January and other cooler weather months are the best time to test your home for radon. The “chimney effect” generally make the readings and exposure higher during this time of year. Radon is a cancer-causing natural radioactive gas that you can’t see, smell or taste. Its presence in your home can pose a danger to your family’s health. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America and claims more than 20,000 lives annually. The is encouraging people to test and fix their homes for radon. This is a good time to focus on testing and on fixing homes with a radon level of 4 pCi/L or more. Heed the Surgeon Generals warning. Take action now to reduce your family’s risk of lung cancer from radon!
How to Lower the Radon Levels in Your Home
Since there is no known safe level of radon, there can always be some risk. But the risk can be reduced by lowering the radon level in your home.
There are several proven methods to reduce radon in your home, but the one primarily used is a vent pipe system and fan (Sub Slab Depressurization), which pulls radon from beneath the house and vents it to the outside. This system does not require major changes to your home. Sealing foundation cracks and other openings makes this kind of system more effective and cost-efficient. Similar systems can also be installed in houses with crawl spaces. There are other methods that may also work in your home. The right system depends on the design of your home and other factors. If you are building a new home or performing a major renovation, some preventative techniques can be employed cost effectively to protect your family for years to come.
US Water Consultants is a NEHA certified measurement testing provider with many man years of experience relating to the treatment of radon in air and water. Contact us today for more information. A “Consumers guide to radon reduction” is available through the EPA and the state Radon office.
Treatment of Water to Reduce Radon:
Introduction – In some cases, elevated radon gas concentrations exist in both air and water. Normally there is a two pronged approach to radon reduction by both reducing radon originating from the foundation pathway and then by reducing radon in water.
Aeration Treatment – Radon gas can be easily removed from drinking water by the process known as aeration. Aeration can achieve up to 99 percent removal of radon gas from water. The process consists of mixing large volumes of clean air with the well water. The moist radon laden air is discharged outside the home. The treated water is re-pressurized(pump) so as to flow through your plumbing.
Water Quality – Aeration will intensify the staining affect of untreated iron and manganese. If iron/manganese/sediment are meaningfully present, pretreatment for their removal is recommended. If iron and manganese remain untreated, iron bacteria or a film of inorganic precipitates would be expected to form on the inside of the aerator. This condition can loosen in large clumps and may clog pumps or reduce the pump service life. Sediment can have the same effect. Where high carbon dioxide (CO2) is present in the well water, release of the CO2, may raise the pH of the water. In New England, high CO2 in the water is often present and identified by a pH test. This effect is considered a side benefit of aeration as higher pH water is generally less corrosive.
US Water often utilizes the Bubble Up™ system manufactured by the R.E. Prescott Corporation. It has been effective, reliable and repeatable to date(in our opinion). A brochure is attached for reference.
Radon Air Systems Installation Comments & Contingencies:
For Builders & Remodelers
Radon gas mitigation is not regulated currently and various industry groups suggest different and often conflicting approaches. We agree with most in principle, but is not possible to follow all without conflict. If there are questions relative to your installation, we would be pleased to discuss them.
Additionally, builders and remodelers often do portions of the radon mitigation systems before US Water does their work. There are some groundrules that are part of our system assumptions and necessary for optimal system performance.
- Builder supply of suction plumbing: For prefabricated structures: It is assumed that any builder(or other existing set up) supplied plumbing is ended far enough into the slab to have access to the crushed stone sub slab area. The plumbing is typically expected to end 1.5″-3.5″ above the crushed stone sub slab.. This allows the free space for suction.
- Builder supply of exhaust plumbing: If the builder supplies the exhaust plumbing, builder’s scope would include pushing the plumbing through the roof or the side of the house for outside access. It would also include properly setting the glue for connection pieces. We can inspect the work if required.
- Electrical connections are supplied within 15’ of the proposed sub slab suction access.
- Performance assumes that there are no open areas within the house interior that are dirt covered or have easy access to the sub slab and can therefore bypass our mitigation system. We can inspect the area and make recommendations if required (we recommend this).
- 6-12″ of Washed, crushed stone is for the system to work optimally. If this is not the case, please consult US Water and we will review the situation and size up the proper system.
We’ve spent years dealing with radon testing and mitigation everyday, so don’t let yourself feel overwhelmed, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us!