Basement Drying >> Water In Basement

The foundation of a house is a somewhat invisible and sometimes ignored component of the building. It is increasingly evident, however, that attention to good foundation design and construction has significant benefits to the homeowner and the builder,and can avoid some serious future problems. Good foundation design and construction practice means not only insulating to save energy, but also providing effective structural design as well as moisture, termite,and radon control techniques where appropriate. The purpose of this article is to provide Water In Basement information that will enable designers, builders, and homeowners to understand foundation design problems and solutions. This chapter provides the general background and introduction to foundation design issues. 

Section 1.1 explains the practical and economic advantages of good foundation design. The organization and Page 2 Chapter 1—Introduction to Foundation Design is one major concern that is relatively new—controlling radon. Because radon represents a potentially major health hazard, and knowledge about techniques to control it are just emerging, a special introduction to radon appears in section 1.4. This chapter is intended to set the stage for the more detailed Water In Basement information found in chapters 2 through 5.1.1 Benefits of Effective Foundation Design The practical and economic advantages of following the recommended practices in this article are:• Homeowners' utility bills are reduced.• Potentially costly future moisture, termite,and even structural problems can be avoided.

Potentially serious health-related effects of soil gas can be avoided.• More comfortable above-grade space is created.• For houses with basements, truly comfortable conditions in below-grade space are created. All these potential advantages are selling points and can help builders avoid costly callbacks. The Benefits of Foundation Insulation The primary Water In Basement reason behind the current interest in foundation design and construction is related to energy conservation, although in some areas radon control is also a primary concern. Today's prospective home buyers are increasingly demanding healthy, energy-efficient homes that will provide the most comfort for their families at a reasonable price. In the past, the initial cost and the monthly mortgage payment were the critical criteria considered.

Now, with rising energy costs, operating expenses are also a prime consideration and exert a major influence upon the more educated home buyer’s decision. Home buyers want a home they can not only afford to buy—they want one they can also afford to live in.Home builders and code officials have scope of this Water In Basement article is described in section 1.2. Before proceeding with solving design and problems, there must be a basic decision about the type of foundation to be used—basement, crawl space, or slab-on-grade.Section 1.3 discusses the considerations that affect choosing a foundation type. While many aspects of foundation design and construction are known to some extent, there Builder’s Foundation Handbook Page 3 initially responded to these desires by providing more thermal insulation in the above-grade portions of the home. 

Attention to the foundation has lagged for the most part, with most effort focused primarily on a foundation's structural adequacy. Lately however, the general awareness of health-oriented, energy-efficient foundation construction practices has increased in the United States. In 1989-90 several national building energy codes and Water In Basement standards were revised to recommend foundation insulation in moderate to cold U.S. climates (those with over 2500 heating degree days). Uninsulated foundations no longer represent 10 to 15 percent of a poorly insulated building’s total heat loss; instead, an uninsulated, conditioned basement may represent up to 50 percent of the heat loss in a tightly sealed house that is well insulated above grade.In order to develop a better understanding of the impact of foundation insulation and provide information to the building industry and the public, several research activities are proceeding. 

Two notable projects are the foundation test facilities located at the University of Minnesota (Figure 1-1), and at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Figure 1-3).While saving energy may be the primary reason for understanding good foundation design practices, there are other related benefits. For example, insulating any type of foundation is likely to result in warmer floors during winter in above-grade spaces, Water In Basement thus improving comfort as well as reducing energy use. Insulating basement foundations creates more comfortable conditions in below-grade space as well, making it more usable for a variety of purposes at a relatively low cost. Raising basement temperatures by using insulation can also reduce condensation, thus minimizing problems with mold and mildew. In addition to energy conservation and thermal comfort, good foundation design must be structurally sound, prevent water and moisture problems, and control termites and radon where appropriate.

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