Radon mitigation is any method used to reduce radon concentrations in the living breathing zones of vacant buildings or Radon in water supplies. Radon is an essential contributor to environmental radiation exposure. It is an odorless and tasteless chemical that occurs naturally in soil, rocks, and wood. The concentration of this gas in building structures has increased dramatically over the years and is now considered a health risk.
Radon gas can penetrate the gaps between the slabs in an inner floor and thus can build up in occupied space in a home or other building. The type of radon-laden air that you or your family are breathing in affects your health and your family’s health. Indoor air pollution consists of all sources of Radon that can be breathed into your living breathing zone, including: Radon from the ground, Radon that seep into cracks and crevices in the floors and walls, and Radon that leaks from older appliances and ducts.
If you have an existing Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) problem, your radon mitigation specialist can advise you on the best ways to improve the ventilation in your home or office. Improving the ventilation in your home or office will prevent the increased concentration of radon gas in your living zones that results from increased indoor humidity levels. Some common ventilation issues include: insufficient mechanical ventilation, inadequate venting for wet basements, and poor draft control.
Improving ventilation in a building includes improving the mechanical ventilation system, installing effective ceiling and wall fans, installing new windows and doors that are sealed, painting the exterior surfaces of the home to prevent penetration of Radon, and using non-slip floor mats. Many homes and offices that are older contain high levels of radon gas, often due to the presence of cracked and deteriorating building materials and inadequate venting. The radon gas emitted from older homes can be very dangerous if it is breathed in for prolonged periods of time. Radon gas has been shown to cause a variety of health problems including: cancer, fatigue, blood pressure problems, sleep disorders and fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, muscle and joint pain, and respiratory problems such as bronchitis, emphysema, and COPD. The long term health consequences of Radon Gas poisoning are serious and include: kidney failure, reduced functionality of the immune system, congenital heart defects, shortness of breath, coughing and lung congestion, and even death.
Radon gas can also enter homes through a basement. Unfortunately, a high concentration of Radon exists in older homes because the soil surrounding the home is generally poor in quality. The soil may contain many times more Radon than what is typically found in soils in the community. Radon can seep into the crawl space of a home and in older crawl spaces, which mean that there are large amounts of Radon present in the home. The presence of Radon in a home is especially dangerous because the Radon gas has a very short half life. As soon as it is breathed in, Radon will not break down but will continue to move into the lungs and over time will cause deadly problems.
Radon mitigation is often required for newly built homes. Many builders choose to install their own radon mitigation equipment on new construction to meet OSHA requirements and to save construction costs. Unfortunately, there are often high levels of Radon present in homes built using outdated or sub-standard equipment. Basements that have been isolated from the house are also at risk for high levels of Radon. Radon professionals will be able to detect high levels of Radon and perform effective radon mitigation techniques that can effectively reduce radon levels in the home.
Radon mitigation systems can also be installed on existing homes that are being torn down or renovated. These systems can also be installed in new homes that have not been properly insulated and sealed. Radon abatement can significantly reduce the levels of Radon present in a home, as well as reducing the amount of heat that passes through uninsulated crawl spaces. Newer houses will more likely be constructed with tighter crawl space and floor design specifications to make them more radon resistant.
A Radon mitigation system will generally consist of a pipe and a vent fan. The pipe will be attached to a flare that is located inside the home. In older homes, the vent fan was installed inside the main pipe coming into the home. In more modern homes, both the pipe and the fan are installed inside the existing main pipe. Radon gas mitigation systems will vent fans to help move Radon outside the home and through vent pipe openings, while at the same time, replacing old ventilation tubes with new ones that do not contain Radon.