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kherr
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join:2000-09-04
Collinsville, IL
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reply to sk1939

Re: [general] Why don't houses in the south have basements

said by sk1939:

said by stevek1949:

Virginia Beach, VA...does the area nickname of TIDEWATER mean anything? When you hit water when digging a posthole, basements are not even an afterthought!

To think people complain that their house always floods knowing that. Kind of like building your house below sea level...

You mean like New Orleans .....

bkjohnson
Premium
join:2002-05-22
Birmingham, AL
reply to IowaCowboy
Counting my childhood, I have lived in 13 houses in the south. Ten had basements, while 3 did not.

sk1939
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Mclean, VA
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reply to kherr
said by kherr:

said by sk1939:

said by stevek1949:

Virginia Beach, VA...does the area nickname of TIDEWATER mean anything? When you hit water when digging a posthole, basements are not even an afterthought!

To think people complain that their house always floods knowing that. Kind of like building your house below sea level...

You mean like New Orleans .....

Yes.


BillRoland
Premium
join:2001-01-21
Ocala, FL
kudos:3
reply to IowaCowboy
Lived in Florida all my life, only seen one house with a basement. I know I wouldn't want one.

GusHerb94

join:2011-11-04
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
reply to UHF
said by UHF:

said by GusHerb94:

Sadly I do see more Romex wiring and Pex pipe for plumbing around here these days though.

Conduit seems to be a Chicago thing. I've lived in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin and all of those houses used Romex.

Yes it is a Chicago thing. Most other places have been using Romex since it first became big in the 40s/50s. Something I'm very glad hasn't caught on here until the past decade! Having metal conduit (aka EMT) made it incredibly easy to re-wire my grandmas 1950 ranch style home, and do a number of changes/add ons around our house over the years. If it were Romex, holes would have had to have been made and wires would've needed fishing through the walls.

Also made our building in the city easy to re-wire for the previous owners, it is all iron pipe (conduit) original to the building from 1915. (the place actually had gas lighting and electricity put in together when it was built)

Single family homes in the suburbs usually used knob and tube wiring until the late 20s or so, then it was all EMT from there.

Expand your moderator at work

sk1939
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Mclean, VA
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reply to GusHerb94

Re: [general] Why don't houses in the south have basements

said by GusHerb94:

said by UHF:

said by GusHerb94:

Sadly I do see more Romex wiring and Pex pipe for plumbing around here these days though.

Conduit seems to be a Chicago thing. I've lived in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin and all of those houses used Romex.

Yes it is a Chicago thing. Most other places have been using Romex since it first became big in the 40s/50s. Something I'm very glad hasn't caught on here until the past decade! Having metal conduit (aka EMT) made it incredibly easy to re-wire my grandmas 1950 ranch style home, and do a number of changes/add ons around our house over the years. If it were Romex, holes would have had to have been made and wires would've needed fishing through the walls.

Also made our building in the city easy to re-wire for the previous owners, it is all iron pipe (conduit) original to the building from 1915. (the place actually had gas lighting and electricity put in together when it was built)

Single family homes in the suburbs usually used knob and tube wiring until the late 20s or so, then it was all EMT from there.

Conduit is expensive, a PITA to work with when installing it, and union fodder, but it is nice once in place.

GusHerb94

join:2011-11-04
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
said by sk1939:

Conduit is expensive, a PITA to work with when installing it, and union fodder, but it is nice once in place.

Yes I agree, it is a pain. If you can do it and do a neat job though, you are an artist. When my parents built their home 23 years ago my dad and my uncle who is an electrical engineer did all the wiring, all EMT. My uncle had very good pipe bending skills, his work is a masterpiece. I can tell what parts my dad did though....it looks, well, not perfect. hahahah.

It was also funny because over the years I have changed out most of the wiring devices and many light fixtures in this house and can also tell which fixtures/devices my dad wired up vs ones that someone else did... because he used the "backstabs" on the devices and also some old school splices, instead of wire nuts hahaha.

AVonGauss
Premium
join:2007-11-01
Boynton Beach, FL
reply to sk1939
said by sk1939:

Conduit is expensive, a PITA to work with when installing it, and union fodder, but it is nice once in place.

Conduit is cheap, paying the person to install it at today's rates, not so cheap. The first time you have to do any major change, imho, it pays for itself though.

GusHerb94

join:2011-11-04
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
said by AVonGauss:

said by sk1939:

Conduit is expensive, a PITA to work with when installing it, and union fodder, but it is nice once in place.

Conduit is cheap, paying the person to install it at today's rates, not so cheap. The first time you have to do any major change, imho, it pays for itself though.

Yeah the stuff is cheap, we've installed a bit of it over the years. Never paid anyone to install it though, have been able to do it ourselves. Not impossible to do if you just calculate and measure right.

We have added 3 circuits to this house and done some 3 way switch additions, and several new outlets and indeed having the EMT made it so convenient. Also gives you freedom to set up circuits how you want, after the fact. with 38 circuits in our house it would look like spaghetti by the panel if it were all Romex hahaha.

Beezel

join:2008-12-15
Las Vegas, NV
My personal preference is conduit. If I were building my own house I would have it.


Coma
Thanks Steve
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join:2001-12-30
NirvanaLand

1 recommendation

reply to Cho Baka
said by Cho Baka:

Lol at all the goats and chicken comments...


Goats and chickens are underrated, sheep are where it's at.

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battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000
reply to IowaCowboy
I live in the south and in my life time I've live in 10 different houses/apartments in 40 years and 5 of them had a basement. My current house does not have a basement because we wanted a one level house.
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battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000
reply to EGeezer
My mom's house is about 50 years old, has a basement and clay soil. There have never been any problems with the living space in the basement since the house was built. The same goes for a house I own that was built in the late 70s that has a basement in north Georgia that has a lot of clay soil.
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nunya
LXI 483
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join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
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I'm not buying into the clay soil argument either. We have clay soil here, and 90% of houses have basements.
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battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000
If someone has trouble because of clay soil it's because of poor construction quality not the clay.
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I do not, have not, and will not work for AT&T/Comcast/Verizon/Charter or similar sized company.

GusHerb94

join:2011-11-04
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
reply to IowaCowboy
We are either all clay, or sand, or both around here. I've never heard of a problem from clay soil. Our house is on 100% sand and there has never been a problem with the foundation or anything after 23 years. My grandma's house is on mostly clay and same thing, after 63 years and two huge floods there is hardly any problems with the foundation.


mityfowl
Premium
join:2000-11-06
Dallas, TX
reply to IowaCowboy
I always thought it was the additional cost of construction because of clay soils here in N. Texas.

Where I grew up in central Illinois they used to dynamite whole blocks before new construction to fracture the limestone. (almost) Everyone there had a basement.

My neighbor and I pulled up the used wire as kids and had lots of fun with an unlimited amount of wire. Probably not real smart.

patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1
reply to nunya
said by nunya:

Other regional quirks that bug me: No attic, no gutters,... outdoor laundry, outdoor appliances (water heater / furnace), and no central air (just to name a few).

Outdoor laundry? indoor designed units outdoors? under eve or 100% open to rain? or you mean air drying of laundry? Outdoor water heater? is that an indoor unit being used outdoors with no smoke stack? no central air means window acs? no attic means flatroof or too small to put anything in it? no gutters? wouldnt that rot the siding and kill the grass under the edge?


nunya
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O Fallon, MO
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The next time you visit the SW part of the country take a look around. You will see people with water heaters, water softeners, furnaces, washers, and dryers on the back / side of their house. Some are 1/2 assed covered with an awning or lean-to. Others don't even bother. I'd say a big chunk of the appliances are not intended to be outdoors.

I have friends in the PNW who have brand new homes which were built with no central air. They don't even have window units. Usually, it's not real hot there, but they sure were bitching up a storm last summer. As soon as a store would get A/C's, they'd be sold out.
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AVonGauss
Premium
join:2007-11-01
Boynton Beach, FL
reply to patcat88
said by patcat88:

no attic means flatroof or too small to put anything in it? no gutters? wouldnt that rot the siding and kill the grass under the edge?

You truncated a few others from his post, but if you add back in stucco you've just described most houses in South Florida. There is no siding to rot (stucco) and the soil, if you can call it that, is mostly sand based and drains very rapidly unless there's a lot of rapid rain. With no gutters, since most houses are on slabs, you run more of a risk of erosion causing long term damage.

Most A/C compressors are mounted on their own slab here in Florida, Las Vegas seems to favor the roof. It could be because Las Vegas is generally more windy, or maybe thats just how they started and kept doing it the same way. I can say most places don't have basements, and it generally is due to the soil and very high water table. The few places that do have basements, generally need to actively maintain the environment.

patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1
said by AVonGauss:

said by patcat88:

no attic means flatroof or too small to put anything in it? no gutters? wouldnt that rot the siding and kill the grass under the edge?

You truncated a few others from his post, but if you add back in stucco you've just described most houses in South Florida. There is no siding to rot (stucco) and the soil, if you can call it that, is mostly sand based and drains very rapidly unless there's a lot of rapid rain.

I didnt have a question over stucco, so I removed it.

scott_urman

join:2002-07-18
San Mateo, CA
reply to IowaCowboy
Nobody seems to have mentioned California yet, here in the Bay Area nobody has basements either (unless the house is built into the hill, then the bottom level is kind of a basement). We keep our washers and dryers inside but the electrical panel is outside.

patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1
said by scott_urman:

Nobody seems to have mentioned California yet, here in the Bay Area nobody has basements either (unless the house is built into the hill, then the bottom level is kind of a basement). We keep our washers and dryers inside but the electrical panel is outside.

So with how popular outdoor panels are in some parts of the USA, so do breakers prematurely trip when they have a southern exposure and turn into an oven in the southern sun?

I know same argument can be made about indoor panels with an AC register blowing at them, or in a cold basement.

sk1939
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Mclean, VA
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said by patcat88:

I know same argument can be made about indoor panels with an AC register blowing at them, or in a cold basement.

Not really, indoor temperatures never get cold enough for them for it to be a problem, unless your in Alaska. Your pipes would be well past frozen at the temperature required for breakers to malfunction.


nunya
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O Fallon, MO
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reply to patcat88
Yes they do. I have a national client with outdoor climate controlled "kiosks". They always have a breaker panel next to them with 20A GFCI breakers. When it gets into the 100's, the units on Southern exposed walls trip regularly. These units are typically pulling down 14-16A maximum when the A/C is running.

I think it's a combination of the high ambient temperature, and the continuous draw.


abguy

@verizon.net
reply to IowaCowboy
Third post in thread by robbin explains it.

In colder climes, the frost line is so low that you're nearly building a basement anyway, because your foundation has to go several feet below grade to avoid frost heave.

So the additional expense isn't that great to build semi-usable space. This is why old basements tend to have low ceilings--they were built mainly as unfinished space just to achieve a footing below the frost line. The (important) bonus is that your water-supply pipes won't freeze in a basement like they would in crawl space. A major concern up north.

None of this is to say that you can't have a basement down south--pay for it and you can have it. It's just not necessary. And of course (as several have noted) there are sometimes specific local conditions which prevent or require basements.


Doctor Olds
I Need A Remedy For What's Ailing Me.
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join:2001-04-19
1970 442 W30
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1 edit
reply to AVonGauss
said by AVonGauss:

I can say most places don't have basements, and it generally is due to the soil and very high water table. The few places that do have basements, generally need to actively maintain the environment.

Generally that's not accurate.

»www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/···20110531
quote:
Nationally, 42 percent of new homes had basements in 1992, according to the Census survey, compared to 30 percent in 2009.
I have lived in a house (North Metro Atlanta) with a dry basement for 25+ Years now and nothing has to be done to or for the basement in order to keep it actively that way. It is passively dry all Year long.
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AVonGauss
Premium
join:2007-11-01
Boynton Beach, FL
said by Doctor Olds:

Generally that's not accurate.

»www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/···20110531

quote:
Nationally, 42 percent of new homes had basements in 1992, according to the Census survey, compared to 30 percent in 2009.
I have lived in a house with a dry basement for 25+ Years now and nothing has to be done to or for the basement in order to keep it actively that way. It is passively drive all Year long.

... in South Florida?


54067323

join:2012-09-25
Tuscaloosa, AL
said by AVonGauss:

... in South Florida?

In South Florida basements are known as swimming pools.