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Is Ventilation Good for Your Basement? Here’s What You Need to Know

Learn more about how improper ventilation can drive up humidity levels and other problems, and what you can do about it.

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From time to time, homeowners in Fargo, ND, open their basement windows to air out the space below their home. You’ve probably done this yourself without thinking of the implications. That’s not a wise move in our opinion, as it opens this space to moisture. Here, we’re going to show you why natural basement ventilation is a bad idea and show you what you can do to keep the basement dry

open basement window vent

Does Basement Ventilation Matter? 

By now, you already know that your basement is susceptible to moisture due to its position. Why would you want to make the situation worse by opening windows in the morning and closing them in the evening? Perhaps you think airing the basement area makes it livable and comfortable during summer when humidity levels are exceedingly high. The ugly truth is you’re setting the stage for moisture and all the nasty problems associated with it. 

We understand that local codes require homeowners who convert their basements into living spaces to provide proper and adequate egress and ventilation. But surely, natural ventilation isn’t the way to go. What you need to do is seal up this space and condition it. 

Problems Associated with Basement Ventilation   

Anyone who’s had the misfortune of walking into a ventilated basement can tell you that the area doesn’t feel as healthy as they’d imagined—and rightly so for the following reasons. 

Excess Moisture 

Moisture will start building up in your basement as air exchange goes on unabated. Studies show that your porous foundation wall could soak in as much as 15 gallons of moisture each day. This moisture contributes roughly 80% of indoor humidity.  

Wall Damage  

Once moisture gets into the basement, condensation will occur, and this can cause wall paint to peel off or develop wrinkles. Wooden fixtures in the basement may also decay due to condensation. This can lead to unnecessary maintenance costs. 

Persistent Smells 

Since the air is teeming with mold spores and pollutants, it’s going to smell bad. The pungent smell may diffuse into the living space in your home and may linger for months. Not only does this make the air unbreathable, but it can also lead to health problems. 


Closing your windows when it’s cold leads to condensation, especially in wintertime due to the difference in temperatures between the inside and outside. Moisture will build up and start condensing as you do laundry or shower in the basement. 

Mold Growth 

It’s another unpleasant effect of letting moisture run wild in the basement. Mold streaks can appear on the walls, ceiling, furniture, and floor. Be on the lookout for black or green spots with musty smells, a clear indication of mold formation. 

Best Fixes for Your Basement 

You need to do these things to improve the situation in your basement. 

Seal Your Basement Windows  

While basement windows add light to your space, they also have the potential to let in air from the outside. Small leaks around your window seals can grow into a major problem down the road. Your windows will need to be re-caulked, preferably with silicone caulk to reseal them. Once your windows are sealed, air exchange and moisture won’t recur. Your basement will stay warm in winter and cool in summer.  

Install Window Well Covers 

Water is also another threat. To increase your protection, we also encourage you to install covers over your basement window wells. These fixtures are hinged to your foundation and can prevent water from infiltrating the basement.  

Invest in a Dehumidifier 

Next, ask your local contractor to install an energy-efficient dehumidifier with air purification capabilities in the basement. Our powerful dehumidifier comes with a sensor that detects the moisture levels in the basement. We can route it to a sump pump or a condensate pump for your convenience. 

Enhance Your Basement Dryness 

Don’t let moisture-laden air from the outside or mold turn your Fargo, ND, basement into a dungeon. The experts at Innovative Basement Authority can help you manage basement humidity levels using a dehumidifier and other waterproofing solutions. Schedule a free basement waterproofing inspection and get a no-obligation quote from us the same day. 

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We service Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Eastern Montana for basement waterproofing and crawl space repair.

Fargo, ND

1330 41st St. N
Fargo, ND 58102

Minneapolis, MN

6265 Carmen Ave.
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076

Rush City, MN

1325 S Frandsen Ave
Rush City, MN 55069

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101 S. Reid Street, Suite 307
Sioux Falls, SD 57103