It’s a phenomenon when water builds up and gets trapped in the soil underneath your foundation. When ground or surface water levels are raised, excessive moisture from rainwater runoff or snowmelt can also happen. When this happens, the excess water will have to go somewhere, possibly pushing underneath your foundation.
Two types of hydrostatic pressure affect foundations: positive differential and negative differential. The positive differential is caused by groundwater or outside water pushing down on your foundation. The negative differential is caused by ground or outside air pushing up.
What is hydrostatic pressure?
This is water pressure that occurs when you move water through a pipe. Its units are force per unit area. Hydrostatic pressure causes problems in pipes by creating friction, resulting in heating, loss of flow, and non-uniformity of fluid properties along the length of the pipe. When the fluid becomes more viscous, it can also become susceptible to cavitation, leading to erosion or failure of piping components. The greater the hydrostatic pressure, the faster these effects will occur. Therefore, it’s imperative to keep HP as low as possible to prevent any damage from occurring within your plumbing system.
Increased hydrostatic pressure can cause foundation damage. It can also compromise the structural integrity of your home. It can cause cracks to appear in your foundation, following the direction of the force. When it builds up beneath a structure, it will push outward, causing cracks to appear on the surface.
This pressure can even damage well-built foundations, especially if they’re not built to withstand the excess water pressure. It’s also important to know that these pressures are different for every foundation and will change over time depending on conditions outside.
How do you know if your foundation is being affected?
You might notice cracks in your home’s foundation, especially around the perimeter. Sometimes these will form at doorways or windows. Other times, they’ll be scattered throughout the outside of your home. If you’re seeing large cracks in your foundation, this could be caused by elevated hydrostatic pressure.
How can you find the source of high hydrostatic water pressure?
To begin, call a plumber to inspect your home’s plumbing system and check for any leaks. If there aren’t any, it’s time to take a closer look at yours. You can use a moisture detector to find the source of increased hydrostatic pressure. Look for any areas on the outside of your home that have a raised water level. This might be a sign of a leak somewhere in your basement or crawl space. In this case, it’s time to call a structural engineer.
Your foundation will be at risk of this pressure if there’s a high water table or a rapid change in the slope of your property. Are you thinking about buying a home with a concrete foundation but not sure if it’s affected by hydrostatic pressure? Speak to a structural engineer first before making an offer. If you’ve got a brick foundation, make sure it’s built correctly.
How do you prevent this pressure from damaging your foundation?
The best way to protect your home against the pressure from hydrostatic fluids is to know what causes it in the first place. Make sure you address drainage system issues. If your home is built close to a hydrostatic fluids source, this can also cause high pressure. To prevent foundation damage from pressure, speak with a structural engineer ahead of time. You should ensure your foundation was constructed following building codes.
You should also make sure to run a monthly check for water leaks and call a plumber if you notice anything out of the ordinary. While high pressure isn’t an issue in most homes, it can be caused by underlying problems that need to be addressed before your home or foundation is damaged further.
Foundation Repair From Ground Up
Foundation issues caused by soil-related problems are common in Middle Tennessee. If you’re experiencing foundation problems, the experts at Ground Up Foundation Repair can help accurately diagnose the issue and provide you with the best solution. We also specialize in waterproofing, concrete leveling, poly-jacking, and crawl space repair. Contact us today.