Making a “summer cottage” livable in winter
We currently stay in a cottage 3 hours north of Toronto, Canada. The main level of the cottage has standard 2×6 insulated walls. I don’t know what the roof insulation is like, but I will find out.
This cottage has so far only been used in the summer, but we plan to stay in it over the winter and want to do some permanent and/or temporary fixes to stay through the harsh Ontario winter in this cottage.
My biggest concerns are:
– only electric baseboard heat available right now, with very high electricity cost here
– the 8′ high walk-out basement built with 8″ concrete blocks is not insulated at all. No insulation on the walls, no insulation of the rim, no insulation of the subfloor
– the basement may freeze (and therefore all our pipes)
– the basement may be too humid and ruin lots of stuff we store there
To reduce the load on the electric heat and above problems, I’m bouncing several ideas:
– install a wood stove on the main level (we get lots of wood for free as long as we cut it ourselves)
– install a fan to push air close to the wood stove down into the basement
– spray foam the rim joist using a spray foam kit (1″ or 2″ of foam – mainly to improve air tightness)
Do these improvements by itself make sense if the 8″ concrete blocks in the basement are not insulated at all? Would I be throwing money out of the window if I don’t properly insulate the whole basement (which would be quite expensive)?
The climate in our area has often temperatures for several weeks well below 0 F.
Any ideas how to get the “best bang for a buck” are appreciated.
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