Ban the Drafts

Drafts are common in old homes and unfortunately in some newer ones as well. Turning up the heat doesn’t solve the problem and just wastes energy. One of the often-overlooked culprits is cold air passing around and through the sill plate and rim joist, the framing between the top of the foundation and the bottom of the wall. Cold air can leak into the basement and up into the wall cavities, creating a breezy draft across the floor or even electrical outlets.

Besides leaking through holes and gaps, heat can also move through the framing itself. Since solid lumber conducts heat, it will readily transfer the outside temperature. Insulating the lumber by installing a layer know as a “thermal break” is the best way to stop this heat transfer.

Fortunately, there is an easy solution for both heat loss culprits: spraying closed-cell foam over the sill (the flat plate on top of the foundation) and onto the rim joist (the joist perpendicular to the floor joists).  Installing foam around the perimeter of the basement creates the thermal break and seals air penetrations.  You’ll wind up with fewer drafts and a warmer basement.  The only downside:you might have to tidy your basement so we can reach the tops of those walls.