Mitigate Radon

Mitigate Radon:  The Proper Methods to Correctly Mitigate Radon 

Radon gas is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that is formed by the breakdown of uranium found naturally in soil, rocks and water. This radioactive gas is thought to be responsible for many cancer deaths. Breathing in radon gas can cause lung cancer, and if you smoke your chances of getting cancer are even higher. Yet it is easy and inexpensive to test for radon and take steps to protect your family. There are several ways to mitigate radon.

The first step to mitigate radon is to test your home with a home radon test kit or hire a professional testing firm. The EPA recommends a level of below 4PC/L in the home. If testing shows any level of radon, take steps to mitigate radon. Have any house tested before you move in, whether it is a newly built home or an older home. Then, test for radon periodically. When building a new home use construction practices that keep radon from entering home.

Radon can enter homes on ground or basement levels through cracks in floors or walls, construction joints, gaps in suspended floors or service pipes, cavities inside walls and the homes water supply. If radon is present, the next step to mitigate radon is to find and seal any cracks in the floors or walls, spaces around incoming service pipes, construction joints and small openings that could let radon in.

Another way to mitigate radon is with home pressurization. This involves using a fan to blow air into the lower level from upper levels or outside, causing positive pressure that prevents radon from entering the space. This method requires windows and doors to remain closed except for normal entry and exit. Its effectiveness is limited.

Natural ventilation can help mitigate radon build up in the home. It involves opening windows, doors and vents on the lower levels of the home to allow radon laden air to mix with outdoor air and lower its concentration in the home. It is a way to mitigate radon, but interferes with heating and cooling of the home, and lessens home security.

A heat recovery ventilator or HRV unit, often called an air to air heat exchanger, can be installed to Mitigate Radon. This method increases ventilation without losing heating and cooling efficiency in the home. Combined with sealing all the small openings in floors and walls, this is a very effective way to mitigate radon.

In new construction, or homes with high levels of radon, consider installing a sub-slab pressurization system. This way to mitigate radon involves installing collection pipes beneath the foundation. These pipes are connected to a vertical riser pipe that goes from below the foundation up to the top of the house where the radon is released into the atmosphere. A fan draws radon gas into collector pipes. The riser pipe should go at least 10 feet above the ground.  More information about how to mitigate radon can be found on the EPA web site. 

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