Indoor Air Quality; Affected by Basmenet

General studies suggest that over 40% of the air that we breathe in the rest of the house comes from the basement. In a cascading effect called Stack Effect. The air joins the rest of the air circulating in the home and eventually finds its way up and out.

However, having an untreated water issue in your basement, or uncontrolled moisture in your basement space can invite more serious matters to affect your Air Quality.

Using quality materials in moisture and water mitigation is so critical now, more than ever. Whatever you do in your basement can have health ramifications upstairs. And if you're subjected to a poor choice by someone who just wanted a check, it can harm you over a long period of time. Open back systems can actually increase the amount of Radon in a home. They canhowstuffworks.com also invite bugs and other small animals to come, eat, live and defecate. Insanitary conditions this day'n'age are totally avoidable and you don't have to live with a bad choice off of someone else's ignorance.

Closed systems don't have any of these effects. There is no open aspect to them. They don't allow moisture or water through, and having a full concrete floor over the drain, small animals and insects can't find their way through. Now that you have full control over your basement moisture and water, a dehumidifier will run more effectively and efficiently. This will save you time, effort, and money, not only down stairs, but upstairs as well. Having less moisture cascading up into your living space will enable your air conditioners to work better.

Your air conditioner actually has to heat the air it takes in, which allows moisture to be removed, and then it cools the air and pumps it back into the house. The less moisture it has to remove from the air, the better it can drop the degree in the room. All of the energy can go into actually cooling the space rather than having to deal with removing moisture first. That's what makes a solid dehumidifier so important to a moisture control system in your basement. You're not only taking care of the space in the basement but minimizing the ramifications of that moisture on the money you're spending on heating and cooling the house upstairs.

A SantaFe Dehumidification Unit is a key element in any basement waterproofing or basement finishing project that you want to have done.


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Radon: What have you done to protect yourself?

As we all know, Radon supposedly isn’t active everywhere. However, because the gas is caused by the decay of radium, it could eventually happen everywhere.

The EPA has suggested that every house in the USA get their house checked for their Radon levels every 2 years. Have you done that?
What does that number you get mean?
What are your ideas of your basement space?
Why does it matter what I do in the basement?

What does that number you get mean?

Firstly, it’s just a good plane idea to get tested. Radon can then rise with the air content and actually travel through your house, not just affecting the basement environment.

Once you get the test results back, you’ll be faced with a number. For air Radon, a number of 4 or higher is a “not so good” sign. Treatment systems tend to be highly recommended if not demanded upon you at that number. Results from 2-4 are dependent on what you want to do with the space, and anything below a 2 is minimal.

For water Radon levels (such as getting your well water treated, it’s much the same scale). If Radon located in your water supply is higher then 10,000 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) then treatment will be heavily suggested. 4,000-9,999 can have other plans for treatment in mind, and anything fewer than 4,000 is considered safe and for you to retest in 3-5 years.

Radon has only recently received the press it rightly deserves. 21,000 people in the United States die from over exposure to the Gas every year. It’s highly toxic and it’s very important to get tested and to take the results seriously.

What are your ideas of your basement space?

This question has much to do with how acceptable a Radon result number you have. If you’re planning on expanding and adding a living space, or an area you’ll spend a lot of time in, then anything over a 2 really isn’t acceptable. The only thing you could do with a 2 or higher is to use it as a storage space that you spent little to no time in.

Regardless of your plans, levels above a 4 can be costly to your health on the 1st and 2nd floors as well.

Why does it matter what I do in the basement?

As of right now you might not be doing anything in your basement. But if you’re like me, I work down there on house projects, new cabinet doors, painting trim; I also store all my tools and other house maintenance equipment down there. So, I end up spending a great deal of time, not only in the basement but coming and going.
Radon only needs a small amount of exposure time to start doing the damage it’s known for on the human body. With all the combined time you spend interacting with the space, it’d be a better idea for you to make sure that you’re also not interacting with Radon by mistake.

Further reading:
Radon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radon
Radium: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radium
Osha.gov: http://www.osha.gov/dts/chemicalsampling/data/CH_265469.html
EPA.gov http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/physic.html


Dealing with Water coming in over your Foundation Wall: At the Sill Plate.

The Sill Plate is the boarder beam that is directly connected to the rest of the Cross Beams and rests on the tops of the foundation. Sometimes it is built flush with the outside of the foundation wall, and sometimes it can be centered. Like the side boards of a deck it’s meant to help square up the cross support beams and distribute part of the weight down the foundations directly. The rest of the distribution of weight is taken by the massive house support beams (normally found in the center of the basement ceiling) which can then have 1 to many support columns which are metal poll that support at possible weak spots in the house support beam.

Now that you have an idea of what you’re looking at above you lets get to the bottom of this.

If water is coming in through the top of the foundation, ether through an opening in the sill plate, over the sill plate, or under the sill plate, it typically means one of two things.

1.) That the land graded to the foundation is too high and coming into direct contact with the sill plate. Sometimes allowing water to collect and drain into the basement.


2.) That the whole area has experienced major flooding where the water level has risen to meet the sill plate directly or risen above it.

Now the typical rule for grading land is so that when the back-fill is placed after the formation of the foundation walls, that the grade of the land doesn’t meat the foundation any higher than 6”-12” down from the sill plate. This isn’t just for water.

The main reason that this rule was placed was because of insect and animal access. It’s harder for termites to gain access to the sill plate so far from the soil.
If you are experiencing this problem outside drainage can help, however it won’t solve this issue (especially in the cases of massive exterior flooding.) The first thing that I would recommend would be to get in contact with the builder of the home and discuss solutions to your property. If you can’t a hold of the builder, don’t know them, or live in a much older house then contacting a landscaping company to help you with the land grading would be your best first star in solving this issue.

This type of jump is most typical in these conditions listed above. People who live in houses with no basements, their houses being placed on slab, will also see direct correlation into their “first floor” living space. If you don’t know what type of foundation that you have and would like to find out you can go to your town hall and request the plans for your house, they’ll be able to direct you to exactly where you need to go for this information.


Sump Pumps Going Green is the Standard!

Glentronics created by Alan Schulman is responsible for 80-85% of all the battery back up sump pumps sold in America. With water being a natural resource Alan felt that not only battery back ups should use surface water, and not drinking water to flush out a discharge line, but primary sump pumps as well. So, being the entrepreneur he is, he’s created one.

He is currently asking legislators for help. Glentronics thinks that is just bad business to be, in some cases, using our own drinking water to cool some pump units. Putting a strain on a very valuable commodity, especially during drought seasons, isn’t a good idea.

Besides conserving water, Glentronics has also pioneered the Pro-Series pumps which are proven to use from a third to one-half less electricity then ordinary sump pumps. They also only come into contact with surface water, not water that has been filtered for drinking, but its naturally occurring in the soil.

“What if all the sump pumps in the United States where energy efficient?” Schulman asked Diana Newton of www.Pioneerlocal.com. “..customers recognize that it’s good for them and the world…” (taken from “Local inventor pumps it out” by Diana Newton, 1/22/08, www.pioneerlocal.com, Chicago)

With the push to become less dependent on foreign oil, with natural energy resources coming to a very expensive bottle neck, it’s nice to know that something that is designed to keep you safe is also designed to save you money and save energy.

The Pro-Series 3033 is a true 1/3 horse power pump that Pioneer Basement, Grate Products LLC, and all the contractors associated with the Pioneer Home Basement Finishing network use every day in thousands of installs a year. The pump’s impeller shaft is balanced on both the top and bottom with ball bearings in order to assure that it stays vertical, doesn’t touch the sides, and decreases the amount of friction while spinning. The whole unit is designed to be cooled off the water that it pumps out. That means no oil, no oil clogs, no oil maintenance and that means that it doesn’t need to use the same oil that’s causing financial situations all over the world. The more important part, the energy specific part, is the split capacitor motor (PSC) which holds the charge of 4amps of electricity. This allows the pump to continuously use 4amps of electricity when in use. It won’t spike and surge as other units can and do, which will save you money in the long run. When used periodically over the course of a year, it has the possibility of saving you over $55 dollars in comparison to other pumps on the market.

Being American born entrepreneurs ourselves at Pioneer Basement, we’re very proud to help to support an American company with safety and energy efficacy in mind.