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gobug 08-08-2012 09:01 PM

I don't know if this topic is HVAC. It is not in the index of my HVAC Systems Design Handbook 2004(Haines & Wilson).

Radon is a risk on my mtn property in CO. I have not measured it, nor have I checked with the zoning dept to see if I must have a radon reduction system. These systems seem to be cheap and simple, especially early in the construction.

International Residential Code 2003 only has an appendix related to radon. The newer code has more information, but still just an appendix (if I recall correctly).

I don't care so much about the code, but I do want to employ such a system.

Does anyone here have experience with these?

joecaption 08-08-2012 09:06 PM

Why would you not get it tested then worry about it if it needs to be done?
And any radon systems I've seen are not all that cheap.

Doc Holliday 08-08-2012 09:08 PM

I'm looking in my Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technologies book and lung cancer is the main health risk from breathing radon. Not certain why you'd be interested in bringing it into your home. It's a radioactive gas stemming from the breakdown of uranium.

That's all I know.

gobug 08-09-2012 08:48 AM

Radon is definitely in our granite mountains. It cannot be tested prior to building a house. It is expensive to retrofit, but cheap if done early in the construction phase. 3mile Island was the event that brought it into focus as a health concern.

Now in CO all house purchases require a radon test.

New houses draw in radon, unless there is a plastic barrier between the house and the ground. Since my building site does not have topsoil, a radon reduction system is basically a tube that goes from beneath the foundation then out the roof.

In loamy soils, they recommend a loop of PVC conduit (min 3in) (with holes & a sock) that goes around the inside of the foundation perimeter and connects to the vent out the roof.

There is also a mat made of plastic that is egg carton shaped (7/16in thick) and covered with a geotextile fabric to keep the radon/air passage from clogging. This can be placed at the top of the gravel and then covered with cement. PVC tubing is placed close to the surface and beneath the cement.

The matting was 2ft x 100ft roll at a bit more than $300.

Installation instructions for the vent tube suggest that an outlet is installed in the attic for a possible fan. The fan may not be needed, but tests cannot be done until the structure is completed, hence, it is easy to install if it is needed.

If I do not use the matting but install the vent and outlet, the cost, not counting my labor, would be less than $100. I can see where retrofits would be much higher in cost.

Thanks for your prompt replies.

COLDIRON 08-09-2012 12:26 PM

Your putting the cart before the horse, go on-line and buy a test kit from EPA or by one in the store place it in the basement for a specified period of time.

Then you put it in a bag and send it in and they will send you the results, probably around 10 or 15 bucks.

Follow instructions with the test kit.

gobug 08-09-2012 04:11 PM

The test kit does not work outside on a mountain. It is designed for use in a structure already built.

COLDIRON 08-09-2012 04:34 PM

Somehow I got confused by your post, I thought you already owned a house and were talking about how to remediate the Radon.
From what I am reading the other people were on the same track as me.
Build your house then post back. I know it can not be measured in the mountains unconfined.

ben's plumbing 08-09-2012 06:36 PM

you are right to be concerned about radon...early will make it eaiser to deal with at a cost stand point....but please be as concerned about code installation and maintance.....thats where the safty comes in..ben sr

gobug 08-10-2012 09:23 AM

Sorry I did not explain that I am beginning the building process.

I did indicate that I did not care about the code. What I meant was that I plan to reduce the amount of radon below the acceptable amount.

I certainly value zoning departments, and inspectors. They are key. Before I do anything, I will have conversations and will also begin the permit process.

Thanks for the replies.

Daniel Holzman 08-10-2012 12:20 PM

It is a good idea to prepare the house for a radon system before construction. A radon system is similar to a perimeter drain, in the sense that there are typically inexpensive plastic pipes installed under the slab which can capture the radon before it gets into the basement. The pipes typically vent through a sump with a low volume fan designed to maintain a small negative pressure under the slab. The good news is you can install the piping as part of the foundation preparation, and install the sump, and test your house after construction. If there is no radon, you are good. If there is radon, you put the fan in, along with the required vent, and you are good to go.

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