My basement is freezing all year round

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Posted by: from Orleans
5/19/2013 at 4:49:05 PM

I have a problem with my basement. My basement is freezing cold all year round. In the winter time even with the air ducts open the temperature is around 18C (65F) while the upstairs is 21C (71F) which is an alright temperature for the air but the floor is around 14C-16C (58F-61F). In the summer time the temperature drops even more. Even with the A/C off the whole basement is even cooler than winter. The temperature I took today was 16C (61F) and the floor was down to 12C (54F). My upstairs is around 23C (74F).

The basement is completely finished. My floors are concrete in the storage area where the furnace is but the rest of the floor is laminate floor except for the washroom that is ceramic. The room is divided into one huge room, a den, washroom and storage room. The ceiling is a drop ceiling. Not sure if that makes a difference and I've added extra about 2 ft (double thick) insulation around the edge because I had noticed that the top floor was cold in the winter time.

When I did my home inspection we determined that the insulation on all the walls in the basement run 2/3 down the wall but not all the way to the floor. I was told this wouldn't make much of a difference. Cold air returns exist in each room and each room has a heating vent with the large room having 3.

If you have any ideas how I can get the basement warmer, please let me know.

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time5/19/2013 at 8:48:24 PM

Whoever told you no insulation on concrete would not make a difference, needs a new profession.

Insulation, heating ducts and a proper furnace with air flow and return air, balance the whole house. Floor insulation is important and you need to move the heated air from the upper floors to the lower levels. An HRV would assist this greatly.

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Date/Time5/19/2013 at 9:00:35 PM


I am not sure what type of flooring you have at the moment. When I read this forum, I understand that the floors are concrete. The concrete in your basement will always be cold. Reason towards this is because the concrete hits directly towards the dirt. Dirt is usually cold. The only thing I would be able to recommend you is gold underpadding with carpet.

This is all the knowledge I have at the moment. I hope this helps you..

Aktas Floors & Interiors

Hugo Aktas

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Date/Time5/19/2013 at 11:28:24 PM


Insulation should run all the way to the floor on the outside walls. Builders are cheap and save dollars by not doing it.

More importantly, the flooring should be over a properly insulated sub floor. I love the Dri Core product. It provides insulation warming the floors as well as negates problems you will have with water escapes or small water intrusion.

Your furnace ducting should be properly ballanced to move the air throughout the house. There are adjustments to make seasonally. As cold air tends to drop while warm air rises.

Hope this helps.

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Date/Time5/20/2013 at 1:01:04 PM

As per the other responses, the heat loss is probably through the basement floor. The full height insulation would make a difference, but, the main heat loss in the exterior wall is above grade or close to grade.

I would use one of the following products:

- Dicore..good ventilation, no insulation

- Insulfloor- good insulation, moderate ventilation

- Amdry- good insulation and ventilation- Drawback- 21/4" thick and the most expensive insulated sub floor system

To get rid of dampness, I would use a humidex system....This is an 8" by 8" by 8' box that exhausts moist air to the exterior from under the floor. It is equipped with a humistat.

As previously suggested, I would also balance your forced air system.

If you do all of the above, this should solve your problem......Drawback...not cheap to fix!

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Date/Time5/20/2013 at 8:44:36 PM

The problem that you have is not unique I see it constantly. I get very up set when I see the stupidity of some of the so called experts on this site. Plumbing and other skilled trades giving advice on stuff they really have no clue about outside their profession.

After 0ver 40 yrs. in Cabinetry, woodworking and construction I am not amazed anymore of the lack of knowledge of some contractors.

The Ontario building code does not allow anymore to insulate 4' down the wall.

The only person that has a clue about this problem is John, Furnace's don't come on in the summer and HRV's recirculate the warm air with the co;d out side air to temper it, if you take musty air from the basement it can be distributed throughout the house Go to Venmarr HRVs and check it out.

The problem in basement renos people want to do it cheap ......This is exactly what happens.

You need to build in a thermo break that means using ridge foam on the walls and floor then adding Roxul in the walls Dry core provides R 2-3 value this is a joke when we are putting in R27 in a wall.

When basement leaks it floods at least 3-4 "cement floors are rarely floated by lazer do they even have a drain? So much for drycore.

Removing the wall and floors and isolating moist cool air is the only option any thing else are burning more money.

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Date/Time5/20/2013 at 8:52:27 PM

Sorry, Paul from Justice Construction, I called you John.


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Date/Time5/24/2013 at 10:26:42 AM

It seems like you are experiency an air flow issue in your home depending on how old the house is.

Technically speaking the basement is always a few degrees cooler than the 1st and 2nd floors, but if the basement is where you spend most of your time, a temporary solution would be to close off the extra vents in the rooms that are not being used often and see if that helps.

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time5/24/2013 at 8:13:14 PM


I think your word "stupidity" is a bit harsh as most people who are pros in one trade can certainly have skilled opinions in other fields as well.

As a professional master electrician, we can also be trained in heating / cooling, automation and controls so as to balance cool and warm areas equally inside buildings. Most people with over 25 years in their careers do other trainings to "top up" their skill set and diversity.

Knowledge and professionalism and the willingness to help others is the key to a successful business. I never claim to know everything and generally keep out of areas where I have no knoweldge, but certainly prepared to offer opinions on items I have experience in and trained on.

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