Irene lives in a 1901 house in the Pacific Northwest with an unfinished basement that’s slowly been improved but is still unheated. In previous remodeling, Irene removed fiberglass insulation that had been installed on the upper sections of the basement walls and improved drainage to solve a water infiltration problem.
Now, the object is to air seal the basement, but Irene has been thrown a curve by an HVAC contractor, as she explains in a post in the Q&A forum.
“I realize the basement is considered part of the conditioned space, but I was a little startled at an HVAC guy proposing to cut heat runs into the basement (which we do not plan ever to finish)…,” she says. “We are just getting around to properly air sealing it. I am embarrassed it took us so long, but natural gas prices have been low enough that I hadn’t worried about the bills and didn’t realize our usage was as high as it was. (The furnace is on its way out as well).”
Irene had always assumed a basement should be “cellar temperature of thereabouts” — that is, not too warm, not too cold.
“It’s been convenient for us to keep beer down there, for instance,” she writes. “Plus I don’t want to overwork the heating system by adding square footage to the officially heated area. But is it inefficient to have the basement much cooler than the rest of the house?”
In addition to the heating question, Irene also wonders how to finish a framed and sided section of the basement that’s beneath a porch (see the photo above). “Some of it doesn’t even have siding,” she writes, “At that point the wall of the house is one board thick … Should something be…
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