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How to Deal with Basement Temperature Regulation

Is your basement cold, damp and drafty? This is a common problem! The question is; how can you create a warm, cozy environment where your family will readily gather? There are many steps you can take to turn cold, damp and drafty into cozy, warm and welcoming. 

  1. Insulate, Insulate, Insulate: 
  • Insulate the rim joists and headers: Rim joists (wooden 2 X 8’s that run around the perimeter of the floor joists) and headers (the beam like support that spans windows, doors, skylight, chimneys and staircases) are big offenders when it comes to heat loss. Cut 1 ½ inch thick pieces of foam insulation and insert them against the rim joists and headers. Seal the gaps around the foam with a spray foam sealant. 
  • Insulate Ducts: Bathroom fan and dryer ducts allow cold air to shoot into your basement and provide no insulation from the cold. Replace these with insulated ducts or wrap your existing ducts with insulation. Clean and inspect your ducts yearly to insure they have not developed leaks.
  • Install better Vent Flaps: Most vents (the flap like fitting where the duct leaves the house) allow cold air to pour into your home. Replace these vents with an energy saving floating shuttle flap which will close automatically when the unit is not in use.
  • Insulate basement ceilings below unheated spaces: If a portion of your basement is located below an unheated porch or garage, insulating the ceiling of your basement will prevent the heat from migrating to the unheated spaces above.
  1. Replace or caulk windows: Windows are often a source of cold air seepage. Replace old, cracked or single pane windows with energy-star certified high-performance windows. If your windows are in good shape or too expensive to replace, redoing the caulking can reduce the amount of cold air entering.
  2. Deal with dampness: Dampness makes a space feel colder. If you are in the construction stage, properly waterproof your basement to prevent condensation. Any dampness after construction may be controlled with a dehumidifier. 
  3. Confine utilities in an unheated space: Furnace, water heater and possibly the washer and dryer can be contained in an unheated, insulated, interior room. This preserves heat for the basement areas that you inhabit. 
  4. Install a subfloor and carpet: Install a sub floor (which will reduce the possibility of moisture problems) and cover it with a synthetic fiber carpet that is mold and mildew resistant. Skip the carpet pad. This will give the floor warmth and feel better on your feet.
  5. Use a secondary source of heat: If your basement is still not warm enough:
  • Install a pellet stove: Pellet stoves burn wood pellets (made from compacted sawdust) and push warm air into your room with a small fan. They require installation and must be vented to the outside but they burn hotter and cleaner that a traditional fireplace. 
  • Use an electric space heater: These gadgets are portable and excellent for giving heat exactly where you need it. 
  • Install a baseboard heater: Easy to install and relatively low cost, these devices offer permanent spot heating. 
  • Use an infrared heater: These units emit infrared light which is absorbed by you and the objects in the room. They give instant heat, are quiet, efficient and environmentally friendly. 

If your basement is cool, damp and underused, consider insulating cold air entry points, replacing windows, and installing a secondary source of heat. Better than these retrofits, use the services of a professional when renovating your basement space. They can help you avoid temperature regulation problems and guide you through the renovation process. Econo Basements offers quality workmanship and ensures you get the most out of your basement transformation. Offering a 5 year warranty on all work done, Econo Basements complies with Alberta’s building codes, does a free one year inspection and will even help you finance your basement modifications. Call them at (403) 768-0256 or email at