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Kitchen Floor Cold - Heating crawl space underneath?

cbieszkcbieszk Posts: 4Member
New to the discussion but need some advice:
I live in an old farmhouse that had been upgraded and added on. Majority of the field stone basement has heating ducts from the furnace and is about the same temperature as the rest of the house. About 1/3 of the basement is a crawl space, and in the far SW corner of the house there is a very tight crawl area that leads to a pit that drops about 10-15 ft (not sure what the purpose of it is). This area is not heated and is directly below the SW corner of our kitchen. The kitchen floor in this corner is very cold in the winter. Our dishwasher is in this corner of the house and the lines will literally freeze up on a cold night. There is some insulation underneath the floor but this “pit” gets very little heat from the rest of the basement. Could I just put a fan in the entrance of this area to blow some heat from the rest of the basement into it? This area is barely accessible so I have no clue how to check the seals, vents, and such.


  • SnowmeltSnowmelt Posts: 1,165Member
    do what ever you have to do to get some heat so it doesn't freeze what you say might work, maybe have an insulation guy come and take a look.
  • JellisJellis Posts: 186Member
    The Fan is a good start, i would certainly have an insulation guy take a look and make a recommendation.
    A lot of dish washers have a thick piece of insulation under the front cover of the unit. I believe its mostly for sound dampening, you could remove this to allow some more heat to get under the dish washer if you don't mind potentially making the unit a bit louder.
    I would certainly remedy the situation before it ruins your dishwasher or splits a pipe.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 12,154Member
    edited February 2019
    I presume, since you mention ducts in the basement, that you have forced air? You might consider the possibility of running a duct into that area -- not into the kitchen itself, but into the pit.

    Also, is there any evidence of infiltration in there? Can you, in fact, actually get into the pit? (Note: if you do try to go in, check the air quality. That is a confined space, and you must check for adequate oxygen and no toxic gas before you got in). If you can gain access, you might consider having closed cell spray foam insulation applied to the walls.
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • cbieszkcbieszk Posts: 4Member
    Wow. thanks for the quick responses. It is forced air, yes. I can crawl up to the pit but getting in might be a little tricky. You can start feeling it get colder as you crawl towards the pit area. I would need to somehow fit a step stool or ladder to get into it. It gets a little claustrophobic. haha.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 6,570Member
    Get someone to insulate the floor as much as possible. Field stone foundation is letting in cold air and it is trapped in there so insulate.

    Then ad some electric baseboard in the kitchen to boost the heat
  • BrewbeerBrewbeer Posts: 600Member
    Pit might be an old cistern, I've seen them in old houses where access to fill them is limited. Storing the water under the kitchen also makes sense.
    Hydronics inspired homeowner with self-designed high efficiency low temperature baseboard system and professionally installed mod-con boiler with indirect DHW. My system design thread:
    System Photo:
  • jbeckjbeck Posts: 15Member
  • cbieszkcbieszk Posts: 4Member
    Yes. I do believe it's an old cistern. And there is some insulation under there but I'm sure some spots could be patched up. I'll have to re-check. If I do have to re-insulate, it's going to be extremely difficult with the little amount of room to get into the pit. UGH
  • psb75psb75 Posts: 157Member
    Our 1850's MI farmhouse had two cisterns underneath. Brick lined and plastered. Rain gutters were piped to fill them. One under kitchen another under bathroom. Hand pumps on first floor to draw up water.
    Ultimately crawl spaces are not good for the enduring health of the building and its operation.
  • jacobsondjacobsond Posts: 57Member
    I have a 1910 house with the stone foundation. I used to have a pipe freezing issue in the kitchen. I went into the crawl and insulated the foundation with 10in of fiberglass and put plastic down on the ground. Then I opened it up some more. The crawl only had a small door before. No more freezing pipes now. The floor is still cold tho. My small unfinished basement only gets to 60-65 in the winter. I could possibly pull some insulation off the heating pipes (hot water heating) to increase basement temp. No pipes freezing was the goal and we wear shoes in the house for the most part.
    coming to you from warm and sunny ND
  • cbieszkcbieszk Posts: 4Member
    Well I’m sorry for wasting everybody’s time. Here is the final verdict of my situation. I crawled down into the crawl space below my kitchen and everything is well insulated. In fact, it didn’t seem as cold as I thought it was. I went back upstairs and decided to bring my dishwasher out from against the wall to check if I could see anything with the exterior wall. And there it was! Some sort of furry beast chewed through my drywall behind my dishwasher and decided to pull out a bunch of insulation. Cold air was just pouring in from that hole! This weekend I’m going to re-insulate the hole, cover it with some steel wool, and then put a plywood board up against that back wall before putting the dishwasher back. Whew, easy fix!
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 6,570Member

    Good job! Sometimes the fix is a simple thing
  • Bob518_802Bob518_802 Posts: 5Member
    Not a waste of time if we learn something along the way! Glad it was s fairly easy (& inexpensive) fix.
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