basement window air conditioning

Basement Window Air Conditioning- What are the Options?

Solutions for Basement window air conditioning

Basement air conditioning options include portable AC units, window AC units, and ductless mini-split systems, each providing efficient cooling by utilizing refrigerant cycles to transfer heat from the interior to the exterior.

For integrated solutions, central air systems can be extended to basements, using ductwork to circulate cool air, optimizing thermal exchange through a centralized compressor and evaporator system.

Main Options for Window AC in Basement

AC Type Cooling Capacity (BTUs) Installation Complexity Noise Level (dB) Features
Portable AC 5,000 – 14,000 Low 50 – 65 Mobility, dehumidification, no permanent installation
Evaporative Air Cooler Not measured in BTUs Low 40 – 60 Adds humidity, energy-efficient, best in dry climates
Ductless Mini-Split 9,000 – 36,000 Moderate to High 19 – 34 Quiet operation, efficient, no ductwork required
Central AC Extension Varies by system High Varies by system Integrated with existing HVAC, consistent cooling


Putting a window air conditioner in the basement seems like it would be easy proposition. Go down to the local hardware store, buy a window AC, pop it in the window, and call it a day.

But as it turns out, basement window air conditioners are not exactly an item you can find very easily,  if at all.

What’s more is the issue of the window being one of the only ways to ventilate the basement and the fact that basements tend to be a high concentration zone of airborne molds and bacteria.

Not exactly something you want recycling through your air conditioner and in the air you breathe.

And this..

Having something obstructing the only opening in and out of the basement in case of a fire blocking the door is another issue you have to consider when you’re talking about using window there is a air conditioning point in the basement.

So what are the cooling options for a basement?

what are the cooling options for a basement?

What is the Best way to air condition  a basement?

Consider this..

Basements, being that they are underground are usually not that prone to excessive temperatures.

And in most cases suffer from being stuffy from the high level of humidity and musty atmosphere created by the level of toxins associated with moldy basements.

And even if you could find a window air conditioner that would fit in a hobbit window, you would still have the problem of the air conditioner recirculating the moldy room air.

The point is..

The comfort level in the basement might very well be more of a case of ventilation and dehumidification.

1.  Portable air conditioner

This is the easiest alternative to a window air conditioner is a Portable AC.  Its because portable air conditioners and window air conditioners are basically the same thing.

The only difference is, one sits in a window and exhaust outside. The other one is meant to be more portable and a hose to exhaust from. Yet the hose still needs to have a window to exhaust too.

Since basement windows or Hobbit Windows as they are also called are typically narrow, attaching the hose from a portable AC is an obvious alternative to a window AC.

Some augmentation and DIY ingenuity will probably be needed to outfit the window to make a sealed opening for the hose.

2. Mini split air conditioner.

A mini split air conditioner is also a perfect alternative to a window air conditioner in the basement because you just need a wall to place it.

The whole unit is like a miniature central heat and air system that cools and heats inside and and a separate compressor that sits outside.

The price of a mini split system maybe a little more than a portable AC but in the end, probably worth it.

Not only for the superior cooling and heating capacity, but also for the finished look.

A tidy looking ac unit compared to a unit on wheels that has a bulky looking hose. You would be much happier with the look of a mini split system.

The installation of a mini split system is is a little more tricky. It requires some through the wall hole making. And some connecting that a lot of people may not be too comfortable trying themselves. A heating and air professional can be brought into handle this.

3.Ventless AC

A ventless air conditioner is another way of saying Evaporative cooler. Also called the swamp cooler.

Though it might seem like a great idea when you first hear it because it doesn’t require any type of venting, putting in the ventless cooler in the basement is actually riddled with problems.

The first issue is, they require water. Lots of it.
That means a permanent hookup or carrying a lot of water down stairs. Over and over.

The basement is already a problem area for excessive humidity.
Placing a swamp cooler in a basement will only add to the problem and help exasperate the issues with mold and bacteria.


Evaporative coolers aren’t very effective in areas with high humidity.


There is always exceptions to the rule. If you already have a ventilation and dehumidifier system in place, a portable evaporator cooler could be a great option for helping cool down the basement.

4. New HVAC zone

If you’re home is already outfitted with central heat and air, then there is the possibility that your unit has enough power to set up a new zone to your basement.

Running vents off of your already existing system is a great way to get cooling to your basement.

But remember that just adding a couple of more ducts and vents it’s not necessarily going to suffice.

You are going to need a professional to come in and set up a new zone for your basement in order to get even cooling in the basement and not diminish the cooling in another area.

can you use a window ac without a window

5. DIY basement window air conditioning

If you already have a window air conditioner that you were trying to figure out how to use in the basement, then you already know that just putting the air conditioner in the room with you is not going to work.

If you haven’t tried it, here is the reason.

Window air conditioners exhaust heat out the back side.
Just placing a window air conditioner in the room with you will create cooling out of the face, but create heat out of the back.

So basically canceling each other out.

if you had a way of engineering something DIY style, you could use the window air conditioner as long as you had a way venting the heat expelled from the rear of the AC.

Here’s an example of a do-it-yourself window air conditioner turned mobile that could work in the basement as long as you have a hobbit window handy.

Here’s a more detailed look at it.

The whole idea is to take a large storage tub complete with lid and exhaust the heat from the air conditioner into the storage container which is ducted into the small Hobbit basement window.

Though it’s not the prettiest, it can be utilized and would work well for basements that are primarily used as shops, crafting rooms, so forth.

And one of the advantages is that refrigerated air conditioners, be it window or portable, dehumidify as part of the cooling process.

And since basements are notorious for high humidity, having a refrigerated air like a portable or a DIY window air conditioner can be very beneficial.

Wrap up

The ideal of putting a window air conditioner in your basement get shot down pretty quickly when you find out that they’re or actually very few if any window ACS that will actually accommodate the small basement window.

But if you are willing to think outside of the box, there is more than one way to skin a cat.

In this article we shared a few ideals on how to use existing products like ventilation fans and mini split air conditioning units as well as portable ACs to get air conditioning to your basement.

We also spoke about the possibility of using your window AC inside the basement but only adding a DIY twist to it.

Whether you are the DIY type or whether you are looking for something that is much nicer then you can get out of a do-it-yourself project, we hope that the suggestions we presented have sparked some of your own ideals to get air conditioning into your basement.

Published by

Dennis Reed

Dennis Reed Owner and Author @