Monday, May 14th, 2018 by Mark Bonar
RADON CUSTOMER MANUAL
It's a problem that can find its way into any home, old or new and it accounts for an estimated 20,000 deaths each year. Odorless, tasteless, and radioactive radon gas is an issue to be taken seriously by both builders and homeowners. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. (after smoking) and chances are, wherever you are, it could be right under your feet.
Radon occurs naturally when uranium, present in most rocks and soils, starts to break down and release atomic particles. Once inhaled, these particles can be deposited in our lungs and can alter cell DNA, increasing the risk of lung cancer. Radon is all around us, but usually in such low levels that there is little risk. However, if radon is allowed to concentrate undisturbed, it can quickly rise to dangerous levels.
Like most gasses, radon is affected by air pressure. When a home's basement or foundation punctures the soil, it acts like a vacuum offering an area of lesser pressure, relative to the surrounding area. Radon then is literally sucked into the home through any cracks or gaps in the foundation. Once inside the home, a tight building envelope will help concentrate gas levels, and the homeowner is then vulnerable to long-term exposure.
Types of Radon Mitigation Systems
Interior Installation of Active Soil Depressurization System
This is the EPA’s most recommended method for radon reduction. It has proven successful in small residential homes as well as large, multi-story buildings. Its long-range success is dependent upon the quality of the installation and the design reflecting the construction characteristics of the building. Radon reduction is achieved by generating negative pressure under the slab floor.
Exterior Installation of Active Soil Depressurization System
This is similar to the interior system described above except that the piping is placed on the exterior of the building. The design of this system requires a thorough knowledge of construction and building techniques to ensure that damage is not done to the foundation or the plumbing and electrical systems of the building. In most cases the exterior piping can be designed to blend aesthetically with the exterior appearance of the building. This type of system is generally used when construction features prevent the installation of an Interior Active Soil Depressurization system.
Exterior or Interior Sump Pit Depressurization System
When a home has a waterproofing system with interior drainage tile and a sump pump, Thrasher may install a sump pit depressurization system. This type of system utilizes the current waterproofing system to depressurize under the concrete slab to draw out the radon gas. Radon Solutions of WV will also ensure that the entire system is sealed air tight. A radon system utilizing sump pit depressurization will not adversely affect the performance of your waterproofing system. The motor and pipe installation on this system can be exterior or interior as described above.
CRAWLSPACE Sub-Membrane Depressurization
A home or building which has a crawlspace can be handled by installing a sub-membrane depressurization system. Here are the basic steps for installation of this type of system.
When the fan is activated it will draw the radon from below the plastic before it can enter the crawlspace and the structure. The radon will vent above the roof where it will quickly dilute to the outside air.
Commercial Mitigation Applications
Installation of radon mitigation systems in commercial buildings requires a more in-depth knowledge of construction and building techniques. The basic theory of radon reduction in commercial buildings is the same as that applied to residential buildings. However, since building codes and construction designs are much different, the mitigation contractor must be thoroughly knowledgeable of building codes and construction practices to avoid damaging the structure or violating the building's structural integrity. Oftentimes, commercial builders of apartments, nursing homes and office buildings incorporate Radon Resistant Building Standards into their buildings during construction.