With just a little remodeling, your basement can be a functional, productive area or a place you can relax. However, there is one issue that you'll need to address first: the lack of ventilation. Since it has no windows, you'll need to figure out a way to air out the basement--and we have figured out how you can do this.
Ventilation is essential to any area of the house so mold and mildew won't damage it. Here are ways you can ventilate your basement.
- Install an exhaust fan
- Get an air purifier and place a vent in the door
- Keep the basement door open
- Place a dehumidifier in the basement
- Place a window AC in the basement
Keeping your basement ventilated will make it more usable--even as an extension of your home. It can be challenging to ventilate it, but it will be worth it once you get the perks. If you want to learn more about creating a functional basement, keep reading below!
How To Ventilate A Basement With No Windows
Basements are rarely paid any attention to since it's essentially a storage area. However, turning it into an additional room where you can relax or work can be a great idea, especially if you need a more livable, personal space.
However, the stale air is hardly motivating, as well as the dust and moisture. The lack of air circulation makes the place feel drab and suffocating, and you may be thinking of ways to solve this issue. You can try opening a window, but some basements don't have them--so right off the bat, you have a ventilation problem!
Fortunately, you can build your own ventilation system in a basement and make it an extension of your home. Below are effective ways to move air in and out of your basement--even without a window!
Install An Exhaust Fan
The best solution you can apply is installing an exhaust fan in your basement--but you need to make sure air is exhausted outdoors, not in another area in your house.
According to the International Residential Code (IRC), the stale air in an exhaust fan should be discharged away from the house itself, to the outdoors if possible, and not into the attic, soffit, ridge, vent, or crawl space.
If you can vent the air outdoors, you will benefit from the exhaust system greatly. Exhust fans will pull in humid and stale air from the basement to the outside of the house.
Conversely, as it removes the stale air, fresh air is pushed into the basement, making it more comfortable. They improve air flow in a room, and they can help eliminate viral particles in the air.
Get An Air Purifier And Install A Vent In The Door
Air purifiers have advanced technology that can combat intense humidity in any room, especially the basement. However, just because you installed an air purifier doesn't mean your basement has proper ventilation.
Ventilation means not having stale air while at the same time injecting fresh air into the area. Simply removing the stale air will not bring in fresh air, after all.
Since the basement doesn't have a window, you will need to install a vent on the door to access clean air. You can place it at the bottom of the basement door, so the air travels down. After properly venting your basement, you can enjoy the full benefits of the air purifier.
The air purifier uses photoelectrochemical Oxidation to destroy pollutants catalytically, ridding the air of those airborne particles responsible for forming mold and bad odors.
Air purifiers also have high-efficiency particulate air or HEPA filters which can remove particles from the air as small as a diameter of 0.3 microns. These filters will effectively eliminate any bacteria that may grow in your basement, making the area feel fresh and clean.
However, to keep your basement's air pure and clean, you will need to regularly check the HEPA filters and change them once you see it's needed. Air purifiers placed in the basement need a more thorough and regular checking since it is a humid area, which can strain the HEPA filters.
Keep The Basement Door Open
A more economical solution to introduce fresh air into your basement is to always keep the basement door open. Through the natural airflow process, stale air can be removed from the basement. However, installing an air purifier is a wiser move since you wouldn't want the stale air transferring anywhere else inside your house.
Although this method wouldn't require effort, it may not be that effective since the process is passive--it wouldn't target specific ventilation problems in the area, and bacteria will still be able to thrive in the humidity.
This may also not be safe, especially if you have toddlers in the house. It is easier to trip and fall down if the doors are always open, so you will need a more effective and safe system.
Place A Dehumidifier In The Basement
Dehumidifiers pull in the moisture in the air, so you'll be left with fresh, clean air. Dehumidifiers in the basement prevent allergens, dust mites, and mold, which can destroy your surfaces and the furniture in your basement.
They also prevent the damp air from penetrating the first floor of your home. You wouldn't want the air you breathe to be 50% stale, so you should seriously consider installing a dehumidifier in the basement, even if you're not planning to turn it into an extra room.
These dehumidifiers also remove the stale odor in the basement, making it less suffocating and--once ventilated--livable.
You should still inject some fresh air into the room by installing a vent--just combine the vent with an air-purifying mechanism so the passive exchange of air will not be disadvantageous to the rest of the house.
Can you put a window AC in the basement?
If your basement opens outdoors, you can--theoretically--install a window AC in your basement. However, you will need to build an actual window where the AC should be popped in.
However, you need to make sure you have a reliable system in place that can keep out the heavy, damp air so it won't get recycled over and over if you choose to power up an AC in your basement.
Window units are also more challenging to install, so you might as well just install an exhaust vent.
Go For A Mini-Split
If you're planning on converting the basement into another recreational area and need it to be cooled, a ductless mini-split system is a more ideal option since it only needs a small hole where the pipe could connect outdoors.
For best results, make sure you have it installed by an HVAC professional.
Why you should ventilate your basement?
An unattended storage room can make the room in that area stale and, for some people, unbreathable. If you want to lessen this inconvenience, or if you're planning to fully convert the basement, it's important to ventilate it.
Ventilating your basement will prevent mold from forming. Mold can cause eye irritation, throat itchiness, and congestion, which can be unsafe, especially for children.
Even if you're not planning to remodel your basement, you should still put in mechanisms to prevent organisms from infecting your home. A simple installation of an exhaust fan could solve this issue, but the stronger the system--the better.
Access to purified air can lower the humidity levels in your area. This may not be achievable, so you will need to install a system in your basement, especially if you don't have a window.
Humidity can aid the growth of bacteria, and since no one is using the basement, the bacteria will thrive. From there, it will be a domino effect until it reaches your lungs and gets you sick.
Fights Toxic Gases
Radon, a highly toxic gas that causes lung cancer, can penetrate your basement. This is because the area is below ground level, making it susceptible to harmful elements from the ground.
A strong HEPA filter, dehumidifier, and a vent system should prevent this from entering your home. Make sure your system is at least checked by an HVAC professional to ensure that it serves your home well.
Ventilating a basement may seem like an added chore, but it should be a priority since it can affect your health and quality of life. If you want a healthier home, start fixing up the systems in neglected areas.