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Old 01-30-2012, 09:50 PM   #1
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Radon test with 5pCi/L


When we bought our house last April the radon test came back with a level of 5pCi/L (one point higher then the EPA recommended amount). The test was a short-term test and was completed in the basement about 4ft from the ground. The house was vacant for about 2-3 months prior when the test was completed. We decided to buy anyway (the house was a foreclosure and was sold as is). We weren't required to have it fixed to close so we held off for a little while.

My house was built in 2000 and had the radon pipe pre-installed from the builder, but without the fan. However the builder already ran an outlet right next to the vent pipe in the attic.

Is the only thing I would need to do is cut the pvc pipe in the attic and install the fan?

I have a sump in the basement that only has a cheap plastic lid that barely sits on top of the hole. Should I get a cap that seals the sump closed?

Anything else i'm missing? The pipe in the basement is behind drywall, should I expose it to check anything?

Just looking into different options here. We may be starting a family in the next couple years and I want to make sure my home is safe.

Our basement is completely finished and I would like it to be used as a playroom someday.

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Old 01-30-2012, 10:01 PM   #2
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Radon test with 5pCi/L


When we bought our house last April the radon test came back with a level of 5pCi/L (one point higher then the EPA recommended amount). The test was a short-term test and was completed in the basement about 4ft from the ground. The house was vacant for about 2-3 months prior when the test was completed. We decided to buy anyway (the house was a foreclosure and was sold as is). We weren't required to have it fixed to close so we held off for a little while.

My house was built in 2000 and had the radon pipe pre-installed from the builder, but without the fan. However the builder already ran an outlet right next to the vent pipe in the attic.

Is the only thing I would need to do is cut the pvc pipe in the attic and install the fan?

I would suggest a GP-501 fan for you

Every pipe that is accessable or visible on each floor needs a sticker that says "RADON"

The breaker in the load center needs to be labled "RADON"

A U-Tube manometer needs to be installed to the pipe two or three feet above where it enter the basement floor. And marked to show where start up suction pressure is

The fan is to mounted exterior to the home and the exhaust pipe MUST extent above the eav of the home. I usually extent 10-12" above gutter

I have a sump in the basement that only has a cheap plastic lid that barely sits on top of the hole. Should I get a cap that seals the sump closed?

Yes

Anything else i'm missing? The pipe in the basement is behind drywall, should I expose it to check anything?

Just to add the U-Tube

Just looking into different options here. We may be starting a family in the next couple years and I want to make sure my home is safe.

Our basement is completely finished and I would like it to be used as a playroom someday.[/quote]

THe company I buy my supplies from is called RCi/Radon Control Inc
www.radoncontrol.com

Very helpful and will answer any questions you have.

I am a licensed Measurement/Mitigation Tech in KS. But the EPA Protocal applies to all states

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Last edited by Plumber101; 01-30-2012 at 10:03 PM.
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Old 01-30-2012, 10:21 PM   #3
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Radon test with 5pCi/L


I believe the pipe in the basement has a radon sticker...my neighbor showed me his since mine is hidden behind drywall.

How do I install the fan outside the home when the pipe goes through my atic and sticks about a foot through the roof? I thought you can install the fans in the attic?

The outlet for the fan in the attic doesn't have a dedicated breaker, nor an on / off switch mounted anywhere its just a live outlet. Is this a problem?

Is a score of 5 something to be concerned about or is it something that really isn't that bad?
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Old 01-30-2012, 10:37 PM   #4
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Radon test with 5pCi/L


I believe the pipe in the basement has a radon sticker...my neighbor showed me his since mine is hidden behind drywall.

How do I install the fan outside the home when the pipe goes through my atic and sticks about a foot through the roof? I thought you can install the fans in the attic?

My bad I forgot you said it was going in the attic. Forget what I said about mounting exterior.

The outlet for the fan in the attic doesn't have a dedicated breaker, nor an on / off switch mounted anywhere its just a live outlet. Is this a problem?

The outlet in the attic is connected by a breaker in the panel. It doesn't have to be dedicated. Just marked in the box. When you install the fan just use a pig-tail cord and plug it in.

Is a score of 5 something to be concerned about or is it something that really isn't that bad?[/quote]

If you understand the stack effect on your house and how as heat rises and as heat rises it creates a sucking effect. This helps the radon enter the house. Depending on the strength of the radon source, the stack effect and the ease of entry will contribute to the Pci/l in the home.

Radon can fluctuate all over the place, so 5 pico's is the average of the total test. I would see if you could locate a measurement tech that uses a continuous monitor and they can provide you a graph showing the fluctuations. At 5 pico's this is just a quick snap shot of what is going on. I would do a second test.
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:25 PM   #5
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Radon test with 5pCi/L


5 pc/l is a very low radon reading. If you do a little Googling you will find that there is not one conclusive scientific study that proves that exposure to indoor radon causes cancer. Even the EPA admits that there is no evidence that proves that cancer rates go up as residential radon levels rise and that their "action level" of 4 pc/l is basically just and arbitrary number. All that being said, since you already have sub-slab depressurization infastructure in place, it won't cost much to add a fan. My home came with a fan. I continue to run it because it it only draws 35 watts of power which only adds up to a few dollars over the course of a year. The air in the basement also stays dry. If it stops working I probably won't replace it. The highest reading collected here (by the previous owners that installed the fan) was 9. Very low, but they freaked out since it was "more than double what the EPA says is dangerous".
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:46 AM   #6
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Radon test with 5pCi/L


Micah is spot on so far as I can tell. I work in the nuclear industry, and have spent a lot of time studying the epidemiology of radon exposure, as it is a constant presence in the facilities where I work. The original research that suggested an increase in cancer due to radon was performed on uranium miners who were exposed many hours a day to high doses of radon. Clearly underground uranium miners have a higher risk of cancer than the average person, unfortunately it is difficult to determine exactly why, because there are a number of other unpleasant factors associated with digging uranium out of the earth besides radon.

The doses the uranium miners were exposed to were vastly greater than anything you are going to find in a residential setting, however the EPA uses a linear model which basically says if 1000 pCi/l causes 1 death per thousand, then 1 pCi/l must cause 1 death per thousand. This is a common technique used to extrapolate from high dose to low dose, but is well known for being scientifically indefensible. However, we do not perform potentially fatal experiments on humans in this country (fortunately), so it is very difficult to do scientifically valid epidemiology studies on something as subtle as radon effects on humans.

One thing that is well documented is that smoking and radon are a poor combination (smoking alone isn't too good of course). For reasons not clear cigarette smoke and radon appear to amplify the carcinogenic qualities of each. I do not advocate smoking, however if you have any radon in your house, you definitely do not want to smoke, unless the prospect of lung cancer does not deter you.

Full disclosure. There is more than 5pCi/l radon in my basement, I have no radon mitigation, I do not smoke, and I spend absolutely zero time worrying about it.
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Old 02-18-2012, 07:52 PM   #7
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Radon test with 5pCi/L


Sorry a little late to this discussion..but I just wanted to make a point here about fan size and a passive vent. Th GP501 is a 3", high suction fan that is usually not warranted with a correctly installed passive system which is probably connected to your sump system. Thus a high flow fan is what is required.

With your lower radon level the RP145 or even the 20watt RP140 will keep your energy usage much lower than the 90+ watt GP501.
http://www.indoor-air-health-advisor...ve-system.html

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