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Should You Open Basement Windows in the Summer to Cool it Down?

If your house doesn’t get much shade in the sweltering North Carolina summers, your first instinct might be to open some windows—your basement included. Opening the windows seems like it would be a sensible thing to do.

Well, it isn’t that simple. Opening the windows on a hot, humid summer day can actually end up causing more problems in the long run. Let’s look at the specifics so you have the knowledge and tools needed to actually keep your basement cool during the summer.

problematic basement window

Why You Shouldn’t Open Basement Windows in the Summer

Many people attempt to keep their basements cool by opening the windows. At first, it may look like the right thing to do, but the truth is that opening the windows can actually allow humid air to get inside the basement. This is a problem because it leads to various moisture issues and negative side effects over time.

Here’s what can happen if you leave basement windows open in the summer:

Increased Humidity

Being located in the Southeastern United States, North Carolina tends to have humid summers. All the moisture in the air will get into your basement if you leave the windows open. As the damp, humid air transfers into your basement from the outdoors, the basement itself becomes humid.

Over time, this can cause energy bills in your home to skyrocket as the humid air travels further up into your living space. During the humid summers, it’s better to keep the basement windows closed to avoid the area turning into a sweaty and humid space.

Mold Growth

When basement windows stay open in the summer, it can actually cause mold to grow inside your basement. When humid and hot air mix with the darker, cooler surfaces in your basement, they create the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew.

You’re putting your personal belongings at risk when you leave the windows open in your basement. Mold will grow on anything made with organic materials including paper, cardboard boxes, fabrics, and wooden structures. If you have any items like these in your basement, it’s best to keep the windows closed during the summer.

Musty Odors

Keeping basement windows open in the summer can lead to mold growth and humidity in the basement. As a result, you’re more likely to deal with musty smells in your basement. No one likes to go downstairs and smell a disgusting odor.

Not to mention, the smells could seep into your living space through the floorboards, making your entire home start to smell bad all because the basement windows were open for too long. Want to maintain a fresh smelling home? Don’t open the basement windows on a hot summer day!

Leaky Windows

Summers in North Carolina also bring a hefty amount of rain. If you leave basement windows open in the summer, there’s a chance you could forget to close them during a rainstorm. This could lead to water leaking into your basement through the windows and causing puddles to form inside the basement itself.

No one wants to deal with a flooded basement or spend money on water damage repairs. You can lower the chances of this happening by keeping basement windows closed in the summer.

How to Keep Your Basement Cool in the Summer

Opening basement windows during the summer ends up causing problems down the line. Instead, consider other options that are proven to be more effective. Here are better ways to keep your basement cool when summer rolls around:

  • Dehumidify the basement: Installing a high-quality dehumidifier in your basement is one of the best ways to keep the area dry and cool in the summer. Having a dehumidifier in the basement will ensure that any moisture is caught and removed before it can damage surfaces below your home.
  • Install fans: Putting a fan or two in your basement can help to create a cool and comfortable space. Air will be circulated around the basement, keeping it moving and cool. Combined with other methods like a dehumidifier, fans are a fantastic way to keep a basement cool for everyone in your home.
  • Increase shade: This is a long-term solution, but it can pay off down the line if you stay in your home for a while. Increasing the amount of shade near your basement windows can help prevent direct sunlight from getting into your basement. Trees and shrubbery are the best option for this; consider talking to a professional landscaper if you’re thinking about this option.
  • Utilize curtains and blinds: One of the simplest ways to keep a space cool is by installing curtains and blinds. These can help control the amount of sunlight that actually gets into your basement year-round. On a particularly sunny day, it won’t hurt to pull back the shades if you want to stay cool in your basement.

Keep Your Basement Protected With Tar Heel Basement Systems

Basements serve as valuable extra space. Whether you use it as an office, living area, or storage, it’s important to keep it cool and dry. Hopefully, this page has given you better ideas on how to keep your basement cool in the summer.

Are you struggling to keep your basement dry and cool in general? Tar Heel Basement Systems can help. Since 2003, we’ve been helping homeowners in North Carolina keep their basements safe and protected from moisture.

If you decide to work with us, you’ll receive a free basement inspection and quote along with a solid recommendations on how to maintain a cool, dry, and livable basement. Contact us today for more information!

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