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How to Air out a Basement Without Windows (5 Tips)

More often than not, basements are known to feel stuffy and can even have strange odors wafting through the air as you open the door. When your basement lacks ventilation, either due to a lack of windows or other venting systems, this can be a common occurrence.

Luckily, you don’t need to call your contractor to make holes in the walls just yet as there are other ways you can air out your basement even if you don’t have windows in the room. I have laid out a handful of helpful tips that you can easily implement to reduce the mustiness of your basement in no time.

  • Use a dehumidifier and a ductless bathroom fan
  • Leave the basement door open
  • Use fans to direct air into and out of the basement
  • Run the HVAC system with the basement door open
  • Set up temporary ventilation with flexi ducts and an inline fan

Do Basements Need Ventilation?

It is important that your basement gets adequate ventilation, especially if it doesn’t have a window, as a lack of such can have a number of negative consequences for not only your home, but also your health.

Basement turned children's area with a basement window

Ventilation involves the movement of fresh air into a space and the removal of stale or moist air out of a space.

Basements tend to be warmer and more humid than the rest of your home for a variety of reasons.

The moisture can get trapped in a basement without windows, which increases the chances of mold and mildew forming in the room. This can negatively impact the health and well-being of everyone living in the house.

Additionally, excess moisture in the air can cause damage to your walls, grout, and plaster. This can become costly for you quite quickly as you need to make repairs.

Tips to Air out a Basement Without Windows

1. Dehumidifiers and Ductless Bathroom Fans

An easy method of removing moisture and musty odors from your basement would be to buy a dehumidifier and install a ductless bathroom fan. This will deal with moisture and musty odors, respectively.

You get endless options of dehumidifiers out there, so you are sure to find one that suits not only your budget, but also your taste.

A great option is the Pro Breeze Dehumidifier (amazon link), which is not only super affordable, but also highly rated.

Pro Breeze Dehumidifiers for Home, 225 sq ft Mini Dehumidifier, Compact Portable 17oz Capacity for High Humidity in Home, RV, Bedroom, Bathroom, Basement, Kitchen, Laundry or Closet

Additionally, a ductless bathroom fan is a great option to remove odors from your basement. These appliances are quiet and energy-efficient solutions.

It is important to note that these devices won’t actually be ventilating the room at all.

A dehumidifier removes moisture from the air inside the basement and then releases the same air back into the room. It does not cycle the actual air out of the room to make space for fresh air to enter.

A ductless fan pulls air out of the room, passes it through a carbon filter, and releases the same air into the room. So, old air is not removed from the room and is not replaced with new air.

Be sure to empty your dehumidifier tank regularly as it can collect too much moisture and overflow into the machine. Failing to empty your dehumidifier could also lead to mold growth within the appliance, which would also be very counterproductive.

2. Just Leave the Door Open

If you are not looking to spend money, or are simply overwhelmed by all the options available to you, then a free and easy way to air out your basement is to just leave the door open.

This takes no effort at all, and can be effective in airing out the space if done correctly.

For instance, you should open additional doors and windows in the house as well so that the air removed from the basement does not simply stagnate within the rest of the house but can actually go outside and be replaced with cooler air.

White open door leading to basement stairs

This also has to be done for at least an hour to really allow the air to circulate. If your basement is especially humid, then this method won’t really be effective at removing all of the moisture in the space. You may have to use additional methods mentioned in this list if you want to truly air out the room.

Additionally, open doors that lead downstairs can be a safety hazard, especially for smaller children running around.

3. Strategic Use of Fans

One way to amplify the results from the above tip is to make use of free-standing fans. Keeping your basement door open, strategically place your fans in such a way that directs air into and out of the basement.

Consider an oscillating fan, such as the Lasko S16612 (amazon link), which can help with directing the air in various directions.

Of course, you would need to purchase multiple fans to really get the job done, which could work out to be costly and a storage issue.

4. Run Your HVAC System

If you have an HVAC system, even if there are no vents in the basement, you can still create airflow in the basement by running the system.

As the HVAC is used in both summer and winter, the chances are that you are already running the system, so it’s not going to be an extra cost to you.

Open the basement door to allow this space to benefit from the gentle air movement created throughout the house.

This method is not going to be very effective if you are dealing with an extremely musty basement, but it can certainly help air out milder odors and humidity.

5. Set up Temporary Ducting With Inline Fans

If moisture and humidity are a serious problem in your basement, then it may be worth your while to install temporary ducting system with inline fans.

Set up a system of flexi duct that runs from the basement, through the basement door, and out of a window or door on the ground floor.

Place an inline fan, such as the AC Infinity RAXIAL S6 (amazon link), into the flexi duct, hook it up to an electrical outlet, and run the fan until the basement’s atmosphere is more tolerable.

AC Infinity RAXIAL S6, Inline Booster Duct Fan 6” with Speed Controller - Low Noise Inline HVAC Blower Can Fan for Basements, Bathrooms, Kitchens, Workshops

While this method may be the most effective at airing out the basement, you will have shiny foil ducting running through your house. But it’s worth it as a temporary measure.


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