Can you Live in a Basement Without Windows?

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A home is the perfect dwelling place, where you can rest after a long and exhausting day from work. Where you can experience many memorable family moments.

However, that classic idea of ‘home’ is in complete contrast to basements, especially a gloomy windowless basement. Basements are often used just as storage spaces. That said, many homeowners wonder if you can live in a windowless basement?

Key Takeaway

It’s not advisable or safe to live in a windowless basement. The reason is that there’s no ventilation, there are poor lighting conditions and many more issues. There is a higher chance you could get sick due to mold growth, the spread of radon, and the lack of daylight.

Every person is different but we think most people would lose their sanity living in a cave like environment!

We’d recommend you live in an apartment with windows, doors and sufficient ventilation.

Are you a homeowner or an individual seeking to rent a basement? Read further as we provide some insight.

Is it Illegal to Live in a Basement?

When it comes to the law and all legal matters, people tend to become scared and shy away from them. This is the case for landowners/landlords that rent out their basements to individuals.

Often basements do not meet the legal requirements suitable for living. Unfortunately, people rent them ignorantly due to a desire to make extra income. 

To make basements legal for habitation they must meet some requirements. These requirements vary depending on your location and the local building codes. With that established, below are some possible conditions:

  • Fixation of windows: the windows installed should be at least two in number to allow fresh air, sunlight, and proper ventilation. 
  • Height of the ceiling: the ceiling must be at least 6 feet inches. It must be high enough if it’s meant for renting to individuals.
  • Size of the door: the entry door should be at least 32 inches by 78 inches.
  • Improvement of lighting conditions: you should fix energy bulbs to increase the light in the basement. 
  • Fire-resistant walls: walls that are resistant to fire should be built to secure the lives and properties in the basement. 
  • Drainage facilities: Proper drainage facilities will reduce mold growth, keep the floor dry, and reduce the risk of illness. 

Landlords must adhere to the local building requirements, which makes basements legal for habitation. Otherwise, they could be subjected to consequences.

What are the Health Effects of Living in a Basement?

Over the years, basements have been built in various homes with only one intention in mind, which is “storage.” More often than not, basements are seen as the last dwelling place someone would want to live in.

Basements are built underground, and they’re often dark. As a result, some drainage facilities could be constructed near it, leading to mold growth.

This growth is hastened by the lack of ventilation and a damp floor. Mold releases spores in the air, which causes serious health issues.

Health issues caused by mold in a basement that is not properly built for habitation:

  • Respiratory infections
  • Rhinitis 
  • Asthma
  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat
  • Cough and phlegm build-up
  • Wheezing 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Chronic allergic reactions

You do not want to mess with mold, it’s potentially deadly long-term. In addition, the growth of mold could can damage your personal belongings. It is best to avoid residing in a basement that is not properly setup for living.

Tips to Make Your Basement More Comfortable for Living

Comfort is one thing that everyone desires, to lay down comfortably on your couch while watching TV. It is possible to get that comfort in your basement.

You maybe wondering, how is that even possible? Well, when it comes to d├ęcor and adding spice to your basement, you can consult professional interior designers or you can research yourself. You can make your basement warm, colorful, and bright.

Here are some tips that can help you out:

  • Lighting: as I mentioned earlier, you need to improve the lighting conditions to live comfortably in a basement without fear. Get floor or table lamps, chandeliers, and compact fluorescents. All these will add light and brighten up your basement.
  • Add decorations: mirrors, paintings/artworks, curtains, and many more add a certain sparkle to your basement. It also creates a warm and inviting feeling.
  • Window treatment: bring in new windows to allow maximum sunlight and natural brightness. 
  • Furnishing: furniture adds color and warmth to your basement. 
  • Functional and effective flooring: if you intend to turn your basement into your living space then, it is best to use a concrete floor as a wooden floor will only invite mold. 
  • Consider colors: this is by far the best way of eliminating the darkness in your basement. You can make good use of light, warm and neutral colors. Colors such as yellow, white, grey, blue, green, red, pink, purple, and many more. Colors add life and meaning to everything. Painting your basement with these colors will make your basement more lively and comfortable to live in.

You can turn your basement into your games room, storage space, or a playroom for kids. If your basement has no windows and is not correctly setup, you shouldn’t live in your basement due to the health factors. But, if you must then you’ll need to set it up properly according to local building code.