Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that is a decay product of uranium that naturally occurs in soil and rock. The 2nd leading cause of lung cancer, Radon causes 15,000 to 21,000 deaths in the United States annually and has been found and identified in every state. Once produced, radon moves through the ground to the air above while portion remains in the earth and dissolves in underground water. It is estimated that over 6% of every home in the United States has elevated levels of radon that may need remediation. The Environmental Protection Agency and many state governments recommends Radon testing. The EPA states that any Radon exposure carries some risk. Radon levels are measured in picocuries. A picocurie (pCi) is a measure of the rate of radioactive decay of Radon. Remediation is suggested if the levels average 4 picocuries per liter or higher ( pCi/L) Unless Radon is tested for, there is no way of knowing how much Radon is present. Some states require radon testing for real estate transactions including property transfer or for mortgage approval on a planned property purchase. If Radon levels are not within an acceptable range within a planned purchase, ventilation remediation may be required before the sale will go through.
Only smoking causes more cases of lung cancer than does Radon exposure. If you smoke and are exposed to higher than normal Radon levels your risk of lung cancer is elevated. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a Radon risk comparison chart available for those who smoke and who have never smoked. The problem is that Radon gas decays into radioactive particles that can become trapped in your lungs. Over the course of a lifetime, lung tissue may become damaged. Breathing of Radon does not cause any short-term bad health effects such as fever, headaches or shortness of breath and everyone that is exposed to high radon levels will not develop lung cancer, but the potential risk is higher than usual. Radon in drinking water also poses some risk, but research shows those risks are much lower than those risks from breathing radon in the air.
Most indoor Radon comes into a building from the soil or rock beneath it. The Radon becomes trapped under a building and builds up pressure. The built up pressure forces the gases through cracks and other openings in a building and become concentrated. Because Radon levels are not predictable, it is wise to purchase an inexpensive Radon test to determine if levels are unacceptable in a home or building.
What is the Radon testing procedure?
Radon testing is inexpensive and easy. To perform a radon test simply follow the instructions provided and return the radon sampling bag in the self-addressed envelope. All that is required to collect the sample is to open the package and place the sampler in the area to be tested. The test start date and time and the completion date and time are recorded on the supplied data card that is returned with the collected sample. The sampler should be exposed to the environment in the area being tested for 2 days. The cost of the kit includes a laboratory analysis fee and the detailed report, which will be sent to you.
The Report Includes The Information On: Report Date, EPA ID Number, State ID #, Lab ID #, Kit ID #, Radon Level Measured (pCi/L), Test Location, Test Type, Start and Stop Date and Time, Test Method, Radon Health Risk, Explanation of results, Recommended next steps required based on radon level.
Be Proactive. Don’t wait until someone falls ill, or you are contemplating selling your home to test the levels of Radon in your residence. Stay healthy, Be Safe.
The author is the owner and founder of Be Safe Plus LLC, an e-commerce website that specializes in Safety, Wellness, Sports Therapy and Exercise products and solutions including Radon testing kits.
Many homeowners have questions about radon and the serious effects it can have on you, your family and even your home. But, the only way you’d ever even worry about radon is by learning about it and seeking professional assistance. Radon is an invisible, odorless, hazardous and natural occurring gas that is a result from uranium decay in the earth’s crust.
In the United States, radon is the leading cause of cancer found amongst non-smokers. Radon is dangerous because it quickly breaks down and scatters into the air. Large and dangerous amounts of radon can and will accumulate inside your home, within a short amount of time, without your knowledge or permission. As a result, radon exposure can cause lung cancer. Radon induced lung cancer kills 21,000 people each year. Let’s learn more about this silent killer so that we’re not growing anxious without hope. There is hope.
By far the largest source of radon is located around and under your home in the soil, but this deadly gas can also present in the air, building materials, and public and private water supplies.
How is Radon Measured?
Since radon is invisible and odorless it can only be detected and measured using radon specific detection equipment and devices. Radon detectors are somewhat common in the United States and Canada and can be purchased at most hardware stores and home building centers.
Most radon detectors are generally placed in a home for several days, and then sent to a lab where your home’s radon levels will be analyzed and determined. There are more expensive models of radon detectors on the market that can be installed in your home by a professional. Whether a short term test that remains in the home for a few days, or a long term test that remains in the home for over 90 days. Whichever you prefer!
Does My Home Have Elevated Radon Levels?
Radon tends to move through the soil, so any homeowner with a dirt crawl space beneath their home, may be exposed to the high levels of radon. However, homes with concrete foundations can also have high levels of radon. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends an action level of 4.0 picocuries per liter (pCi/L).
This radioactive gas can enter a home through the smallest crack in the walls and floor of your home’s foundation, through utility lines, and even drains and sump openings. Radon is not just limited to the basement or crawl space of your home. It quickly travels upstairs into your main living space.
What Are The Health Effects of Radon Exposure?
According to the EPA, smokers who have been exposed to radon have a greater chance of developing lung cancer. However, radon induced lung cancer also kills many people who have never smoked or been hugely affected by second hand smoke, everyone is at risk. Unfortunately, studies have also shown that children are at a higher health risk of developing health effects due to radon exposure, in comparison to adults.
What Are the Symptoms of Radon Poisoning?
Studies show that radon causes some of the highest numbers of lung cancer cases throughout the United States. A persistent cough, respiratory difficulties, hoarseness, breathing difficulties, and respiratory infections are all common indications of radon gas poisoning.
Recognizing Radon Poisoning
Radon poisoning typically occurs where there are high levels of radon gas. This usually occurs when a person is constantly exposed to poorly ventilated crawl spaces, mines or basements.
Radon originates through a decaying process that releases tiny radioactive particles, and when inhaled can begin to deplete lung tissue resulting in lung cancer.
How Do I Protect My Family Against Radon Poisoning?
The United States Surgeon General office recommends that homeowners periodically test their homes for radon in order to stay on top of the conditions. Radon levels can change on a daily basis because of changes in soil composition, weather, encapsulation, and more. Have your home tested and mitigated. If you have any suspicions or concerns about radon induced lung cancer, be sure to get tested for lung cancer.
Contact Tar Heel Basement Systems today to schedule radon testing and radon mitigation in Winston-Salem NC and all surrounding areas. They will design a unique radon mitigation system and provide maintenance visits to verify the system is working and your home’s radon levels are remaining low.
Samantha Walton currently works as a web content writer for home improvement sites. She’s a college graduate with a B.A. in communication and a concentration in public relations. She’s aspiring to one day further her education with a seminary degree. Her experience ranges from internships in marketing and public relations, content writing for local television broadcasts, to writing and editing newsletters, fliers, and other content for her local church.
Radon gas is an invisible, odorless gas emitted by uranium decaying underground. Harmless outdoors, radon can seep into your home through the ground and accumulate: at high concentrations, this radiation can be extremely dangerous. In fact, radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and the second leading cause in smokers. Protect your home and family from this unseen menace with radon testing and, if necessary, radon mitigation.
Radon testing is an easy, straightforward process. A charcoal canister is used to collect radon gas from your home, usually over the course of approximately 48 hours. During the testing period, it’s important to keep all doors and windows closed for the most precise readings. At the conclusion of the testing period, the canister is sent to a lab to measure the accumulated radon concentration. Simple as that. Do-it-yourself kits are readily available, although you may want to consider having a professional administer your test for optimal accuracy. Because your test results will be the basis of future action (either none because levels appear safe or an expensive radon mitigation) it’s important to have the best readings possible. That way you’ll be able to make an informed decision about what the next steps should be.
If your test does report unsafe levels of radon, you need to address the problem ASAP. You’ll need to contact your local specialist: They will be able to design and install the right radon reduction system for your home. Depending on the construction of your home, there are several different options. The most common are sub-slab depressurization (for homes with basements) and sub-membrane depressurization (for homes with crawlspaces).
Sub-slab depressurization entails drilling a small hole in the floor of the foundation slab and excavating a slight cavity below. Then, a pump is connected to the hole and the radon (and any other organic contaminants) is vacuumed out of the ground before it has a chance to leak into your home. These gases are vented outside, where the radon can disperse harmlessly. Sub-membrane depressurization is similar to sub-slab depressurization, but because there is no slab, a membrane is installed over the floor of the crawlspace to trap the radon. The gas is extracted in a similar fashion and vented outside.
Because radon mitigation is not a one-size-fits-all process, this really is not a job for DIYers; from targeting the entry point to creating a complete seal, professionals have the knowledge, expertise, and skill to ensure your family will be safe.
Radon Resistant New Construction
If you live in an area with a known radon problem and are building a new home, you may want to consider radon resistant construction. These preemptive measures prevent the radon from ever entering your home, stopping the problem before it begins! The techniques are the same as for mitigation, but because your home is not being retrofitted the system can be more efficient as well as unobtrusive. For example, vent stacks are installed internally as the building is constructed, hiding this potential eyesore while still completely venting any radon gas. Talk to your contractor about whether radon resistant new construction is needed for your house.
Just like your home isn’t safe without working smoke detectors, if you haven’t tested for radon you’re taking a risk! Let professional radon contractors bring you safety and peace of mind with complete radon testing and mitigation. If you’re looking for a trustworthy technician in your area, organizations like the American Association of Radon Specialists and Technologists (AARST) and the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) can help you find a qualified professional.
Matt Gallo is a home improvement specialist and the Internet marketing manager for Prospect Genius, a leading provider of online, local advertising solutions.
If your home tests positive for radon gas, radon mitigation is critical to removing the gas and protecting the health of your family. Radon gas is a natural phenomenon and common around the country, but it can cause lung cancer if it remains trapped in a living space. Radon mitigation is the process needed to vent radon gas from the home, before the radon has a chance to build up to harmful levels.
Home construction techniques of the last 20 years have led to tighter, more energy-efficient homes. Unfortunately, these tighter homes also have the ability to hold more radon gas indoors. Therefore, it’s important to find out if you have radon in your home and if so, install a radon mitigation system to have it safely removed.
What is Radon?
Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that occurs naturally when radium decays in the soil. From there, the gas can move up through the ground and into your home via cracks and holes in its foundation, collecting in enclosed spaces like basements or ground-floor living areas. Without radon testing and proper radon mitigation, radon exposure is extremely dangerous, and the EPA estimates radon gas to be the number-one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and second leading cause of lung cancer overall.
The good news is that radon testing and radon mitigation are possible to accomplish without a lot of expense. A properly designed and installed system can bring down very high levels of radon gas just as soon as the system is turned on for the very first time.
There are simple, affordable radon testing methods available for your home that will determine whether radon mitigation is necessary. Basic radon testing involves a charcoal adsorption canister, which is placed in the basement or lowest living area of your home for two to seven days. This canister adsorbs the radon gas and is sent to a radon lab for processing, with the results mailed back to you. A do-it-yourself test kit costs around $15 or you can have the radon test performed by a pro for about $100. Either way, plan on doing the test at a time when your whole home will remain closed except for standard exits and entries, as air circulation and escape will impact the accuracy of your test results.
Once the radon testing period is over and the adsorption canister sent to a lab for evaluation, the lab’s report will dictate the actual radon gas level found in your home. The results are reported in picoCuries per liter of air (pCi/L), and if your result is 4 pCi/L or above, you’ll need to have a radon mitigation system installed.
Radon Mitigation Systems
A soil suction system is the most common solution. This type of system involves installation of a vent pipe under the lowest level floor (typically a concrete basement floor). Then a specially designed fan works to pull the radon gas from the soil beneath the house and vent it safely to the outside, usually above the roof where it can’t reenter the structure. Sealing cracks in your homes foundation will make the system even more efficient. For best results, radon mitigation should be done only by a certified contractor who is insured and licensed, where required, by your county or state health department.
Most importantly, after the system is installed, it’s very important to get a second radon gas test done. Only by testing after the system is installed, can you be sure the system was properly designed and installed.
For more information on radon mitigation and health threats associated with radon gas, visit the EPA. For system images, visit the University of Illinois Extension web site on radon mitigation.
Tom Kraeutler is the Host, Founder and Chief Home Improvement Evangelist of The Money Pit. He is a hands-on home improvement broadcast journalist and the kind of guy homeowners want to call at midnight when their basement floods. He first earned his home improvement stripes as a professional home inspector, amassing over 20 years experience learning how houses are put together, and how they fall apart!
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
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.
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.