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Old 08-21-2013, 03:07 PM   #1
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Issues about Radon Remediation...

I bought a house last year and it measured 5 for radon. I did a long term test that came up 6, so I guess I will be doing remediation.

Guy came in and told me that my sump would be a perfect place because it communicated with all the drain tiles and would be minimal work to plumb it outside. Then we went outside and he realized it would be difficult exhaust it 2 feet above a window near the sump.

So his fallback plan is to core the floor 8 feet over, where he can easily run an exhaust.

Seems to me that the sump was a much better idea, both because it was connected to the drain pipes, but also because I have already lost that floor space and would prefer not to lose more for the new location.
So I have two questions...

1) Is coring the floor adequate, or should I try to make the sump work? (it would take a few elbows, but it can go up 8' away, either inside or outside)
2) The window it can't get 2 feet above near the sump has never been opened and I can't imagine I would ever want to open it (it is over the bathtub, which we never use anyhow). Any way to ignore that requirement?

I suppose I also have a third question...
He told me that 6 wasn't terribly hazardous, but would make selling the house difficult. After remediation it typically would be about 2. Is all that reasonable?


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Old 08-21-2013, 06:19 PM   #2
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The question of radon danger has been discussed repeatedly on this forum over the past few years. Some think radon is very dangerous, others dismiss radon fears as communist inspired lunacy.

I worked for many years in the nuclear industry as an engineer, and have had occasion to study radon toxicity. There is almost no useful information about the dangers of long term exposure to low dose radon, which is what you have. Most studies have focused on uranium miners, who may be exposed to very high doses for many years.

Personally I live in a house that has at least 5 ppm, probably much higher in the winter when it is closed up. If you have radon in your air, you almost certainly have it in your water, if you are on a well. Some people think radon in your water is much more dangerous than radon in the air, but curiously the system you are thinking about putting in does nothing about radon contamination of well water (only a problem if you are on well water).

Myself, I don't worry a bit about low dose radon exposure. Unless you smoke, in which case you have an unfortunate problem, since radon and cigarette smoke seem to be synergistic, meaning that the combination appears to be much more serious than either one alone. And we all know how bad cigarettes are for you....

So unless you are legally required to remediate, I wouldn't bother doing the project at all. And if you smoke, quit, buy a bottle of nice cognac, and relax about the radon. You know people used to pay large amounts of money to soak in mines that had high concentrations of radon and radium. And radium used to be sold as a patent medicine (Radiclor). Go figure.


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Old 08-22-2013, 05:58 AM   #3
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I'm with Daniel. I also have many years of nuclear power experience, both military and civilian. Residential radon mitigation is a total scam and a waste of your money. There are many things in our environment far more dangerous to your health. Something else will kill you long before radon ever does. And even if you do get lung cancer, there's no way to prove radon caused it.
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