Insulating basement walls is one of the best ways to save money on your heating and cooling bills. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating costs consume 40-60% of the household electric bill. Proper insulation of your basement walls prevents heat from escaping, thus lowering your heating costs. Below are the types of basement insulation available today along with the advantages of insulating your basement walls.
Preventing heat flow is the key to lowering your electric bill. The less heat flow your basement has, the less energy you need to warm or cool it. Heat flows from warm space to cool space. During winter, heated air from the rooms escapes to the unheated spaces of your house, such as your garage, basement, and even outside your house, ultimately resulting in heat loss.
To balance this loss, you have to use your heating system more during winter and your cooling system during warm seasons. Properly insulating key areas of your house such as your basement will prevent heat flow and minimize your use of the air-conditioning system.
The various types of basement insulation are sprayed foam insulation, foam board insulation, blanket insulation, loose-fill insulation, and insulating concrete form. Sprayed foam insulation use Polyurethane, Phenolic, Cementitious, and Polyisocyanurate as insulating materials. It is ideal for insulating both finished and irregularly shaped areas.
Foam board insulation uses Polystyrene, Polyuerthane, Polyisocyanurate, and Polyiso as insulating materials. Blanket insulation uses plastic fibers, fiberglass, natural fibers, wool, and rocks. Loose-fill insulation uses fiberglass, wool, cellulose, and slaq as insulating materials. Using special equipment, the insulating materials are blasted into place. Insulating Concrete forms uses foam boards as insulating material. This type of insulation is built into the walls and has high thermal resistance.
Exterior insulation involves applying insulation to the outside walls of your basement. Exterior insulation has many advantages. It preserves the room area compared to interior insulation. It also prevents thermal bridging and minimizing heat loss through the foundation of the basement walls, as well as effectively preventing moisture intrusion by serving as a capillary break. In areas with severe climate, exterior insulation prevents the freeze-thaw cycle, thus protecting the integrity of the foundation of your basement walls. Finally, it prevents basement surface condensation.
Interior insulation is applying insulation to the inside walls of your basement. Interior insulation has its advantages such as lower cost, improved protection from the cold ground, a wide variety of material from which to choose, and protection against insect infestations.
The amount of savings you can acquire through insulating your basement walls varies with your fuel cost, local climate, lifestyle, and the type of heating system. The greater the cost of your energy source, the more money you will save by insulating your basement walls. Insulating your basement walls is not only cost effective, but it is also environmentally friendly. Research your local building code before determining the type of basement insulation that you will use.