Turn a Scary Basement into Thrilling Savings: Series Pt. IV – Basement

Turn a Scary Basement into Thrilling Savings: Series Pt. IV – Basement

This is the final post in our series featuring ways to reduce consumption and save money in your home’s most used rooms.

Homeowners use their basements for many different purposes. For some, it’s an entertainment space and for others it’s a storage room. But for too many Virginians it’s an energy wasting nightmare. While the basement may be the last place you look to cut back on energy use, it could be costing you serious money. Here are some helpful tips to turn your basement from an energy nightmare to an energy efficient thriller.

The most effective way to reduce your basement’s energy consumption is through insulation. It is common for significant air leakages to occur in the basement as air seeps through vents, ducts, pipes and electrical wires that lead to the outside. You can improve your basement’s insulation by:

  • Weather stripping around windows and doors to seal air leaks and reduce drafts.
  • Sealing around electrical, cable and piping openings from the outside.
  • Installing foam gaskets behind your light switch and outlets faceplates to seal gaps, cracks and other air leaks.

Visit ENERGYSTAR’s webpage on insulation for a detailed guide on how to properly insulate your basement.

Basement lighting is another area where you can cut back on energy use, but that doesn’t mean leaving your basement dark and eerie. You can brighten up the space and save money by switching to more efficient light bulbs, like CFLs or LEDs. CFLs use up to 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent light, while LED lights last up to 10 and 15 times longer.

Water heaters are often positioned in the basement of your home and there are a few simple steps you can take to make them work more efficiently. The default setting for many water heaters is 140 degrees, but 120 degrees is typically sufficient for most of your water heating needs and it’ll save 7-11 percent on energy costs.

You can also insulate the first six feet of hot and cold water pipes coming out of your water heater. If you have a tank, wrap it with an insulation blanket to improve insulation by as much as 75 percent.  Keeping the water hot allows your water heater to take more frequent breaks, saving you money. If you’re current model isn’t getting the job done, replace it with a tankless or heat pump model to save 30-50 percent on heating costs.

After incorporating these tips in your basement overhaul, go the extra mile by investing in a professional home energy audit to uncover your home’s inefficiencies and opportunities. You’ll save energy and money on your monthly utility bills while bringing more comfort to your home.