Hydrostatic Water Pressure
One of the reasons that fluids, like oil and water, are used as mechanisms to move large, heavy objects is that they are not compressible. That is, when placed in an enclosed vessel or tube or hose and pressure is added (usually via a pumping device) these fluids will push or move objects with tremendous force. This is why all large construction equipment is operated hydraulically.
Many of us who have a basement in our homes have experienced or know someone who has experienced water coming into their basement area either through concrete walls or sump pump area. This usually happens after a heavy rain or down pour when a lot of water is dumped from the skies in a relatively short period of time or if it rains for days at a time and saturates the ground.
As the water filters down into the ground the weight of the water increases and forces its way into the path of least resistance which can be a sump area in the house or through the more porous openings of a concrete basement wall. The longer it rains the more water, the more water the more weight and the higher the hydrostatic pressure.
While many of the newer homes have drain tiles located around the parameter of the basement, many of the older homes do not. And even with drainage tiles many new homes with basements now have sump pump(s) to keep water from coming into the basement area. Water can even come in through small cracks or openings in the basement floor.
In many cases water problems in homes can be man made. If you have a lawn sprinkling system and many of the sprinkler heads are located close to the house, you can have water soaking the area close to the foundation and create the same problem. Or, if you don’t have any downspouts on your gutter systems or the downspouts don’t drain water far enough away from the home foundation, the same problems can occur.
Water can be one of the most destructive challenges to a home. Not only can it destroy carpeting and damage equipment on the basement floor, but the higher moisture levels and wet materials provide a perfect breeding ground for mold. Once you have experienced water in the basement it is essential that all affected areas are completely dried and all standing water removed.
In basements that are unfinished, normally the heating/cooling ductwork is not completed. Typically there is only one supply vent and no return vents constructed in the duct system. The system is only completed when the basement is finished as part of the initial construction. This is important to know for two reasons.
First, with no return air grills in the basement none of the airborne dust or mold particles or humidity will be drawn back to the HVAC system. This means none of the air will be filtered (assuming there is a filter or filtration system on the HVAC unit).
Second, none of the humidity will be removed from the cooling coils or dried through the heating system. This means you will have a higher moisture content in the basement than in the first and second stories of the home. Keeping water, water vapor and humidity out of the basement is essential to eliminate the possibility of mold growth.
Pure Air Systems manufactures a line of HEPA based air filtration systems that can be used either as stand alone units or attached to existing HVAC systems. The smaller, portable units can be used to filter the air in an area such as a basement and the larger units are designed as whole-house units. For more information on our complete product line or information on reduction/removal of airborne contaminants like mold, please go to our website at: www.pureairsystems.com