.

    For a concern of freezing pipes would mean your basement temperature would be in the range of 32 degrees or lower.

    So yes if you leave your basement windows open during the winter when it's freezing out would make it cold in that area.

    The logical and simple thing would be to close the windows during the winter.

    The areas where the house sits on the foundation ... the sill and rim joists ... are a source of cold infiltration. This area should be sealed from cold drafts as well as insulated to prevent cold transfer.

    Generally speaking an unheated below ground basement will maintain a temperature above freezing on it's own .... add the heat from the boiler or furnace which will also benefit.

    If the walls of an unheated basement were insulated will definitely raise and maintain a reasonable temperature without any need to insulate the ceiling.

    Hope this helps.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Insulating the basement ceiling

    Quote Originally Posted by canuk View Post
    I think there is some confusion here.


    Since warm air rises as well the radiant and conductive components of the heat from the upper level wouldn't really make it's way down to the basement anyway.

    Putting insulation in the ceiling of the basement won't do much to prevent the upper level from heating the basement.

    Since warm air rises the heat from the basement would aid in warming the floor above .... putting insulation in the ceiling of the basement would prevent whatever rising warm air in the basement to escape to floor above.

    For a concern of freezing pipes would mean your basement temperature would be in the range of 32 degrees or lower.

    So yes if you leave your basement windows open during the winter when it's freezing out would make it cold in that area.

    The logical and simple thing would be to close the windows during the winter.

    The areas where the house sits on the foundation ... the sill and rim joists ... are a source of cold infiltration. This area should be sealed from cold drafts as well as insulated to prevent cold transfer.

    Generally speaking an unheated below ground basement will maintain a temperature above freezing on it's own .... add the heat from the boiler or furnace which will also benefit.

    If the walls of an unheated basement were insulated will definitely raise and maintain a reasonable temperature without any need to insulate the ceiling.

    Hope this helps.
    - - - - - - - - -

    Thanks...

    Regarding the logical and simple thing re: closing the windows in the basement in the winter - someone on this forum or another suggested keeping the windows open a crack since we have a dirt floor basement and exposed wood floors on the cellar ceiling. He said that the humidity would cause the wood to warp - our floors are slightly warped. Last winter, the windows were just rolling in condensation in the until i cracked a small opening in the window. So if we closed the windows, would you think its necessary to run a dehumidifier?

    Also - what is your opinion on insulating the ceiling? The first level floors are FREEZING in the winter - even with cellar windows shut, its about upper 40's' or a bit colder when its below freezing outside. I think it would make sense - since we have some holes (really, you can see the basement from the floors in the office!). Or maybe i should just put some wood-patching stuff?

    I figured if we insulate the floors, the cellar would be even colder, since the floors absorb some warmth and radiate it, radiating some to the ceiling in the cellar, keeping the pipes just a little more warmer. (Of course, the same insulator said how insulating the ceiling would cause two zones and the pipes may freeze, however, he also said that the basement should stay around 55' if you insulate the top part of the cellar walls that are exposed to the outside and no need to do the ceiling).

    Anyway, we may just not insulate the ceiling - instead we just may replace some windows instead (we have some really bad ones!)

    Thanks!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Insulating the basement ceiling

    Quote Originally Posted by mm135 View Post
    - - - - - - - - -

    Thanks...


    Regarding the logical and simple thing re: closing the windows in the basement in the winter - someone on this forum or another suggested keeping the windows open a crack since we have a dirt floor basement and exposed wood floors on the cellar ceiling. He said that the humidity would cause the wood to warp - our floors are slightly warped. Last winter, the windows were just rolling in condensation in the until i cracked a small opening in the window. So if we closed the windows, would you think its necessary to run a dehumidifier?
    It certainly seems as though you have humidty issues that need to be addressed.
    Perhaps covering the dirt floor with 6 mil plastic ... this will help prevent the moisture from the dirt floor migrating into the cellar.
    The other thing may require some mechanical exhaust ventilation ... since obviously leaving the basement windows open in the winter just allows freezing cold air in.
    Running the dehumidifier will work until the temperature gets cooler at which time it won't work.

    Also - what is your opinion on insulating the ceiling? The first level floors are FREEZING in the winter - even with cellar windows shut, its about upper 40's' or a bit colder when its below freezing outside. I think it would make sense - since we have some holes (really, you can see the basement from the floors in the office!). Or maybe i should just put some wood-patching stuff?
    Well if you have all sorts of holes in the floor ... then maybe you should insulate to prevent the cold infiltrating the upper level .... if you aren't going to repair the floor issue.


    I figured if we insulate the floors, the cellar would be even colder, since the floors absorb some warmth and radiate it, radiating some to the ceiling in the cellar, keeping the pipes just a little more warmer. (Of course, the same insulator said how insulating the ceiling would cause two zones and the pipes may freeze, however,
    Very little heat will come down into the basement from rooms above. Whatever little heat that might come into basement wouldn't be enough to do much benifit.

    he also said that the basement should stay around 55' if you insulate the top part of the cellar walls that are exposed to the outside and no need to do the ceiling).
    I would agree the area of the basement that is exposed above ground including the area where the floor meets the foundation will be helpful. You also need to seal any areas that allow cold air getting in .... insulating doesn't stop air flow ... unless you use foam.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Insulating the basement ceiling

    thanks so much! have a check list to start addressing some of the problems. . . .

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Insulating the basement ceiling

    P2000 is the "Greenest" Product on the market.
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    P2000 is the cheapest Insulation Product on the market.
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    I can't stop using it on my buildings. My renters are paying more to pay less on their energy costs.
    I am curious how others are enjoying their success with the P2000.
    I just built a 5,400 sqft house in El Dorado California and the electricity bill for a family of 6 has been between $70.00 and $90.00 for the last two months and these have the hottest months we have had in a long time.
    My electrician started a fire in the garage and the P2000 actually stopped the fire. I was amazed. I still use the electrician, he accidentally let the concrete polisher plug his grinder into the E-box without the dead guard. They paid for it, so no sweat. The best part was that with the P2000, the lack of flame actually choked the Fire from it's oxygen and the fire died before even ruining anything that a paint job couldn't fix. All they had to do was pay for paint and replace the garage door opener.

    Being that it is a vapor barrier also it is ideal for basements. You will save money with P2000 Insulation Systems.

    I did.

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