Should I Open or Close the Basement Windows in Summer?

windows and humid basement

We’ve grown up knowing that opening windows helps cool a hot room in summer. Yes, it does. So, we instinctively feel the same thing when we walk down to the basement and feel it’s hot. Opening the windows can bring down the temperatures and create a hospitable environment. But have you considered how it impacts basement dryness and health?

Should I Open Basement Windows?

We don’t encourage you to open the basement windows of your Toledo, OH, home for the following reasons:

When the warm, moisture-laden air from the outside gets in, it will raise the humidity levels and set the stage for condensation. It’s a phenomenon where the moist air comes into contact with cold basement floors and walls. When this happens, water droplets will form on your basement walls and windows.

Moist air from the outside will also hold and trap musty smells. These odors are typically caused by mold and mildew, which thrive in damp, dark spaces. Mold and mildew don’t just smell bad, but they also foster decay and damage. When their spores float throughout the rest of your home, they can lead to health issues like asthma or allergies.

When outside air rises, it gets sucked into the living space by your climate control system. Often this moisture gets drawn up through floor coverings and the subfloor. This upward movement can lead to cupping of wood floors. Insulation may also get saturated as it collects water that penetrates right through.

Opening your windows also creates an imbalance in the internal conditions in your home meaning you’ll have to run your HVAC for longer to stabilize the conditions. This translates into more energy consumption. If you air out the basement regularly and run the HVAC, you will notice a surge in monthly electricity bills.

Tips to keep your basement dry in summer

If your basement has proper insulation and dry outer walls, you can avoid summer condensation by properly ventilating it. Air out the basement when the outside temperatures and humidity are slightly lower than on the inside.

  1. Avoid airing the basement during the daytime on hot summer days. Instead, air it in the morning when it’s still cool or in the evening when temperatures drop.
  2. Run your dehumidifier during hot summer weather with your basement closed to keep humidity levels below the critical 50-60%. Anything higher than this and condensation will occur followed by mustiness.
  3. On cooler days, air out your basement multiple days in intervals of 10-15 minutes.
  4. Avoid doing laundry in the basement. If you must, air out your basement quickly and properly.
  5. Don’t place furniture, especially large cabinets, against the outer wall of your basement. This will obstruct airflow. Moving the basement furniture ensures air circulates more effectively.
  6. If you rarely use the basement space, don’t let it cool completely in the cold winter. Maintain temperate conditions, and don’t forget to air it out briefly daily.
  7. Shade your home from direct sunlight to keep the temperatures down. Shading blocks heat transfer. You can plant shrubs or trees around your house. To realize the biggest gains, plant the greenery on the south or west of your home.
  8. Install fans in the basement to cool the basement area. Fans will generate a breeze that will move air around and dissipate any heat that builds up inside. To slash your cooling costs, use the fans in the evening when the weather is cool and mild.
  9. Consider using heat pumps. These gadgets pull warm air from the basement, take it outside, and bring in moisture-free air. Another benefit of using heat pumps is that they dehumidify the basement.
  10. Get a portable ventilation unit and use it to condition your basement. Not only is it cheap, but handy in creating a hospitable indoor space. If you have a residential HVAC system, extend it toward the basement as well.

Summer months can be particularly hard for you as basement temperatures can go through the roof and make life down there unbearable. Down there, temperatures can be 6-10 degrees warmer than the rest of the house.

If you’d like to know how you can condition the basement without opening windows, get in touch with Ohio Basement Systems in Toledo, OH. We’ll provide you with a free basement waterproofing inspection and quote and solid recommendations to turn things around.