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Radon Gas Mitigation Techniques

 

Radon mitigation fans & supplies at wholesale prices.Click here

Sub-Slab Radon System - Interior Route
Note that 1 fan in the attic is handling 2 pickup points from the basement slab.


Sub-Slab Radon System - Garage Route
This method may help to avoid cutting holes in your drywall inside the house.


Sub-Slab Radon System - Exterior Route
In colder climates, we recommend installing a Fan Guard, Condensation Trap.

Download Consumers Guide to Radon Reduction by EPA(PDF format)
APPLICABILITY:
Any house with a concrete slab floor on the lowest level (basement or first floor) where the primary Radon source is below the house (virtually all houses with elevated Radon).

PRINCIPLE OF OPERATION:
A negative pressure field is created below the slab preventing the entry of Radon Gas into the house.

SYSTEM DESCRIPTION:
One or more penetrations are made in the slab and a small pit is created beneath each penetration.

PVC duct pipe is connected to the slab penetration/s and is routed unobtrusively (through closets, plumbing chases or other unexposed areas) to the suction side of the Fan.

PVC pipe is then connected to the pressure side of the Fan and routed through the roof using a standard roof flange and waterproof sealants.

The Radon Gas is discharged safely above the roofline. The PVC vent pipe protrudes slightly above the roof (approximately 12").

It is recommended to install a roof cap to prevent excess water, debris and pests from getting into the pipe.


APPLICABILITY:
Any house with a concrete slab floor on the lowest level (basement or first floor) where the primary Radon source is below the house (virtually all houses with elevated Radon).

PRINCIPLE OF OPERATION:
A negative pressure field is created below the slab preventing the entry of Radon Gas into the house.

SYSTEM DESCRIPTION:
One or more penetrations are made in the slab and a small pit is created beneath each penetration.

PVC duct pipe is connected to the slab penetration/s and is routed to the suction side of the Fan.

PVC pipe is then connected to the pressure side of the Fan and is routed up the sidewall of the house to discharge the Radon Gas safely above the roofline.

A weatherproof electrical connection with switch is provided for the fan.

It is recommended to install a roof cap to prevent excess water, debris and pests from getting into the pipe.

Here's a few examples of testing devices. Click here for full list

Pro Series radon detecor measures radon gas both short and long term

Radon gas in water test kit

Liquid Scintillation short term radon in gas test kit

Alpha Trak Long Term Radon Gas Test Kit

Radon Detector

Radon in Water

Radon in Air (48-96 hours)

Radon in Air (90-365 days)


You Can Fix a Radon ProblemTypical Sub-Slab Radon or other soil gas mitigation system illustrations

Radon reduction systems work and they are not too costly. Some radon reduction systems can reduce radon levels in your home by up to 99%. Even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels.

Radon is a radioactive gas. It comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up. Any home may have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements.

Radon from soil gas is the main cause of radon problems. Sometimes radon enters the home through well water (see "Radon in Water" below). In a small number of homes, the building materials can give off radon, too. However,

RADON GETS IN THROUGH:

1. Cracks in solid floors
2. Construction joints
3. Cracks in walls
4. Gaps in suspended floors
5. Gaps around service pipes
6. Cavities inside walls
7. The water supply

Visit our radon test kit & detector Product Catalog


Radon-resistant techniques work. When installed properly and completely, these simple and inexpensive passive techniques can help to reduce radon levels.  In addition, installing them at the time of construction makes it easier to reduce radon levels further if the passive techniques don't reduce radon levels below 4 pCi/L.  Radon-resistant techniques may also help to lower moisture levels and those of other soil-gases.  Radon-resistant techniques:

Making Upgrading Easy:  Even if built to be radon-resistant, every new home should be tested for radon after occupancy.  If you have a test result of 4 pCi/L or more, a vent fan can easily be added to the passive system to make it an active system and further reduce radon levels.
Are Cost-Effective:  Building radon-resistant features into the house during construction is easier and cheaper than fixing a radon problem from scratch later.  Let your builder know that radon-resistant features are easy to install using common building materials.
Save Money:  When installed properly and completely, radon-resistant techniques can also make your home more energy efficient and help you save on your energy costs.

In a new home, the cost to install passive radon-resistant features during construction is usually between $350 and $500.  In some areas, the cost may be as low as $100.  A qualified mitigator will charge about $300 to add a vent fan to a passive system, making it an active system and further reducing radon levels.  In an existing home, it usually costs between $800 and $2,500 to install a radon mitigation system.

What Are Radon-Resistant Features?

Radon-resistant techniques (features) may vary for different foundations and site requirements. If you're having a house built, you can learn about EPA's Model Standards (and architectural drawings) and explain the techniques to your builder. If your new house was built (or will be built) to be radon-resistant, it will include these basic elements:

  1. Gas-Permeable Layer:  This layer is placed beneath the slab or flooring system to allow the soil gas to move freely underneath the house.  In many cases, the material used is a 4-inch layer of clean gravel.  This gas-permeable layer is used only in homes with basement and slab-on-grade foundations; it is not used in homes with crawlspace foundations.
     
  2. Plastic Sheeting:  Plastic sheeting is placed on top of the gas-permeable layer and under the slab to help prevent the soil gas from entering the home.  In crawl spaces, the sheeting (with seams sealed) is placed directly over the crawlspace floor.
     
  3. Sealing and Caulking:  All below-grade openings in the foundation and walls are sealed to reduce soil gas entry into the home.
     
  4. Vent Pipe:  A 3 or 4 inch PVC pipe (or other gas-tight pipe) runs from the gas-permeable layer through the house to the roof, to safely vent radon and other soil gases to the outside.
     
  5. Junction Boxes:  An electrical junction box is included in the attic to make the wiring and installation of a vent fan easier.  For example, you decide to activate the passive system because your test result showed an elevated radon level (4 pCi/L or more).  A separate junction box is placed in the living space to power the vent fan alarm.  An alarm is installed along with the vent fan to indicate when the vent fan is not operating properly.
radon cutaway

How Can I Get Reliable Radon Test Results?

Radon testing is easy and the only way to find out if you have a radon problem in your home.

Preventing or Detecting Test Interference

There is a potential for test interference in real estate transactions. There are several ways to prevent or detect test interference:

  • Use a test device that frequently records radon or decay product levels to detect unusual swings;
  • Employ a motion detector to determine whether the test device has been moved or testing conditions have changed;
  • Use a proximity detector to reveal the presence of people in the room which may correlate to possible changes in radon levels during the test;
  • Record the barometric pressure to identify weather conditions which may have affected the test;
  • Record the temperature record to help assess whether doors and windows have been opened;
  • Apply tamper-proof seals to windows to ensure closed house conditions; and
  • Have the seller/occupant sign a non-interference agreement. house cutaway

Home buyers and sellers should consult a qualified radon test provider about the use of these precautions.

How To Lower The Radon Level In Your Home

A variety of methods can be used to reduce radon in homes. Sealing cracks and other openings in the foundation is a basic part of most approaches to radon reduction. EPA does not recommend the use of sealing alone to limit radon entry.  Sealing alone has not been shown to lower radon levels significantly or consistently. 

 In most cases, a system with a vent pipe(s) and fan(s) is used to reduce radon.  These "sub-slab depressurization" systems do not require major changes to your home. Similar systems can also be installed in homes with crawl space.  These systems prevent radon gas from entering the home from below the concrete floor and from outside the foundation.  Radon mitigation contractors may use other methods that may also work in your home. The right system depends on the design of your home and other factors. 

Techniques for reducing radon are discussed in EPA's "Consumer's Guide to Radon Reduction."  As with any other household appliance, there are costs associated with the operation of the radon-reduction system.

Radon and home renovations

If you are planning any major renovations, such as converting an unfinished basement area into living space, it is especially important to test the area for radon before you begin.

If your test results indicate an elevated radon level, radon-resistant techniques can be inexpensively included as part of the renovation. Major renovations can change the level of radon in any home.  Test again after the work is completed.

You should also test your home again after it is fixed to be sure that radon levels have been reduced. If your living patterns change and you begin occupying a lower level of your home (such as a basement) you should retest your home on that level. In addition, it is a good idea to retest your home sometime in the future to be sure radon levels remain low.

selecting a radon mitigatorSelecting a Radon-Reduction (Mitigation) Contractor

Select a qualified radon-reduction contractor to reduce the radon levels in your home.  Any mitigation measures taken or system installed in your home must conform to your state's regulations.  In states without regulations covering mitigation, the system should conform to EPA's Radon Mitigation Standards.

EPA recommends that the mitigation contractor review the radon measurement results before beginning and radon-reduction work.  Test again after the radon mitigation work has been completed to confirm that previous elevated levels have been reduced.

What Can a Qualified Radon-Reduction Contractor Do for You?

A qualified radon-reduction (mitigation) contractor should be able to:

  • Review testing guidelines and measurement results, and determine if additional measurements are needed;
  • Evaluate the radon problem and provide you with a detailed, written proposal on how radon levels will be lowered;
  • Design a radon-reduction system;
  • Install the system according to EPA standards, or state or local codes; and
  • Make sure the finished system effectively reduces radon levels to acceptable levels.

Choose a radon mitigation contractor to fix your radon problem just as you would for any other home repair.  You may want to get more than one estimate, ask for and check their references.  Make sure the person you hire is qualified to install a mitigation system.  Some states regulate or certify radon mitigation services providers.

Be aware that a potential conflict of interest exists if the same person or firm performs the testing and installs the mitigation system.  Some states may require the homeowner to sign a waiver in such cases.  If the same person or firm does the testing and mitigation, make sure the testing is done in accordance with the Radon Testing Checklist.  Contact your state radon office for more information.

Radon Test Kits D-I-Y & Professional


Radon testing is an important part of assuring your family's risk of Radon Gas causing ailments to be reduced. Radon kills. Order your radon test kit today! Visit our secure online Product Catalog

Protect your family from the unnecessary risks of RADON! Follow the links below to learn more!
Radon gas is #2 cause of lung cancer. Get your do it yourself radon test kit or radon detector here.

Radon Gas General Information

How RADON Gets Into Your Home

How to Test for RADON

What to do if Your Home has High Llevels of RADON

ALERT to Home Buyers & Sellers

"Consumer's Guide to Radon Reduction"

Myths about Radon from EPA


Here's a few examples of testing devices. Click here for full list

Pro Series radon detecor measures radon gas both short and long term

Radon gas in water test kit

Liquid Scintillation short term radon in gas test kit

Alpha Trak Long Term Radon Gas Test Kit

Radon Detector

Radon in Water

Radon in Air (48-96 hours)

Radon in Air (90-365 days)


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