The basement is a very unregulated space. In the summer, you may love the cool air from down below but decry the high amount of humidity that keeps any of your laundry from drying. On the other hand, in the winter, you may feel positively frozen when you head down your basement stairs. By making a few key changes, you can keep your basement warm, dry and regulated all year long.
Instead of installing insulation across your entire basement, first consider where it will most help. For example, if you have an unfinished basement, insulate only those walls that are above the surface of the ground with either extruded foam or fiberglass batt insulation depending on the style of your walls. Additionally, ducts going in and out of the basement as well as the rim joist and header should be thoroughly insulated.
Older, single-pane windows can let in a lot of cold during the winter. Consider replacing them with more energy-efficient glass block windows or highly rated Energy Star windows. If this is not an option for your budget, you can decrease some of the cold merely by sealing your older windows with a simple window insulation kit.
A sump pump is a must for most basements throughout the country. While sump pumps, like those at Rite-Way Waterproofing, come in a variety of styles, their uses remain the same. They are designed to pump out standing water in the basement once it flows into the designated pit, also called a sump. Depending on your home and community, you may be able to run your sump pump water out to the street during certain times of the year, such as the spring.
For humidity in the air, which can make your basement feel stuffy and damp and can lead to the growth of mold and mildew, a dehumidifier is imperative. These devices filter water from the air continuously and can even be hooked up to a basement drain via a hose if you are too busy to remember to dump the water bucket daily.
To keep your basement dry during summer storms, be sure to repair broken or leaky gutters and to direct downspouts away from your home. One major storm with misdirected water can lead to standing water in your basement and major damage to carpets, furniture and appliances located below-ground.
When you make these changes, you can keep your basement comfortable whether you use it only as your laundry room of have it finished off as a recreational space. With proper insulation, good windows and ways to get rid of excess dampness and standing water, you have taken the first step towards a comfortable basement of which you can be proud. Plus, you may then discover that you love your basement and want to use it for extra livable space.