Radon is an odorless and tasteless radioactive gas that all too often goes untested in homes. Elevated levels of radon pose serious health risks and have become responsible for an estimated 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that radon exposure is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers in the United States. To reduce your risk of radon exposure, it’s important to understand the causes of high radon levels as well as effective ways to maintain a safe radon level in your home.
What is Radon?
Radon is produced when uranium breaks down in rock, soil, and water. Though rock and water can emit small amounts of radon, soil is the primary source of elevated radon levels in U.S. homes. If the soil around your home has elevated levels, the radioactive gas can enter your home through cracks or other openings along the foundation, polluting the air you breathe. This gas can also enter your home through water, particularly through ground water sources or well system.
Testing for Radon
The only way to determine if your home has dangerous levels of radon is to administer a radon test. You can either hire a certified, independent contractor to test your home’s level, or you can use a Do-It-Yourself radon test kit. Either method is affordable and easily administered.
Studies show that the average level of radon in U.S. homes is 1.3 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). This is wonderful considering the action level indicated by the EPA rests at 4.0 pCi/L. If your home shows a radon level of 4.0 pCi/L or higher, you could be at risk. Keep in mind that if you smoke and your home has an elevated radon level, you are at an even higher risk for contracting lung cancer and other harmful conditions.
How to Reduce Radon in Your Home
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There are several steps you can take to reduce the radon level in your home, however, be sure to measure the radon levels first and implement a way to get the current radon out of your home. Otherwise, you might trap the radon and prevent it from exiting your home-quite counterproductive!
Seal cracks and/or openings along your home’s foundation to limit radon from entering. Focus on the lower levels of your home, such as the basement or garage. If your home has a crawlspace foundation, cover the ground with a high-density plastic sheet.
Prevent radon from entering your home with a heat recovery ventilator (HRV). An HRV improves a home’s air quality by increasing ventilation and reducing radon levels. HRVs can ventilate your entire home or just a particular area that is susceptible to radon, such as the basement. Be sure to regularly change your HRV’s filter to ensure optimal results.
Pressurization is an effective radon reduction technique designed to increase the pressure in a home’s basement, where radon typically enters from the soil. This increase in pressure prevents radon from entering the home through its lower levels.
For temporary radon reduction, open windows, doors, and lower-level vents to let in outdoor air and increase natural ventilation.
Testing your home for radon is easy and inexpensive, and can drastically reduce your risk of lung cancer. You can perform a radon test yourself or hire a professional. So don’t wait — take the necessary steps to reduce the risk of radon exposure in your home today!
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is harmless in low concentrations. Outdoors, as it seeps out of the soil, the radon safely dissipates into the atmosphere. But as radon leeches into your home through the foundation or crawl space, it has nowhere to go-gradually accumulating over time, these high concentrations of radon gas can be extremely dangerous for your family! Keep your family safe: call the professionals today for an accurate radon test.
Why should you care about radon in your home?
In small doses and during short term exposure, radon is generally harmless. But high concentrations of radon gas can be hazardous to your whole family’s health. The number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the number two cause in smokers, radon is a known carcinogen. And, as the American Lung Association estimates, the average American spends between 60% and 90% of the time inside their home. That’s a ton of exposure to this dangerous gas if you have a radon problem in your home!
How do you know if you have a radon problem?
Because radon is both odorless and invisible, radon testing is the only way to gauge whether or not you have a problem in your home. This non-invasive test involves measuring the concentration of radon in your house’s air. While there are do-it-yourself radon test kits available, we strongly suggest using a professional radon contractor for your test. These experts are able to provide the most precise, accurate radon measurements, ensuring you get the correct information you need to know your family is safe!
What should I do if my radon test comes back positive?
If your radon test indicates a high level of the gas inside your house, you need to address the problem immediately. Long-term exposure to elevated radon concentrations is the most dangerous, so eliminating the issue ASAP can help reduce your risks! The answer is radon mitigation. An affordable and relatively easy solution for this health hazard, radon mitigation systems effectively vent radon from inside your home to the air outside, where the gas harmlessly dissipates.
Contact your radon professional today for complete testing and mitigation. Your family could be at risk-accurate testing will put your mind at ease, so call your radon contractor today!
Matt Gallo is a home improvement specialist and the Internet marketing manager for Prospect Genius, bringing local businesses online local advertising.
If a home’s radon level is 4 picocuries per liter or more, the EPA recommends a radon mitigation system (sometimes called radon remediation) to be installed.
A common method utilized to reduce the radon level is “sub slab depressurization”. In this case, a suction point or points are determined and a pipe is inserted through the concrete slab floor. This pipe is connected to other PVC piping and a fan is positioned on the pipe outside the living area. The fan then draws the radon gas from beneath the home and vents it to the outside. A radon mitigation system can cost between $900-$2500.
Choosing a Mitigation Company
A qualified mitigation company is your best choice for installation of a radon mitigation system.
In many states, these companies or individuals are certified by a state regulatory agency such as the DEP (Department of Environmental Protection). If this is not true in your state, then you should look for a qualified mitigator who is NEHA (National Environmental Health Association) certified. When choosing a radon mitigation company, you should ask for their state or NEHA certification number, if they offer free estimates, and a warranty on the system.
Typically, the mitigation company will visit the home to determine the best configuration of the system and the size of the fan for the type of foundation the house is built on. An estimate of cost for a system can then be determined. After choosing the contractor, plan on 1-2 days for installation.
As always, beware of the lowest bidder. Check for references, job examples, and the amount of time the contractor has been in business.
Life After Radon Mitigation
It is recommended that a radon mitigation system be tested after installation. A test may be performed after the system has been operational for 24 hours or more. A short-term test is usually used for the initial test. In some cases, the estimate given by the contractor may include the retest by a professional company or radon test kits.
A follow-up test is suggested every year to monitor the system’s continued effectiveness.
Arick Amspacker is a certified radon technician and home inspector. Over the years he has taught continuing education courses for Realtors and many first time home buyers seminars, as well as a Community College course on inspections and radon. His website http://www.homeradontest.com sells various types of inexpensive, easy to use radon testing devices, and http://www.radonreporter.com offers a resource for radon information.
These days, radon is a very talked about subject, but there are homeowners and renters who remain unaware of radon and the serious effects it can have on their health.
Radon is an invisible, silent, hazardous, and odorless radioactive gas that silently enters into your home. Radon is a direct result of the decaying of a small amount of uranium found in the earth’s crust. Radon tends to enter through small holes and cracks in the walls and floors of your foundation, or through utility lines openings, drains, sump openings. Radon spreads rather quickly. Once radon enters your basement it can quickly spread to the above levels and living spaces of your home. Once radon enters your home it can put you and your family, as well as your health in danger of poisoning.
Why is radon so dangerous?
Radon is a very dangerous and hazardous gas because it breaks down quickly and instantly spreads throughout the air. Because radon has the tendency to break down at a rapid speed, larger amounts of radon can be dangerous to you and your health. Radon poisoning can occur without your knowledge and within a short amount of time. As quickly as the gas spreads in your home, you and your family are at immediate risk of radon poisoning.
How can radon be found?
Radon in the largest sources is located in the soil around and under homes, but radon can also be in the water you drink, the building materials in your home, or in the air you breathe.
Can radon levels elevate?
Since radon comes directly from the soil under and around your home, any home is placed at risk, especially those that have a dirt crawl space. Basements that only have a dirt crawl space are at risk to being exposed to maximum levels of radon.
Can my home be exposed to radon if I have a concrete basement?
Even if your basement has a concrete floor it is also at risk of hosting maximum levels of radon. How is radon measured?
There are radon detectors that can be installed and monitored by professionals. By having the radon in your home under a constant careful eye allows the levels of radon to be continuously measured. This will also protect you and your family from radon poisoning exposure.
If you are on a tight budget, here are inexpensive to moderately priced devices and special detection equipment on the market. These devices and special detection equipment is available in most hardware stores and home building centers around the country.
These devices and special detection equipment is placed in your home for several days. After several days, the detection system is removed and sent to a processing center or lab where tests are performed to determine if radon is in your home, if you and your family have been exposed, as well as the level of radon. Once all the tests have been processed, a report will be sent to you to confirm if you do or do not have radon in your home.
Can radon put me and my family at risk of serious health issues?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, over 20,000 people die in the United States each year due to from radon related lung cancer. Men and women who smoke and have been exposed to the radioactive gas have a greater chance of developing lung cancer than those who do not smoke or use tobacco based products.
Studies have also shown, non-tobacco users and young children have a much higher chance of developing lung cancer when they have been exposed to the radioactive gas than those who have not been exposed, but young children tend to be more at risk of being exposed.
What is radon poisoning?
Since radon is the source of a decaying process, tiny radioactive particles are slowly and silently released into the air. Radon poisoning occurs when you inhale large mounts of high levels of the radioactive gas into your lungs. By breathing radon into your lungs it can cause moderate to severe damage to the lungs, resulting in lung cancer.
Why does radon poisoning occur?
Radon poisoning has a tendency to occur when crawl spaces, basements or mines are poorly encapsulated.
What are the signs of radon poisoning?
The Environmental Protection Agency has spent endless hours and money researching the symptoms and effects of this radioactive gas. There are indications to look for to tell if you and our family have been exposed to radon poisoning. Those symptoms are a persistent dry cough, hoarseness, respiratory infections, and respiratory issues.
What is the best way to confirm if I have been exposed to radon?
If you believe you or your family have been exposed to radon or if you are experiencing symptoms that you believe are from radon poisoning, it is best to seek medical attention. A physician will give you a complete check up, and run the appropriate tests to determine if you have been exposed to the radioactive gas, and what treatment will suit your specific needs.
How can I protect myself and my family from radon poisoning?
The United States Surgeon General’s office recommends all homeowners and landlords have their homes and rental properties tested for radon.
If you believe you and your family may have been exposed to radon it is best to contact a professional who can evaluate and properly test your home for radon. This will assure you and your family are safe from this radioactive gas.
Should you test your home for radon gas? The only answer is YES! Why? Because radon exposure is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, and reducing your risk is easy.
You cannot see, smell, or taste radon. However, it still may be a problem in your home. The only way to know for sure if you have a problem is if you run a simple radon test in your home. Most radon test kits are performed over a 48 hour time span, and usually up to a week for the results to come back from the lab. There are quicker ways to test your home, such as using and electronic testing device. These methods are more expensive, and provide the same results as the 48 hour canisters do. If you have the extra time it’s advisable to use the simple canister test kits. You can these at your local hardware store.
If you discover that your home does have radon levels of 4 pCi/L (pico curries per liter) or higher, you’ll probably want to take action and have some type of radon remediation done in your home. This sounds more involved than it is, but rest assured you can have this done in one afternoon with results guaranteed below 4pCi/L. This will give you the radiation protection you and your family deserve.
Radon Remediation can be done in a number of different ways. It does depend on the design of your home, the square footage, whether you have drain tile and or a sump pit, or a crawl space etc… These things are commonly dealt with and a qualified radon mitigation technician will be able to tell you exactly what he will need to do to your home to get the lowest radon level possible for your home.
MYTH #1. My home is new so I don’t have a radon problem.
Fact: This is simply not true. New homes can have just as much radon inside as an older home and sometimes even more depending on how tight the house is built.
MYTH #2. My neighbor doesn’t have high radon levels so my house won’t either.
Fact: This is also not true. Your home could have twice as much radon as your neighbors home. This depends on if your house has a crawl space how tight it is, cracks in the floor, open sump lids etc…
MYTH #3. Radon isn’t really harmful, I’ve lived here for 25 years and don’t have any health problems.
Fact: The truth is that radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Only people that smoke have a higher risk of getting lung cancer. You will reduce the risk of lung cancer when you reduce the radon levels, even if you have lived with an elevated radon level for a long time.
As a home-owner there are many things you can do prior to radon testing that can greatly reduce the levels. If you do these things prior to your radon test, it’s possible you may reduce the levels lower than 4pCi/L. This would put you in the safety zone and give you the option of not having an active system installed.
On the other hand, If you’re handy you could easily install a radon mitigation system in your home yourself with simple guided instructions.
If you’re interested in a step by step guide to install your own radon reduction system, please see the information below.
This guide has been put together from over 10 years of Radon Mitigation Installations.
What should you do if you’ve discovered that you have radon gas in your home. As a licensed radon mitigation technician I can tell you the first thing not to do is panic. There’s no need to be alarmed because this problem can be corrected quick and easy for minimal dollars, considering what an average radon installation would cost from a radon company. There are a few things that you can do immediately to help instantly lower your radon levels.
Before you hire a radon mitigation company to take action with their radon remediation process, consider the things you can do yourself first. You’re guaranteed to save hundreds of dollars if you can lower the levels below 4pCi/L yourself. Below 4pCi/L is considered safe by the EPA. Many times you can get the levels lower that 4pCi/L. This is possible to achieve without installing an active radon mitigation system, depending on how high the levels are, and a few other variables as well.
Let’s take a look at some things that can be done immediately:
Seal your crawl space with 6mil plastic – This is usually a huge source for radon entry into your home, and by putting a barrier down to seal the ground you’ll suppress the gas and achieve lower radon levels.
Seal your sump pit – This is another area of massive radon entry due to the simple fact that it a direct hole into the ground and has perimeter drain tile looping around your entire basement ending inside your sump pit. This allows radon to freely float through the drain tile and into your basement through your sump pit.
Seal all floor cracks – When you have cracks in your concrete floor slab, it allows a path of least resistance to occur. Radon gas can and will easily flow through these cracks. You should seal your expansion joints as well. These are the cuts in the floor that came from the builder. These can also be a source over time.
Seal the floor to wall seam – Some homes will have a gap between the floor to wall seam. This can be another source of radon entry. Even if it appears that there’s no gap, it’s still a good idea to seal it anyway because radon can and will still come through.
Seal any plumbing rough in – Many times a plumbing rough in is cut into the floor for the homeowner to utilize when they install a bathroom or shower etc… The cut is usually all the way through the slab and filled in with pea gravel. This will also nee a temporary seal on it until you use it.
Seal Penetrating floor Pipes – Seal around all penetrating floor pipes. many time they have open nooks and cranny that easily allow radon gas to penetrate.
There are more things that can be done yourself, but if you start with these things you’ll have a huge jump-start on reducing the radon levels. You’ll need to perform a post radon test in your home after you perform these passive radon reduction techniques. Believe me, you’ll save hundreds and hundreds of dollars if you can get the levels down yourself, without hiring a radon mitigation company.
If you’re interested in learning step by step, click below… Learn how to install your own radon mitigation system, step by step in one afternoon. Save money and time with results. Being a licensed radon mitigation technician, I provide you with the exact installation instructions that I use daily in my work. Get Your FREE Video explaining Garage Attic Installations… Learn exactly how to install a radon system in your home today!
Radon is a radioactive gas released from the normal decay of uranium in rocks and soil. It is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas. Radon Gas seeps up through the ground and spreads in every direction as it enters the atmosphere. Radon can be dissolved in water and released into the atmosphere when the water is used. Fortunately, Radon gas is minimal outdoors. However, in areas without adequate ventilation, such as crawlspaces and basements, radon can accumulate to levels that substantially increase the risk of lung cancer.
How can you be exposed to radon?
Radon is a part of the air you breathe. Low levels of radon in the air that you breathe are normal. If you breathe higher levels of radon you could be at risk of developing lung cancer.
Radon enters your home through cracks in floors, walls, or foundations, and collects indoors. Building materials such as granite or water from wells can increase radon levels in your home. It can also be released from building materials, or from water obtained from wells that contain radon. If your home is well insulated and tightly constructed you could have higher levels of radon. In addition, if your home is built on uranium rich soil you could have higher levels of radon. Radon levels are typically higher in basements and first floors..
How may radon cause you to get cancer?
Radon like uranium decays giving off tiny radioactive particles. Damage to the cells that lines your lungs can occur when tiny radioactive particles are inhaled. If you breathe radon that may be trapped in your home for a long enough time you may develop lung cancer. Thus far, lung cancer is the only form of cancer caused by radon and it maybe the second leading cause of lung cancer in this country.
Will you be one of many people to develop lung cancer because of radon exposure?
We certainly hope not! According to the cancer.gov the most common cause of lung cancer is caused by smoking. Again radon appears to be the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. It is estimated that 15,000 to 20,000 deaths from lung cancer per year are related to radon according to cancer.gov.
The majority of deaths is related to a combination of both cigarette smoking and radon gas. This number is greater than those that are exposed to just higher levels of radon that don’t smoke. There fore, smoking increases your risk of developing lung cancer when exposed to elevated radon levels.
How did scientists figure out the role radon plays in causing you lung cancer?
It became notable because underground miners died at substantially higher rates than other groups from lung cancer. Further studies seem to confirm that animals that are exposed to radon develop higher rates of tumor growth.
What was learned about lung cancer and radon gas?
There is a general consensus that radon causes cancer in humans. Recent research of people with lung cancer shows more people are ill from homes that higher levels of radon. It is safely concluded, you are more at risk of getting lung cancer if your home has higher levels of radon.
822 people in Georgia may die of cancer on average each year according to an article in the AJC dated Feb. 26th 2010. The article later stated, “The EPA has drawn a red splash on its Georgia radon map, showing that homes, schools and businesses in the metro area’s four core counties – DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett and Cobb – are at highest risk for elevated radon levels.”
There have been studies conducted all over the world about people perhaps just like you having higher radon levels in their home and getting lung cancer. There are inconsistencies between studies. Partly due to small sizes of some studies, different levels of radon in homes and determining exposure levels over time.
Studies here in the United States combined with our Canadian neighbors gives our researchers’ better analysis. As a result, thousands of people were analyzed. It was determined to be a slight increase in the risk of getting lung cancer due to exposure to household radon. The studies on underground miners and household radon levels were consistent.
How can you know if your home has elevated level of radon?
You must test your home to determine if it has higher levels of radon. Definitely, test a home for radon before you buy. There are many factors like soil conditions, how radon enters the house and other factors that make each house unique. Just because your neighbor’s home tested fine does not mean your home does not have higher levels of radon. Environmental factors such as precipitation, pressure and other factors can very radon levels from month to month and day to day. There are short term and long term kits available.
We recommend you use a short term kit before buying your next home for a general idea. A long term kit is a better choice in determining your unique risk factor. Short term kits generally run between 2 and 4 days. Long term kits on the other hand runs over 90 days. Contacting a local Home Inspector that test for radon can help you in determining what’s best for your unique situation.
It is recommended by the EPA that any radon levels above 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) action should be taken. Using the EPA estimates, and a formula of the total number of homes by the average number of homes with elevated radon, there are over 12,000 homes in Atlanta alone that has elevated radon. There maybe over 215,000 homes in Georgia that could have elevated radon levels. An estimated 5,000 deaths per year can be eliminated by reducing radon levels in homes that exceed the EPA’s action level of 4.0.
Contact a home inspector today and have your home tested for radon. Radon mitigation can be performed. Radon mitigation maybe costly; averaging around $800.00 to $2,500.00 according to cancer.gov, that’s an average cost of $1,200.00. The cost of dying by cancer is your other alternative.
Accurate Home Inspections provides answers to health and safety. They have articles and videos from sources like the EPA, CDC and more. Protecting your health should be your number one priority. Learn More About Radon From Accurate Home Inspections
Instances of radon gas in homes are serious health and safety issues. Professional radon contractors can accurately detect radon levels in your home and, if they find a problem, can implement a radon mitigation solution appropriate to the situation.
Radon is a heavy gas created by the breakdown of uranium and is present in homes throughout the United States. Most of us have heard about radon gas and the danger it poses, but few people take appropriate steps to accurately evaluate or address the issue. This is largely because radon is not visible or tangible-it’s easy to ignore that there might be a problem. Nonetheless, radon is a serious danger, especially in parts of the country designated as “red zones” by the EPA. The only way to truly know if radon is an issue in your home is to employ a professional to thoroughly test the property. If they do find elevated radon levels, these experts will be able to work with you to design a radon mitigation system specifically for your home, dissipating the gas and making your home safe in the long term.
The presence of radon gas in your home should be serious safety concern. Radon usually seeps into buildings through the ground. A low level of radon is harmless, but if the radon gets trapped inside, the level becomes more concentrated and can contribute to the development of lung cancer, as well as cause harm to childrens’ developing lungs. There are a number of DIY radon detection kits on the market, but these products can be difficult to use effectively and are unlikely to provide complete detection service. If you are serious about doing radon testing, you should locate a radon contractor in your area. These professionals have the tools, experience, and expertise to evaluate your entire home with appropriate detection equipment. Not only will they be able to find out if radon is an issue, but they will also be able to accurately tell you in what concentration it is present.
If you find out that your home does contain dangerous levels of radon, your local radon contractors will also be able to safely and effectively address the problem. Each home and each radon occurrence is different, so it is essential that your radon mitigation plan is tailored to your specific situation. With hands-on knowledge and experience at their disposal, radon experts will be able to design a radon abatement program that targets the exact problem present in your home. The primary component of most radon mitigation systems involves locating the entry point for the radon (often at the basement level). The radon contractors then create a seal between the ground and your home and install a pump to vent the radon out into the atmosphere where it can dissipate. Radon experts will be able to perform such services completely and effectively, insuring long-term protection for you and your family.
Nothing is worse than knowing that there is a potential danger in your home, like radon gas, that you can’t see and can’t fix. Call on professional radon contractors to ease this worry. They will be able to perform the necessary radon test to find out if radon levels are dangerous in your house. If there is a problem, they’ll be able to eradicate it and make your home a safe haven once again.
Sub-slab depressurization or sub-slab suction is probably the most reliable and effective radon mitigation technique. It involves an insertion of a pipe (usually 4 inches in diameter) through the floor slab into the soil or gravel under the foundation. This can be done either from inside the house, or inserted under the slab from the outside. As a side note, this technique is used for houses with a basement or slab-on-grade foundation. If your house has a crawl space, a different technique is used.
Just to give you a quick idea of what’s involved, you’ll need to create a hole (aka suction point) in your slab (approx 4 inches in diameter), remove as much soil and/or gravel from under the foundation as possible, put in place a pipe running out from this suction point to a suitable location, where a special exhaust fan will generate vacuum pressure that will draw radon out from underneath the slab to the outside, thus preventing the radon gas from entering your home. Right, you may say, and I know, because that’s what I said when I first read about this a few years back. Believe me, if you do this right, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t, you’ll see a remarkable decrease in your radon levels, which will often be accompanied by a fresher indoor air quality as well (this is one positive side effect of installing this system).
Now, there are different ways of going about this, but I am going to go through one example … in my opinion probably the most likely solution for the majority of home owners (remember, this is not for a house with a crawl space)
My best advice for you is to pick the spot most convenient to run the pipe out of the basement and start there with a hole. I do think that a suction point near the footer tends to produce better results because there is often more settling there, but really that is not of the greatest importance. You should definitely determine where the pipe will have to exit the basement before you start drilling holes in your floor. Also make sure you are aware of potential drain and water pipes, and possible electrical conduits or in-floor heating.
I am going to assume that if you plan on doing this yourself, you don’t need me to tell you how to make a hole in your slab. Well anyway, one way is to drill a series of holes and then chisel and hammer out the cement chunk. The hole should be slightly larger than the 4” pipe you’ll be using.
Once you have the hole made, it’s time to dig. This is probably the worst part of the job, and it could be relatively easy or very hard, depending on what lies underneath. For best results try removing as much as possible. You are trying to create a sort of a vacuum chamber under the slab that will draw in radon and moisture from underneath the entire foundation, so this can make or break your mitigation system. No matter what you have underneath the slab, be it sand, gravel, soil, or any combination of these, try to get 20-30 gallons out, and more if possible, specially for tight soils. REMEMBER this will be the difference between a mitigation system that works and one that doesn’t.
When we did our house, I spent hours scraping away buckets of dirt and gravel till my forearms were bruised. I managed to get about 30 gallons out, and let me tell you, it was worth it.
RUNNING THE PIPES
If you have an attached garage, I would recommend going from the basement, into the garage, and then to the attic, as this is the most feasible solution. Your second choice is to go through the floor above, perhaps through a closet or some other point where the pipe is either not visible or will be easily concealed, and then into the attic where your suction fan would be. The third choice is taking the pipe outside of your house. Personally, I think an outside system should be avoided all together unless there aren’t any other options. Even if it takes a little more effort on your part, try and stick to the indoors for your piping and fan system. Colder climates especially will result in a lot of condensation that can reduce the life expectancy of your radon exhaust fan. You can purchase a condensation bypass kit if you mount your fan outside to prevent water and condensation from ruining your motor.
Back to work… Now that you have your suction point ready, you can use a coupler and secure it using a foam backer (but really you can also use whatever you see fit). Once all your pipes are in place and secure you should caulk this joint for an airtight seal. For the piping, you can use any type of good PVC piping that will fit into whatever you’re using, and make sure that you measure well before you glue your PVC to your elbows and joints. In our home we used a 4 inch sewer pipe and glueless joints/elbows (they have a double rubber seal on the inside to form a water and air proof seal, and the advantage is that you can separate the pipes if you mess up. The only downside is that they are a few bucks more, and really hard to put on, or take off for that matter).
Contrary to what you might be thinking, you cannot just use any ordinary fan for this job. If you are going to invest your time and energy into this, you have to do things right, and you’ll need a special fan that is capable of creating vacuum pressure under the slab without the fan burning out, that can withstand the elements, cold, and moisture, and that will do the job quietly and efficiently.
For your safety, you exhaust Fan has to be located outside of your home’s living space. This leaves you with an option to put your fan in the garage, the attic, or outside. Furthermore, the pipe leading from your fan to the outside must terminate above the plane of the roof, and must be no closer than 10 feet horizontally from windows that open. This is to minimize the possibility of radon re-entering your home.
The size and price of your fan will vary and depends on the square footage of your foundation. The type of soil also plays a role in the fan decision, as you might need a more powerful fan for tighter soils.
As an example if your foundation is anywhere up to 1200 Square feet and your sub-soil is a gravel mixture, an RP145 by RadonAway should be quite sufficient. Most retailers will have a chart or table of different fans, ranging from 3” to 8” duct systems, the latter being used for large projects, such as a school.
Finally no matter where you end up placing your fan, you will need to bring it power. For this, you might need to call an electrician, or not, depending on whether you have a plug-in nearby. Luckily, my father is an electrician, and so we have our fan wired in directly to a switch for ease of maintenance. As you might have guessed we have the RP145 fan installed in the attic above our garage, and it is virtually silent.
As a side note, each fan comes with a suggested maximum operating pressure. This basically informs you how well your entire mitigation system is performing, how much pressure is being created by the fan, and whether you have sufficient airflow under the slab. To keep an eye on your system and to see that it is functioning nominally, I strongly suggest getting something like this Installation Kit for RadonAway System . It includes a manometer which basically tells you what pressure your system is holding. It’s inexpensive, easy to install, and well worth it. These kits also include couplings, which are intended to tie in your fan to the PVC piping(shown in the picture with the RP145 Fan) and I’d recommend using these, as they allow not only for a perfect tight fit with your piping, but also easy future fan replacement or maintenance.
Our radon levels in the basement were always hovering at around 25 and up to 31 pci/L, and around 20 pci/L on the main floor, during the cold winter months. Summers were ranging from 8 to 12 pci/L. After we installed the subslab mitigation system our levels are averaging 1.4 during the coldest months, and 0.4 to 0.8 pci/L in the summer. The picture to the right is from our own Safety Siren Pro 3 Radon Detector. Click on it to see a larger version. It was taken on January 31, 2010. We have been using it for over 2 years now, and had several of our neighbours borrow it for some time as well. If you find that you have a radon problem, you are probably better off getting one of these instead of the charcoal or alpha track test kits that need to be sent in to a lab. These are not cheap, they go for US $130.00, but they are very accurate and convenient to use.
If you are interested in prices or would like to purchase one, here are a couple of suppliers in the States. They also provide a lot of additional information about their products.
Radon Zone – These guys are offering free shipping, unfortunately they only ship to the States (sorry Canadian customers). They supply other, short and long term, radon test kits, as well as the Safety Siren Pro 3.
National Safety Products – These guys dont offer free shipping but they do ship to Canada, and they do offer discounts if you plan on purchasing more than one item. They also supply other radon products.
I wish you all the best and hope you get those radon levels down just like we did.
Pressurization uses a fan to blow air into the basement or living area from either upstairs or outdoors. The goal here is to create enough pressure (positive pressure) at the lowest level indoors, such as in a basement, to prevent radon from entering the house. The effectiveness of this technique can be limited by house construction and climate. In order to maintain enough pressure to keep radon out, the doors and windows at the lowest level must not be left opened, except for normal entry and exit. Blowing air out of the basement to reduce radon levels, although seemingly a good idea, might actually increase the flow of radon into your home. As you blow air out, a vacuum effect is created (negative pressure) which will cause greater influx of radon into your basement from the surrounding soil.
Another form of ventilation is natural ventilation, which is achieved simply by opening doors and windows at the lower levels of your home. Natural ventilation mixes outdoor air with the radon contaminated indoor air, thus reducing overall radon levels.
There are some obvious drawbacks to both of the above techniques. Once you close your windows and doors, or turn off your fan that blows air into your basement, radon concentrations most often return to previous values within about 12 hours. Furthermore, as a result of more outdoor air being introduced into the home, you might see moisture intrusions, loss of conditioned air, and energy penalties, particularly during the winter months.
Consequently, both of these techniques are regarded as only temporary approaches to radon reduction and should only be considered after the other, more-common techniques (such as sub-floor mitigation) have not sufficiently reduced radon levels.
Another form of mechanical ventilation can be accomplished by installing a heat recovery ventilator (HRV), sometimes referred to as air-to-air heat exchanger. HRVs ventilate by introducing outdoor air while using the heated or cooled air being exhausted to warm or cool the incoming air. The advantage of an HRV system over other ventilation techniques is that besides supplying balanced ventilation, a HRV will reduce the energy penalty associated with providing more ventilation to a home. As an added benefit, an HRV can improve air quality in houses that have other indoor pollutants.