Basement Too Hot—Why And How To Fix This

Making sure the rooms of your home are comfortable to be in is essential. Have you started to notice your basement feel hot while you're down there and have no idea what's going on? Well, we've done plenty of research and have all of the answers waiting here for you. Let's check them out.

The main reason a basement will start to feel hot is that a leak is present. You may also have water underneath your home, which can cause a hot, humid inside climate. Considering that excess moisture can lead to mold, structural problems, and even future health concerns, figuring this out soon is essential.

As we begin, we will cover all things basements and discuss how to fix a hot interior climate. Whether this is ongoing or you haven't noticed issues before, we're here to offer some help. With that said, let's get right into this post!

A spacious finished basement with carpet and hardwood floors, Basement Too Hot - Why And How To Fix This

Is A Basement Supposed To Be Hot?

No, it's not common for a basement to feel hot. Typically, the basement will feel slightly different from the rest of your house, but this shouldn't be major.

Considering that heat tends to rise, your basement should be a bit cooler, if anything. That said, there could be a leak or underlying water below your basement's structure, which will cause it to feel hot and humid.

A modern basement with cream colored walls, wooden cabinets, and a brown sleeper couch

Furthermore, ignoring this dramatic climate change could lead to severe structural and health-related problems developing later on, so you want to get on top of it.

What Temperature Should A Basement Be?

Depending on the weather outside, the temperature in a basement will vary throughout the year. If it's winter, you want to keep your basement between 55 and 60 degrees.

If it is summertime or you live somewhere warm, you want to keep your basement under 80 degrees. Of course, that is a vague suggestion, so if you prefer to keep your basement in the 60s or 70s year-round, you certainly can.

Regardless of the weather, you don't want to let a basement get too warm, as this is when problems will start.

Do I Need To Air Condition My Basement?

Although it isn't technically required, it is good to air condition a basement. Besides the fact that you don't want your basement feeling muggy during warmer months, installing an AC system will ensure mold, mildew, and other dangerous bacteria isn't able to make your home their own.

On top of that, having air conditioning is great for making your basement livable. Doing this will also allow you to safely store important items down there without them becoming heat/moisture damaged.

Additionally, air conditioning systems help combat humidity levels in the basement, so you can't go wrong installing one.

How Can I Cool My Basement Without AC?

A portable air cooler is the best way to cool down a basement without air conditioning. Not only will this help lower the temperature, but it can also prevent too much humidity from forming.

Brands like Evapolar advertise themselves to work incredibly well for basements, so that may be something to consider.

Regardless of the portable AC brand, you want to make sure you have a place to vent your system, so it doesn't end up blowing more warm air into your basement.

COMFYHOME Evaporative Air Cooler

This portable air conditioner has a tower fan design, oscillates, features a 15-hour timer, offers a humidifier function, and gets down to 65 degrees.

Follow this link to see it on Amazon.

What Temperature Should An Unfinished Basement Be?

Man is adjusting a temperature in modern living room

For those with unfinished basements, try to keep yours at or above 55 degrees. Considering that an unfinished structure will get colder/warmer than one you insulate, your basement could have trouble maintaining a comfortable climate.

That said, we recommend using rugs and even roughed-in insulation to help keep it warm through the winter. Furthermore, you can also try using a portable AC as we mentioned above for warmer months.

Regardless of whether your basement is complete or not, you want to make sure it doesn't get above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Should You Heat An Unfinished Basement In The Winter?

Yes! It is generally a good idea to heat your unfinished basement through the winter. Like we said above, unfinished basements tend to have trouble keeping their temperature, so imagine how cold yours could get if it's freezing outside.

That said, we recommend insulating the ceiling in your basement so your heater doesn't need to work overtime. Even insulating the ceiling can make a huge difference and shouldn't cost more than $1.93-$4.39 per square foot.

What Should I Do If My Basement Is Humid?

If you notice your basement feels humid, this can be a problem. Typically, excess moisture in the basement can lead to mold and other bacteria/fungi growing regardless of whether it's finished or unfinished.

Most often, damp basements will have a strong, musty odor, so if you smell something unusual, there's probably a serious issue at hand.

Luckily, you can usually clear the humidity up using a high-power dehumidifier, so that's a great solution to try.

Is It Normal For A Basement To Feel Humid In The Summer?

Although your basement shouldn't ever be too humid, it is normal to feel a bit wetter in the summer. Typically, the summer months will have the highest percentage of moisture in the air, so expect that to affect your home.

However, if you notice condensation forming around the windows in your basement, or water pooling anywhere, this could mean something more serious is happening.

Do I Need A Dehumidifier In My Basement?

Portable white dehumidifier in front of electrical header installed over hard wood floor

We recommend purchasing a dehumidifier for the basement if you live somewhere humid. Especially for those with unfinished structures, having a dehumidifier alongside AC can combat summertime moisture and keep your home mold and mildew free.

According to Basement Systems, using a dehumidifier in the basement can also get rid of musty odors in your space, so that's a bonus.

Many newer dehumidifying systems will include a humidity meter, which can alert you if your space gets too wet, so we recommend finding one with that option.

What's The Best Dehumidifier For A Basement?

Although there are endless options for dehumidifying systems, some brands stand out more than others. A couple of notable dehumidifier makers include Frigidaire and LG.

Specifically, Frigidaire's High Humidity 50-Pint Capacity Dehumidifier is a favorite among critics. LG's PuriCare 50-Pint Clear Bucket Dehumidifier also stands out according to a list by Good Housekeeping, so we stand by that recommendation.

Again, you don't have to go with a name-brand dehumidifier to see the climate in your basement improve, although we do think those systems will work better and longer.

Frigidaire High Humidity Dehumidifier

This dehumidifier holds 50 pints, has a built-in pump, continuously drains, and operates in temperatures as low as 41 degrees.

View it on Amazon here.

LG PuriCare 50-Pint Dehumidifier

This dehumidifier holds up to 50 pints, works in spaces up to 2,500 square feet, has a clear water tank, and has an automatic shut-off feature.

Check out this product on Amazon here.

Where Should A Dehumidifier Go In The Basement?

Ideally, you want to place a dehumidifier somewhere centrally located in the basement. Especially if you have a super humid space, it's a good idea to keep your dehumidifier towards the center of your basement.

Of course, you'll need to plug your appliance into a wall outlet, so make sure to find a spot where that is safe.

You could also try running an extension cord to your dehumidifier if you want it farther away from a wall/outlet, so that's an idea to consider.

What Can I Use Instead Of A Dehumidifier In My Basement?

Rock salt in glass jar

If you don't want to buy a dehumidifier, there are alternatives for the basement. Essential Home And Garden recommend using baking soda or rock salt for the basement, so those are ideas to try.

To use these, place about one cup of baking soda/rock salt in a container. Let this container sit for 3-4 weeks, and then replace it with a fresh cup.

You can also try using a fan or air conditioner to reduce humidity, so if replacing baking soda or rock salt doesn't sound like something you want to do, we recommend trying one of those systems.

To Wrap It Up

Whether you spend time in your basement or avoid it, knowing what climate to keep yours is essential. From what we found, the basement shouldn't get too hot. If this happens, you could have a leak or water underneath your home.

To fix this, we recommend using air conditioning or a dehumidifier. Cool air keeps moisture levels down, as does a dehumidifying system. We also think using heat in the basement through winter is a good idea, along with insulation.

Regardless, make sure to have your basement be at least 55 degrees in the winter and below 80 degrees throughout the summer/year, and don't be afraid to try a drying alternative like baking soda or rock salt.

Made it to the end? Check out these helpful related HVAC posts below!

How To Hide The Furnace In Your Basement [Inc. Unfinished One]

How Can I Make My Basement Warmer In The Summer?

Does A Basement Ceiling Need Insulation?

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