This response to the previous post came from Princeton Air’s Scott Needham, explaining the “stack effect” a physical principal that is counter-intuitive and may explain why cutting your heating bill must involve more than just replacing drafty windows. Says Needham:
To understand stack effect (or buoyancy) you must understand how a fireplace or chimney works. The concept is actually pretty simple, when a fire is lit in the fireplace it starts to burn. As the fire buns it creates heat and this heat rises up the chimney into the air. As the heat rises it takes the concentrated smoke filled air with it, which then gets replaced by fresh oxygen rich air that makes the fire burn more intensely, creating higher heat, and feeds the fire more and more oxygen rich air.
This same concept applies to your home. In the winter, your home is heated by your heating system. The natural tendencies of the heated air are to rise to the highest level of your home. If your basement is heated, and you live in a two story home, that heat is striving to reach the top floor, attic, and ultimately leave your home thought the roof, soffit .and attic venting. This rising heated air has to be replaced from somewhere.
So what happens is that your basement is actually place into a state of slight vacuum. This slight vacuum wants to naturally become equalized and this is done by finding weaknesses in your basement to allow air in. These places are cracks, holes and joints of in your basement floor. Some of these are difficult to see with the naked eye. If you could create a perfect seal in your basement then cold dry winter air & possibly radon would not be a problem for you!