your home. As our systems are guaranteed to reduce your radon levels, our main focus is on making the system blend into your home.
There are several methods that we use to lower radon levels in your home. Some methods prevent radon from entering the building while others reduce high levels of radon gas that has already entered the building. The EPA recommends methods which prevent the entry of radon altogether.
Any information that you may have regarding the construction of your property will help us determine the best method for mitigating. Prior to designing a system, we will perform a visual inspection of the property and design a system that considers specific features of the building. If this visual inspection fails to provide enough information, we will need to perform diagnostic tests to help design the best radon mitigation system for your property. Sometimes we use a smoke puffer to find the source and direction of air movement. We learn air flow sources and directions by watching a small amount of smoke that we shoot into holes, drains, sumps, and along cracks. The sources of air flow indicate probable radon routes.
Another type of diagnostic test is a soil communication test. This test uses a vacuum cleaner and a device called a micro-manometer to determine how easily air can move from one point to another under the slab. We insert a vacuum cleaner hose in one small hole and using the micro-manometer in a second small hole, we can see how air flow is affected from the force of the vacuum cleaner's suction. Watching pressure differentials during a soil communication test helps us determine which configuration will work most efficiently in your home.
Certain factors can determine the type of system required without the need for diagnostic testing. Specific foundation designs, the type of material under the building and our experience with similarly constructed buildings and similar radon test results all play a major role in the type of system we install.
Types of Systems
Radon in Air
A variety of methods are used to reduce high radon levels in buildings. The system that is best for you depends on several factors. Buildings in the midwest are generally categorized according to a foundation design of basement, slab-on-grade (concrete poured at ground level) or crawl space. Some buildings use a combination of these and require installation of more than one type of radon mitigation system.
There are many different radon mitigation systems in use throughout the country. However, due to our hot summers and very cold winters, only a few of those systems are commonly put to use here in the midwest.
A few examples examples of commonly used radon mitigation systems:
Active Soil Depressurization:
This is by far the most commonly installed system in the Midwest. A three to five inch hole is cored through the concrete slab, sometimes in more than one location. Five to ten gallons of sub-slab material (sand, gravel, etc.) is then excavated through the hole. This creates a suction point. Special PVC piping is then installed and run above the roof line. This may be done through closets in the house, interior walls, through a garage or any of a hundred-plus other routes. The pipe is attached to the intake side of a radon specific exhaust/suction fan which is mounted in a non-livable area of the building. Additional piping is then connected to the output side of the fan and terminates outdoors, above the roofline. All contributing cracks and holes in the floor are sealed with a poly-based sealant. When the system is activated, the fan suction creates a negative pressure field below the slab and draws radon gas to the suction pit and up the pipe before it can enter the living space. The radon gas is then exhausted to the outside air where it quickly dissipates. A passive system monitor is installed on the system that indicates the system is functioning. We can optionally install an active monitor that will alert you to a system malfunction.
Sub-membrane systems are installed in buildings that have a crawlspace or basement with a dirt floor or other material such as ledge-cropping. This system is a network of special perforated pipe placed along the surface of the floor. The entire floor is covered a polyethylene or rubber vapor barrier. A single pipe exits the barrier. A damper is installed within the pipe to regulate airflow. The remaining system is identical to the sub-slab system.
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