How To Air Out A Basement With No Windows?

One of the questions that you may have when your basement has no windows is, how to let the air out? Among the places in the house, the basement is a source of indoor pollutants due to mold, moisture, and unpleasant odor because of lack of ventilation.

Without windows, the basement air may carry impurities that may cause allergic reactions, sinus problems, and other respiratory issues. 

So, if you’re wondering how to air out a basement with no windows, read further! We’ll give you tips and tricks to ensure that your basement is well ventilated.

Why Ventilate The Basement?

The basement is often neglected. It may not be as functional as the other parts of the house, but it’s still important to ensure that it’s in good condition to avoid structural issues or even health problems. Here are some of the reasons why you might want to improve the ventilation of your basement:

1. Protection Against Structural Damage

Since the basement is situated below the ground, it can easily seep cold moisture through the floor and walls. When this cold moisture interacts with the warm air that circulates in the area, condensation may develop. Moreover, when there’s excessive condensation, the area will start to have a musty or sour smell. 

The collected stagnant water from the moist will not only contribute to the unpleasant smell but excessive moisture can cause rot, especially if you have a wood structure. It can also damage your belongings stored in the basement.

2. Mold And Mildew Infestation

The humidity level in the basement with no windows usually exceeds 60% or falls below 30%, which is not recommended because of its negative effect on your home’s structure, belongings, and to your health.

A humidity level below 30% is an inviting environment for germs and viruses to thrive. The walls may also crack, and the paint may chip. On the other hand, high humidity levels over 60% may lead to excessive moisture, a breeding ground for mold and mildew growth. 

Molds don’t only carry bacteria that can trigger respiratory illnesses, but if it stays too long in a surface, it can eat different materials like wooden walls, floorboards, and other structure at home.

3. Get Rid Of Radon

When the uranium from the rock, soil, and water breaks down and gets into the air, radon is formed. This gas moves up through the ground and usually seeps through cracks or holes. The basement is the nearest area where this gas can go, so it’s just normal that radon is found in the basements. 

However, its concentration in a basement with no window can be higher because of gas accumulation. According to research, exposure to a high concentration of radon may lead to lung cancer.

Effective Ways To Air Out A Basement With No Windows 

Some homeowners are quite skeptical about ventilating a basement with no windows. There’s a notion that the only way to have proper ventilation is through natural air passageways in the area. It’s true that installing a window may be the most energy-efficient way to ventilate the basement. However, if it’s not a possible option, here are the ways that you can do:

1. Mechanical Ventilation

In the absence of natural ventilation, a forced-air system is a way to remove stale air and have a supply of clean air. There are three types of mechanical ventilation, exhaust-only ventilation, supply-only ventilation, and balanced ventilation. 

The exhaust-only ventilation utilizes a fan that helps remove indoor air and replace it with outdoor air through leaks. The supply-only ventilation aims to reduce contaminants by drawing in outdoor air through the fans and letting indoor air escape through an exhaust fan duct. 

Lastly, the balanced ventilation. It’s a combination of exhaust-only and supply-only ventilation. It’s where fans are used to draw in and out of place to regulate air supply and to ensure that contaminants are reduced.

Under the types of mechanical ventilation, there are different kinds of systems to choose from. These systems come in varying sizes and uniqueness and operation. Your choice would depend on your budget, space requirement, and preferences. 

  • Box Fan

If you’re on a budget, this kind of ventilation is a go-to option. It’s small, portable, and budget-friendly. Box fans must be situated near the door, so it can easily pull in cool air from the outside. If you would place the fan with the blades facing the door, it can help pull out hot air from the room. If you place it the other way around, you’re drawing in air from the outside.

One of the downsides of using a box fan is that there’s a possibility that it just let dust, pollen, and other air impurities circulate around the room.  

  • Exhaust Fan

This system aims to remove stale air and excessive moisture until the air pressure drops down. When there’s low air pressure, fresh air is forced to go in through holes and cracks in the home’s structure. Exhaust fans must be vented outside for it to efficiently bring in the fresh air. 

Since your basement has no windows or any other opening aside from the door, you can situate it in your ceiling for it to have access into the open air from the next level of your home.

  • Air Conditioning

If you plan to turn your basement into a laundry area or a recreational hub where you can spend time hanging out for hours, installing an air conditioning system is the best option. The best type for your basement with no windows is the HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system. It’s an all-around system to make your basement comfortable. 

Newer modes of HVAC systems are also energy efficient and can withstand heavy loads, perfect if you have a spacious area.

2. De-Humidifier

A way to reduce the dampness of the basement is through the use of a de-humidifier. Its primary function is to remove water from the air and make sure that the humidity level in the area is just at the ideal indoor range.

If you commonly visit your basement, the incorporation of a de-humidifier helps in preventing allergy triggers and it sucks out the musty or rotting smell.

The use of a de-humidifier is not a permanent solution to the problem. For it to be effective in reducing the humidity level it’s important to deal with the possible cause of moisture accumulation like improperly designed walls, ineffective drains, improper water drainage, or structural cracks.

3. Air Purifier

A well-ventilated basement means that the air in circulation is clean and fresh to breathe in. This ventilation system aims to purify the air by removing bacteria, allergen, dust, mold spores, and other air contaminants that thrive in a basement with no windows. After the cycle of removing air impurities, it pushes in clean air.

Air purifiers have essential health benefits. No wonder, it has been renowned as an efficient household product for health-conscious people. For this system to be effective in mitigating the effects of poor ventilation, choose the one that is suitable for your basement’s layout. A small air purifier in a spacious basement may be ineffective in purifying the air because of the load. On the other hand, an oversized system may consume a lot of energy.

4. Air Purifying Plants

Air purifying plants are more than just an aesthetic accessory. Growing a plant in a windowless room may seem impossible. Good thing, there are low-maintenance plants that don’t require sunlight exposure.

These plants effectively absorb particles in the air to remove pollutants. They are also efficient in absorbing harmful gasses through the leave’s pores. Here are some of the air purifying plants that you can place in the basement with no windows.

  • Cast Iron

Cast iron is a hardy plant. It’s a perfect option for those who don’t have a green thumb. Its ability to improve air quality and absorb harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde and benzene.  This plant is a must-have in your basement with no windows because it can tolerate high humidity levels and low light conditions.

  • Peace Lily

This plant doesn’t only brighten up the space, but it can remove sources of indoor pollutants. It can effectively suck up harmful gasses like acetone and alcohol vapor. In addition, since mold and mildew formation is common in the basement, placing this plant will help absorb excessive moisture found on surfaces, and mold spores in the air. 

  • Dracena

For basements with very low humidity levels, dracaena is a good choice because it can add up the humidity level while cleaning the air. It makes sure that the humidity level that it will provide is just up to up to the optimum level. This ornamental plant can tolerate harsh environmental conditions like low-light, high or low humidity levels, or limited air supply.

  • Pothos

What makes pothos a great plant for a basement with no windows is that it can tolerate zero light conditions. Furthermore, it also requires less maintenance because it can thrive with or without the soil. It’s an ideal indoor plant that can remove air pollutants like carbon monoxide, benzene, and formaldehyde. Pothos must be located in entryways, near garbages, or in humid areas.

Tips To Air Out Your Basement

✔️ De-clutter

A basement is a common place where things that are not commonly used are stored. If your main concern is to improve the airflow of the basement, reducing your stuff is the best way on how to do it.

Sort the things for recycling, reusing, and donating. De-cluttering doesn’t only improve air circulation, but it paves the way for new storage space.

✔️ Use porous building material

If you have an underground basement where windows are not possible, make sure to use porous materials during construction. Porous materials are the ones with void spaces that can hold fluid like that of a sponge. For example, rubber, wood, bricks, and other types of rock.

✔️ Invest in a hygrometer

The hygrometer is the device used to measure the humidity level. No matter how good your ventilation system is, if it was used incorrectly, you won’t maximize its benefits.

✔️ Seek help from professionals

If you don’t know how to air out a basement with no windows, it’s just right to consult an expert. When you seek help from professionals, they’ll conduct an assessment to have an accurate precautionary measure that you can do to resolve or avoid the effects of poor ventilation in a basement with no windows. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Which ventilation system is best for your basement?

In choosing the best ventilation system, the first thing that you need to consider is the overall condition of your basement. Do you have problems with high or low humidity? Or you want to resolve issues with the unpleasant smell and the growth of molds. The different ventilation system works differently. 

For those who have a tight budget, you may opt for portable systems like fans and de-humidifier. For an all-in-one solution, you may opt for an HVAC system. HVAC system purifies the air and ensures good air circulation.

Q: Is it safe to sleep in the basement?

If you have problems with the humidity level and overall air quality in the basement, staying longer or even sleeping on it is not safe. Overly exposing yourself to a poorly ventilated environment can cause respiratory problems.

Q: What are the common causes of poor basement ventilation?

Poor basement ventilation is not only due to the lack of windows. It may also be a result of poor building construction and design and lack of maintenance of the air conditioning systems.

Final Thoughts

Areas at home that have poor ventilation are no longer an issue. With the different ways to improve the air quality and humidity level, a once idle basement can be turned into a functional living space. To summarize, you can air out a basement with no windows by using mechanical ventilation (portable fan, exhaust fan, and airconditioning system), de-humidifier, air purifier, and displaying air purifying plants. By incorporating the right technique, you can effectively ventilate a basement with no windows.