Are Basement Apartments Cold? Are They Cooler In Summer?

The temperature in basements can be unpredictable. If you live in a basement apartment, you might notice that the temperatures are different from other floor levels. We've researched from the experts about basement apartment temperatures and here's what we've found out.

The underground location of basements is naturally cold. Hence, if you stay in a basement apartment, it could get pretty chilly in the winter. During the summer, you may also notice that the basement would still feel cold even though it's hot outside, which is mainly due to the density of warm air versus cold air. Other reasons behind the cold temperature in your basement include:

  • Below-grade walls and floors
  • Poor insulation
  • Excess moisture

Read further as we elaborate on why basement apartments are cold during summer and how to address the issues relating to temperature so that you can continue a comfortable life in your basement apartment. We will also tackle several tips you can do to regulate your basement temperature.

Large basement room with desk and orange walls. Are Basement Apartments Cold Are They Cooler In Summer

What Makes It Cold In The Basement?

Being at the lowest level of the house, a basement's temperatures would be around 40 degrees Fahrenheit even during the winter. If you have an unfinished basement, it will feel cold because of the bare concrete. For finished basements, it can feel too chilly even with insulation.

Why Are Basements So Cold In Summer?

The summer has come, but unpredictable as the weather, your basement still feels cold. The main reason is the density of cold air. The warmer air molecules rise to other floor levels, while the colder air goes to the lowest part of the house. That is why even though the temperature is hot outside, the cold is consistent in the basement.

Another issue involves high humidity levels during summer. With the warm air, more moisture remains. If this humidity mixes with the cold temperatures, the basement will be cold. Other than the cold, excess moisture will also cause molds and musty odors that may pose health risks to family members.

The cold temperature could also be due to below-grade walls and floors. You have to install proper insulation systems to solve the issue. But then, if you have poor insulation installed, it can cause more cold air inside. For structural insulation issues, ask your contractor for help.

How Do You Keep A Cold Basement Warm?

It is best to maintain the ideal temperature for your basement with proven ways to battle the cold in your basement. You can prevent the cold from lingering in your basement with these practical solutions below that will keep your cold basement warm:

  • Add insulation to your below-grade walls and flooring. Drywall or foam boards are some great options for insulation. You can use pre-cut fiberglass insulation batts for the framing studs.
  • Check if your basement walls, floor, or ceilings have cracks, gaps, or holes. Then seal the surfaces by using some caulk or epoxy.
  • Add some heat to your basement by using radiant heat flooring.
  • Modify the existing HVAC ductwork on the main floors by extending it down to the basement.
  • Aside from the HVAC, use your furnace fan in "on" mode. By doing so, the colder air moves up instead of staying below.
  • Use a space heater, especially for smaller basement spaces.
  • Keep your basement doors and windows closed so that warm air circulates inside.
  • Place carpets or rugs to keep the heat in the basement.

How Can I Keep My Basement Apartment Cool In The Summer?

In some cases, instead of remaining cold, it can be hot in the basement during summer. With the hot temperature, staying inside your basement apartment will be uncomfortable. Follow the tips below to keep your basement apartment cool in the summer:

  • Use a dehumidifier to get rid of the humidity.
  • Increase the airflow in your basement by cross-ventilation. Some systems help circulate the air inside the basement.
  • Prevent sunlight from reaching your basement. You can close blinds or use shutters to keep the sun rays out.
  • Turn off electrical appliances like the television and lights when not in use. Electricity is a source of heat in the basement. You can feel the heat through radiation, conduction, or convection.
  • Install an air-conditioning unit in your basement.

From the tips mentioned, you can ask your landlord to help fix the problems. With a suitable temperature for your basement apartment, you can do your usual activities.

Aside from the temperature, keep reading to learn if basement apartments are safe dwelling places.

Is It Safe To Live In A Basement Apartment?

With the rise of housing prices in the United States, it is hard to find a budget-friendly abode. Whether you live independently or have a small family, you might save when renting basement apartments. Although cheap, it should not compromise your health and safety.

Issues With Basement Apartments

A basement apartment may not be the best place to live. Listed below are some issues you might encounter while living in a basement apartment.

  • Mold and mildew growth due to dampness
  • Exposure to radon, carbon monoxide, and other harmful gases
  • Pest attacks
  • Lack of sunlight
  • High asbestos levels
  • Easy access for burglars

From the listed issues, you might think twice about settling in a basement apartment. The problems can be recurring. If not solved, you will suffer long-term effects. The mentioned problems would also cost you more than your rent. Only proceed to live in basement apartments if you are 100 percent sure to take risks.

You also need to know if landlords follow state regulations and building codes. Read further to check if your prospect or current basement apartment is legal.

Legal Basement Apartments

There are regulations for the safety of basement apartments occupants. State housing codes may vary on their rules about illegal basement apartments. You can also check if the legal documents presented to you are complete and legitimate before you decide to stay.

To give you an idea, you can read about New York City's Basement and Cellar Occupancy Law.

A basement apartment should be at least 50 percent above the street level. Check if the basement apartment observes the minimum ceiling height. There should also be enough windows and exit doors for safety purposes.

If you are going to examine the place by yourself, you can check the following:

  • The ceiling follows the minimum height of 7 feet.
  • Check if there are egress windows and exterior doors installed. In every room, there must be at least one window.
  • For the windows, these should be 30 inches tall and 24 inches wide. The height should not be higher than 3 feet from the basement floor.
  • The walls are damp and waterproofed.
  • Examine the existing connections and ductwork if these are in good working condition.
  • The rooms should be at least 70-80 square feet.
  • There are smoke detectors and fire alarms installed.
  • Heating and cooling units are also in place.

If you are currently residing in a basement apartment and found any lacking requirements and violations, you can do the following:

  • Ask your landlord to fix the problems in your apartment. You can agree on how you can divide the costs and other concessions.
  • If the landlord does not cooperate, report to your local authorities. You can consult with an attorney if you plan to proceed with this option.
  • If the two options do not work, your can sue your landlord.
  • The last thing you could do is find another safe apartment to stay.

Staircase to basement room with a brightly lit window. Are Basement Apartments Cold Are They Cooler In Summer

In Closing

A basement apartment stays cold even during summer due to the cold air density. Other contributing factors to the coldness include high moisture and poor insulation. However, there are many ways to keep your basement apartment warm if it gets cold and vice versa.

If you're still contemplating moving to a basement apartment, you must be aware of the possible issues that you can experience. You also must know the legal requirements of basement apartments. Remember to think about safety first before staying in a basement apartment.

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