Many homeowners make the mistake of neglecting the basement when it comes to insulation because it’s commonly a part of the house that is used to just store random stuff. Because it is underground, it’s easy to forget that it exists and you only remember it when you need extra space. However, insulating your basement has a huge impact on the rest of your home. In Kansas City, insulation contractors are extra vigilant in ensuring that basements are covered during the construction process, especially since the local building and rehabilitation code requires that all homes should have this, as well as ceiling insulation, installed.
Why does every home’s basement need to be insulated? Here are four reasons:
1. Prevents moisture issues
Because the basement is located under the home, you can expect ground moisture to seep through foundation eventually and create moisture issues that could lead to mildew and mold formation. Exposure to such an environment not only damages the integrity of the items you have in storage but can also result in a serious health issue for your family.
2. Helps your home stay warmer
Kansas gets an average of 15” of snow annually, which is lower than the U.S. average. Still, if your basement has poor to zero insulation, the cracks, gaps, and other possible points of entry for the cold can create heating problems for the rest of your home. Building experts say that up to 50% of heat loss starts in basements. By applying the right coverage to your walls and ceiling, you can create a more comfortable environment for everyone.
3. Helps reduce energy costs
Basements are cooler than the rest of your house and they will remain so unless you use your heating system. However, insulation will help seal cracks and walls; therefore, keeping out drafts and moist air that can spread through the walls and lower the temperature of your spaces upstairs. The average U.S. home with 1,500 square feet of space can save as much as $400 per year in energy expenses. With a properly insulated basement, you don’t have to spend so much on heating your rooms because you are protected from under the ground.
4. Building code compliance
Most U.S. states require that all basements be insulated before an occupancy permit is issued. How much insulation you need to apply will depend on your location and the local codes that an in effect. The minimum R-values can vary, as well. In Kansas City, the R-value for basements must be at least R 10/13, which means you should have a continuous insulated sheathing on R-10 on both the exterior and interior. The interior of a basement wall must have a minimum R-13 cavity.
How much insulation does your home need? You can have your basement assessed by a professional contractor who will conduct a home energy audit, so you know where to begin. The R-value of your insulation greatly depends on the size of your house and your area’s general climate. Simply put, the thicker the insulation needed, the higher the R-value.
Overall, having your basement insulated should not really be a question of whether or not you should get it done. If you live in a city that does not require it, that doesn’t mean you should skip out on this essential construction element. Almost all types of basements experience some form of heat loss — and this translates to higher electricity and heating bills. Once you’ve made the decision to insulate your space (and you should), the next step would be to choose the type of insulation system or method to use.