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Old 06-23-2008, 08:34 PM   #1
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Radon Mitigation installed near AC Unit outside. Problem?


Hi everyone,

First time posting...great forums.

So this morning I had a radon mitigation system installed on a home my wife and I are buying. It is an external installation and done on a side of the home that keeps it very hidden, but also away from doors, windows, etc...

We have a 4ft garage extension, so its hidden in the corner behind it with the pipe running about 8 feet up just shy of the garage roof/gutter. The installers chose to not run the pipe up and over the gutters, and instead installed a PVC elbow (90 degrees) so the vent side faces off to the side, for aesthetic reasons along with keeping it private/hidden. See the attached pictures.

==edit==
This installation (in Indiana), may or may not meet the vertical code, which I think says it has to be 2 feet above the gutter/roof line. I am sure this is a simple fix if needed, especially if we try and sell the home in 5 years...but my question still stands as to whether we have a safety issue the way it is currently setup.
==end edit==

In all 3 pictures, you can see our A/C unit outside. The house is 4 years old, and I am not sure what type of AC unit it is, but my question is whether we should be worried at all that Radon exhaust from the pipe could somehow enter our A/C Unit and back into our home.

I have talked to 2 sources thus far and they have explained that an A/C unit like ours is a compressor and does not ventilate air back into the house.

Am I correct in this assumption?

Also, from a pure radon mitigation standpoint...does it truly matter whether the pipe runs 8 feet or 50 feet (up to the main roof of the home) from a safety standpoint?

My understanding thus far is that as the radon concentration is removed from beneath our slab and ventilated into the air, it literally would simply dissipate within seconds.

We have a fear that our kids could be playing on that side of the home and would be exposed to high levels of Radon. I personally don't think that is the case, but wanted to get some other opinions.

I have attached 3 images to highlight what I am talking about.

In one of the pictures, it looks like there is a smaller black insulated pipe running from the AC unit to the garage extension, but the size of the black pipe seems to indicate it contains coils or something maybe for the cooling.

Any help you all can give is greatly appreciated.

Thank you
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Radon Mitigation installed near AC Unit outside. Problem?-radon_mitigation3.jpg   Radon Mitigation installed near AC Unit outside. Problem?-radon_mitigation2.jpg   Radon Mitigation installed near AC Unit outside. Problem?-radon_mitigation.jpg  


Last edited by majorchamp; 06-23-2008 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 06-23-2008, 11:40 PM   #2
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Radon Mitigation installed near AC Unit outside. Problem?


The proximity of the radon vent to the AC is not an issue. The AC unit does not intake air in any way, it is used simply for the cooling process of the refrigerant. So there's no risk of recirculating the radon into the HVAC system of the house via the AC unit. Good thinking though...Never hurts to be sure everything is safe!

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Old 06-23-2008, 11:52 PM   #3
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Radon Mitigation installed near AC Unit outside. Problem?


Was a permit issued for this installation? Was the contractor licensed (if applicable)? The reason I ask is I don't think the exhaust pipe is to code

Here's a snippet from the U.S. EPA Air and Radiation Model Standards and Techniques for Control of Radon in Residential Buildings

9.3.4 To avoid reentry of soil gas into the building, the vent pipe shall exhaust at least 12 inches above the surface of the roof, in a location at least 10 feet away from any window or other opening into the conditioned spaces of the building that is less than 2 feet below the exhaust point, and 10 feet from any adjoining or adjacent buildings.

And while there's no issue with reentry via the AC unit, isn't that a fireplace vent off to the side????

I'm not the code guy around here but that exhaust doesn't look right to me
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Old 06-23-2008, 11:54 PM   #4
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Radon Mitigation installed near AC Unit outside. Problem?


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Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
The proximity of the radon vent to the AC is not an issue. The AC unit does not intake air in any way, it is used simply for the cooling process of the refrigerant. So there's no risk of recirculating the radon into the HVAC system of the house via the AC unit. Good thinking though...Never hurts to be sure everything is safe!
Thanks.

What about the length of the mitigation pipe? "Should" it be higher off the ground? Is there more danger in it's current position then if it was 25 feet off the ground?

Makes me wonder why mitigation pipes don't just pop up 3 feet from the ground versus taking it up the entire length of the house.

Thanks again
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Old 06-23-2008, 11:59 PM   #5
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Radon Mitigation installed near AC Unit outside. Problem?


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Originally Posted by angus242 View Post
Was a permit issued for this installation? Was the contractor licensed (if applicable)? The reason I ask is I don't think the exhaust pipe is to code

Here's a snippet from the U.S. EPA Air and Radiation Model Standards and Techniques for Control of Radon in Residential Buildings

9.3.4 To avoid reentry of soil gas into the building, the vent pipe shall exhaust at least 12 inches above the surface of the roof, in a location at least 10 feet away from any window or other opening into the conditioned spaces of the building that is less than 2 feet below the exhaust point, and 10 feet from any adjoining or adjacent buildings.

And while there's no issue with reentry via the AC unit, isn't that a fireplace vent off to the side????

I'm not the code guy around here but that exhaust doesn't look right to me
Yes, that is a fireplace vent. It's a gas fireplace, so honestly I have no clue if that is a legitimate place for reentry of radon gas, especially when the fireplace is being used or just dormant. Good question though, any others feel free to chime in.

This is part of a real estate sale and the radon levels per an inspection came back as an avg of 7.8 (11 and 4.5). The radon company was recommended via "HomeLink" which is a part of FC Tucker.

And yes, even the contractor self admitted it didn't follow the "code" per the 2 feet above the gutter line, he was trying to make it aesthetically pleasing.
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Old 06-24-2008, 12:05 AM   #6
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Radon Mitigation installed near AC Unit outside. Problem?


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And yes, even the contractor self admitted it didn't follow the "code" per the 2 feet above the gutter line, he was trying to make it aesthetically pleasing.
Wow. I would think between aesthetics and potentially exposing my family to breathing a radioactive noble gas....well seems obviously to me.
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Old 06-24-2008, 12:18 AM   #7
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Radon Mitigation installed near AC Unit outside. Problem?


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Wow. I would think between aesthetics and potentially exposing my family to breathing a radioactive noble gas....well seems obviously to me.
Well, that is the thing. Is 3 more vertical feet going to do more or less harm regarding radon output? Honestly?

My wife and I have decided we are going to have them come back out and take the pipe to the tallest area of our roof. The idea of resting our conscious on this issue is more important then making it look pretty.
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Old 06-24-2008, 12:26 AM   #8
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Radon Mitigation installed near AC Unit outside. Problem?


I'm not a chemist or who the heck ever figures this stuff out. I'm just looking at that over hang and IF radon gas is similar in density or weight as air, I think it would get trapped under that soffit and could possibly leave a radon gas cloud too close to the ground or even get back into the house via that fireplace vent. Since you're taking the responsibility of getting it out of the house (basement) in the first place, why not get it high enough to leave the area?

I'm just sayin.....

Good luck.
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Old 06-24-2008, 12:29 AM   #9
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Radon Mitigation installed near AC Unit outside. Problem?


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I'm not a chemist or who the heck ever figures this stuff out. I'm just looking at that over hang and IF radon gas is similar in density or weight as air, I think it would get trapped under that soffit and could possibly leave a radon gas cloud too close to the ground or even get back into the house via that fireplace vent. Since you're taking the responsibility of getting it out of the house (basement) in the first place, why not get it high enough to leave the area?

I'm just sayin.....

Good luck.
That is a great point. Like I said, we have decided to run it up the entire length of the house.
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Old 06-24-2008, 12:35 AM   #10
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Old 06-24-2008, 02:24 PM   #11
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Radon Mitigation installed near AC Unit outside. Problem?


I didn't realize we were looking at the finished product. You've made a good decision to have it raised on up. Chances are it won't re-enter the house, but why risk it!
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Old 06-24-2008, 02:54 PM   #12
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Radon Mitigation installed near AC Unit outside. Problem?


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I didn't realize we were looking at the finished product. You've made a good decision to have it raised on up. Chances are it won't re-enter the house, but why risk it!
Yep, all finished. So they are coming out tomorrow to "mitigate" their mitigation
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Old 06-24-2008, 04:58 PM   #13
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Radon Mitigation installed near AC Unit outside. Problem?


I know a cancer doctor and his opinion on radon is this, you have a better chance of getting hit by lighting then dying from radon gas, now, radon in a water system is a different story...
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Old 06-25-2008, 10:24 AM   #14
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Radon Mitigation installed near AC Unit outside. Problem?


I have added some additional pictures that show the pipe going to the top of the roof.

It really doesn't look all that bad, plus we will paint it a similar color as the house.
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Radon Mitigation installed near AC Unit outside. Problem?-0625081016.jpg   Radon Mitigation installed near AC Unit outside. Problem?-0625081019_2.jpg  
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Old 06-25-2008, 10:32 AM   #15
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Radon Mitigation installed near AC Unit outside. Problem?


Peace of mind never looked so good!

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