Basement air leaks act as conduits for cooled air to escape from your home during warmer seasons. This means your air conditioning system will work extra hard to counter the effect of the air loss. To any homeowner, such a scenario can easily lead to inefficiency in the indoor cooling process and can be disastrous both for your comfort and money.
The best time to investigate and correct this anomaly is towards the end of spring or beginning of summer.
Leakages During Summer
Basically winter and summer have different effects on movement of air currents from the inside of your home to the outside and vice versa. During winter, cold air which is denser and much heavier than warm air, leaks into homes through ground level entries. This in turn pushes up indoor heated air which is much lighter.
When the heated air reaches the top level of your home, heat escapes through the attic floor if the latter is not sufficiently insulated.
During summer, the reverse happens and the pressure created by the heated outdoor air pushes the conditioned indoor air lower. This means cracks and leaks in the basement will be under pressure to let out the cold air. Even small leaks can make such a huge difference in your cooling bills during summer if the leaks are numerous enough.
Plugging the Leaks
Whether your basement is an all-concrete space or is a finished one, it can be a challenge trying to locate air leaks. This is because they are not obvious and can be quite difficult to access. If you really want to identify and track down the leaks, the best way is to do an energy audit.
Here, technicians utilize heat-detecting ladder technology to identify active leaks which the naked eye cannot pinpoint them unaided.
Once the leaks have been identified, you should immediately make arrangements to have them sealed. Where the leaks are fine cracks in concrete, you can use high-quality caulk. Many technicians use closed cell spray foam insulation because it is easy to apply on basements. It sticks well on lots of surface types and creates a barrier that is both air and water tight.
In some basements, you can apply traditional fiberglass insulation. Such basements must not be damp because moisture renders this type of insulation ineffective. When applied on moisture-prone basements, fiberglass insulation traps the moisture and develops mold thus ruining your basement material and setting up your home for a health hazard.
Placement of Insulation
A number of homeowners prefer installing insulation in their basement ceilings so as to create a separating barrier between their ground and first floor of their homes. Research has shown that this may be ineffective in the long run.
The critical part to insulate are the wall sections which sit above ground level. These walls are often made of pure concrete which is known to be a poor insulation material hence the need to insulate them.