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Should I Open or Close the Basement Windows in Summer?

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don’t leave basement windows open

Hot and oppressive — two words that aptly describe the basement conditions of many Columbus, OH, homes in summer. Throughout much of summer, temperatures can average 85 degrees. Few people will venture into this space during the daytime as the summer heat makes it humid and uncomfortable.

Don’t let summer heat deny you the chance of enjoying the basement. Let’s look at why closing basement windows is the most sensible thing you can do and how you can keep temperatures down.

What Happens When You Open Basement Windows?

When the outside gets hot, people take it as an opportunity to air out their musty, damp basements. So, they open the basement windows and door throughout the day to dry this space with the warm summer air. While this sounds like a good move, it leads to condensation. Walls and windows start sweating.

Think of what happens when you remove a water bottle from the fridge in hot weather. Water droplets form on the outside because the outside air contains more moisture. The same thing happens when moisture-laden air from the outside floats into your cool basement. That’s a phenomenon known as summer condensation, and it’s a reason why the basement gets damp and moldy.

Always Shut Basement Windows

Condensation is a major problem in summer. It will instigate wood rot, encourage pests, cause wood to warp, and make your HVAC work harder. Add to it the inconveniences of repairing your moisture-damaged interior. It could mean downtime and disruption to your normal life.

Moisture buildup can also damage your floor covering and insulation. Your air conditioner will suck this moist air through the subfloor. When this air gets into the rest of the house, it will warp your wood floors too. Insulation will get soggy and start attracting mold and pests. Eventually, you will have to replace it, and this costs money.

Moisture-laden air from the outside also tends to hold awful smells, most of it originating from mold and mildew, which grow in dark, damp spaces. Besides smelling bad, these microorganisms encourage decay and wood damage. Their microscopic spores can also pose health problems when they float to the living space above.

Lastly, opening basement windows in summer creates an imbalance in your home. Warm air will raise the temperatures. You will have to run your AC to normalize it. If you do this repeatedly in a day throughout summer, it’s going to push up the cooling costs.

Allowing in cool air

  • Air your basement at night or early morning to ensure cool air circulates around the basement area.
  • If you’re always doing laundry in the basement, place a standing fan right behind your dryer. Your clothes will dry up fast and your basement will feel much cooler.
  • If moisture is originating from the inside of the basement, get a dehumidifier to take care of excess moisture. A self-draining dehumidifier will bring moisture levels down to at least 50%.
  • Consider replacing your single-pane windows with insulated multi-pane windows to tame condensation.
  • Use a heat pump to draw hot air from the basement into the ducts and bring back cool, moisture-free air inside.
  • Install ceiling fans to cool your basement. The breeze they generate will move around moist air and dissipate any heat that lingers overhead. You can use standing fans as an alternative.
  • Shade your Columbus, OH, home from sunlight using plants. This will block heat transfer and keep basement temperatures down.
  • Use portable ventilation to cool the basement. It’s convenient and cheap.

Warm outdoor air is the #1 source of airborne basement moisture. Don’t let the hot summer months turn your basement into a humid dungeon. With the help of Ohio Basement Authority, you can tame outside air and create a hospitable environment in the basement.

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Serving Greater Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, and Northern Kentucky

Cincinnati Office

1270 Hillsmith Dr.
Cincinnati, OH 45215

Columbus Office

2421 McGaw Rd.
Obetz, OH 43207

Dayton Office

70 Birch Alley, Suite 240
Beavercreek, OH, 45440