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Radon Mitigation – Cost of Ownership (Part 2)

Radon Mitigation
Cost of Ownership (Part 2)

Welcome to Part 2 in our blog series about Radon Mitigation systems. If you missed Part 1 where we covered radon, the invisible invader, and the history of radon awareness in MT. In part 2 of this series, we will look at the importance of radon mitigation systems and what they look like.

Importance of radon mitigation systems (RMS)

Removing radon from indoor spaces is crucial due to the potential health risks associated with prolonged exposure to elevated levels of radon gas and its decay particles. Radon is a radioactive gas that is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, making it imperceptible to human senses. The primary reasons for the importance of radon mitigation include:

  • Cancer Risk Reduction:  Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, responsible for a significant number of lung cancer cases each year. When radon gas is inhaled, it breaks down into radioactive particles that can damage lung tissue over time, increasing the risk of developing lung cancer. Mitigating radon exposure is vital for reducing this health risk.
  • Occupational and Residential Safety:  Radon is often present in homes, workplaces, and other indoor environments. Mitigating radon ensures the safety of occupants, whether in residential or commercial buildings, creating a secure and healthy space for individuals to live and work.
  • Real Estate Transactions:  Many real estate transactions require radon testing, and high radon levels can affect property values. Mitigating radon issues not only contributes to the safety of current occupants but also enhances the marketability and value of the property, making it more attractive to potential buyers.
  • Regulatory Compliance:  Various regions have regulations and guidelines regarding acceptable radon levels in indoor environments. Mitigating radon ensures compliance with these regulations, helping homeowners meet safety standards set by local authorities.  
  • Peace of Mind:  Radon is a silent and invisible threat, making it essential to proactively address its presence. Radon mitigation provides homeowners with peace of mind, knowing that they have taken measures to protect their family’s health and well-being.

Removing radon is crucial for reducing the risk of lung cancer, protecting respiratory health, ensuring safety in homes and workplaces, maintaining property values, complying with regulations, and providing peace of mind to occupants.

Radon relative to other causes of death
Radon gas sign
Compliance
peace of mind

Radon Mitigation System Design

There are primarily three types of radon mitigation systems commonly used to reduce indoor radon levels: sub-slab depressurization (SSD) systems, sub-membrane depressurization systems, and ventilation systems.

Sub-Slab Depressurization (SSD) Systems:  How it Works: This is the most common and effective method. It involves creating a vacuum beneath the building’s foundation by inserting a pipe through the foundation floor and into the soil below. A fan is then connected to the pipe to draw radon-laden air from beneath the building and vent it outside, preventing its entry into the living spaces.

Applicability: SSD systems are suitable for homes with basements or slab-on-grade foundations. They are especially effective in areas with high radon concentrations in the soil.

Radon suction pit
rdon sub membrane

Sub-Membrane Depressurization Systems:  How it Works: This method is similar to sub-slab depressurization but is designed for homes with crawlspaces. A gas-permeable membrane is installed over the soil in the crawlspace, and a ventilation pipe and fan are used to create a negative pressure, preventing radon entry and directing it outside.

Applicability: Sub-membrane depressurization systems are ideal for homes with crawlspaces and are effective in reducing radon levels in these areas. 

Ventilation Systems:  How it Works: Ventilation systems focus on increasing the air exchange rate within a building to dilute radon concentrations. This can be achieved by using exhaust fans to pull fresh outdoor air into the building while simultaneously expelling indoor air containing radon. This method is more common in areas where radon levels are moderate, or in homes with unique circumstances that make using an SSD system challenging.

Applicability: Ventilation systems are suitable for homes with crawlspaces or where sub-slab depressurization may not be practical. They are often used as a secondary or alternative approach, particularly in homes with lower radon levels.

Radon extracted by HRV

All three types of radon mitigation systems require professional installation to ensure effectiveness and compliance with local regulations. Homeowners are advised to conduct radon testing to determine the appropriate mitigation strategy for their specific circumstances.

In part 3 of this series, we will look at the costs involved in installing either a sub-membrane or sub-slab depressurization system.

 

 

Committed to Your Safety and Peace of Mind – Jennifer Thorne Testing Services Manager  | IAC2 Certified for Mold & Radon | NRPP Certified: 113525-RMP, 113629-RMS | DEQ Meth Certified: MCP-0146-C