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drlsubaru 03-29-2009 10:55 AM

Radon in the basement
 
Hey all,

Just had the inspector out. Apparently we have pretty high levels of radon in the basement (no shocker there), but we are going to be transforming the basement into a master bed suite so we want to do something to mitigate the potential problems.

Our realtor told us that installing a "radon fan" will cure the problem as it will siphon the radioactive particles out of the air every few hours. Are these a good enough fix for an area that will be slept in on a regular basis?

Any other suggestions as to how to mitigate it? I was pushing my better half for lead-reinforced floors but you know wives. :-)

Rivethead 03-29-2009 09:04 PM

Do you have any crawl space or an open sump pump well? Are you planning to power caulk the slab at the wall. Is the floor cracked at all. All things to think about. We had a radon problem and took steps to correct it - never did eliminate it. The only way to know for sure is to make improvements and keep measuring until your comfortable with the level enough to sleep down there.

wsuswim147 03-31-2009 09:04 PM

4pc/l is the EPA recommended maximum level. Depending on how much higher you have over this limit may determine the appropriate mitigation strategies. You could go a far as having a collector trench with gravel/pvc pipe or a geovent material to collect the gas and exhaust it out of the house via a fan/vaccum pulled on the system

drlsubaru 04-01-2009 07:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wsuswim147 (Post 253195)
4pc/l is the EPA recommended maximum level. Depending on how much higher you have over this limit may determine the appropriate mitigation strategies. You could go a far as having a collector trench with gravel/pvc pipe or a geovent material to collect the gas and exhaust it out of the house via a fan/vaccum pulled on the system

Yeah we've been exploring the vent installation option. I just hate to do it because the more I research it, the more I find the EPA guidelines to not have much substance behind them.

More or less, almost all info I find says something to the extent of: Radon gas is a proven carcinogen. However, it is unknown what dose is considered to be harmful. The EPA guidelines are very arbitrary and based off a study done of miners who dug uranium for 20 years. There still exists little to no definitive research of the effect of house-level radon exposure.

But hey, if I plan on ever re-selling this place I'd better fix the problem... so there's the easy answer. :yes:

Radonguy 04-04-2009 08:33 AM

What's your level and your basement square footage?

Val

drlsubaru 04-04-2009 09:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Radonguy (Post 254874)
What's your level and your basement square footage?

Val

App 1000 sq ft, levels around 5.

Radonguy 04-04-2009 12:40 PM

With a level of 5pCi/L a long term test may show that your levels average below 4. To get a good look you need to run the test to about Jan 2010 since the highest levels usually will occur during the coldest months.

A level in the 5 range can often be minimized with ventilation techniques. If you have an HRV (air exchanger) these can be set produce a slightly higher positive pressure in the home which helps to keep the radon in the ground and cleans the air by the increased ventilation. These do cost more to install and to operate than a typical sub slab depressurization system. A radon mitigation system will get your levels often below 1pCi/L and have the added benefit of exhausting moisture and other soil gases.

I do provide DIY help if you choose to go that route.

Val

md2lgyk 04-29-2009 07:38 AM

With no disrespect meant to Radonguy, I worked for more than 30 years in the nuclear industry. In my opinion, home radon testing and mitigation is a moneymaking scam second only to asbestos abatement.

drlsubaru 04-29-2009 08:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by md2lgyk (Post 267057)
With no disrespect meant to Radonguy, I worked for more than 30 years in the nuclear industry. In my opinion, home radon testing and mitigation is a moneymaking scam second only to asbestos abatement.

This thought hass been in the back of my mind for some time after doing extensive research on the actual science behind radon mitigation.

It seems the levels set by the EPA are somewhat arbitrary and there is no real legitimate research that can prove actual exposure limits of radon.

Nevertheless, we are turning the basement into a master bed and installing a radon fan will only help the resale price in the future. That's a good enough reason for me.

md2lgyk 04-29-2009 08:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by drlsubaru (Post 267070)
Nevertheless, we are turning the basement into a master bed and installing a radon fan will only help the resale price in the future. That's a good enough reason for me.

That's all you need to say. After all, it's your house. As for me, I'm installing mitigation in the house I'm currently building only because the county says I have to.

Yoyizit 04-29-2009 12:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by md2lgyk (Post 267057)
With no disrespect meant to Radonguy, I worked for more than 30 years in the nuclear industry. In my opinion, home radon testing and mitigation is a moneymaking scam second only to asbestos abatement.

I thought they had data that shows increased likelihood of disease from radon or asbestos. . .?
For sure, it can't be good for anyone. . .

Hobb3s 04-29-2009 01:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Yoyizit (Post 267154)
I thought they had data that shows increased likelihood of disease from radon or asbestos. . .?
For sure, it can't be good for anyone. . .

It's all in the exposure levels and frequency, there are background levels of asbestos and radon everywhere in the air around us. Just like if you drink a glass of water it won't kill you, but if you drink 2 gallons of water you'll die. The gov't sets 'acceptable limits', then everyone has to meet those limits, which are usually occupational limits, meaning if you work with the stuff everyday. Of course having said that if you're sleeping in your basement, you should probably get a 'radon fan' or just better ventilation and seal your slab etc. (if you have high radon in your area)

Yoyizit 04-29-2009 03:58 PM

couldn't find a good definition of excess death
 
"Excess death is the difference between the number of deaths observed in [the radon exposed group] and the number of deaths that would have occurred in that group if it had the same death rate as the non-[radon exposed] population"

radongreg1 05-05-2009 10:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Radonguy (Post 254954)
With a level of 5pCi/L a long term test may show that your levels average below 4. To get a good look you need to run the test to about Jan 2010 since the highest levels usually will occur during the coldest months.

A level in the 5 range can often be minimized with ventilation techniques. If you have an HRV (air exchanger) these can be set produce a slightly higher positive pressure in the home which helps to keep the radon in the ground and cleans the air by the increased ventilation. These do cost more to install and to operate than a typical sub slab depressurization system. A radon mitigation system will get your levels often below 1pCi/L and have the added benefit of exhausting moisture and other soil gases.

I do provide DIY help if you choose to go that route.

Val

I tested radon in my house when I moved in after checking and validating my detector in the old house. It was about 3 in late summer. A couple years later I decided to plug in the detector in April. It was high about 9. I was concerned because it was almost that upstairs. It tricked down to 2.5 in summer. In late October it rose to 20. I installed a temporary suction pipe to the backyard. Went quickly down to below 4. Rose and reached a peak in December about 6-7. My radon levels may have been over 35 without suction. I had no idea. You must check levels in all seasons and weather conditions else a single measurement tells NOTHING of yearly levels. I didn't see any difference in my electric bill, but I turned it off for now, around 4 or so. In my case it was mostly suction, for there was little CFM comming out of the pipe. I will be installing a pipe up through the roof.
before winter. I would suggest getting a monitor as I did.
greg
:eek:

radongreg1 05-05-2009 10:58 AM

Might add, a level of 16 is supposed to be like smoking a pack of cigs a day. If you smoke a pack a day, add 1=2 packs a day. The level in my house in December could have been over 30= at least 2 packs a day. I can only guess that it was about that the last two years before I RECHECKED my radon level.:eek:

greg


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