Passing comments about radon levels in these here hills finally motivated us to make the order from the state for a radon sampling kit. We went through the motions of collecting the sample and sending it back for analysis. Results were mailed back a couple weeks later and the numbers were a bit startling. A whopping 26 pCi/L. That’s enough to grow a spare appendage! When feeling stressed, my mom used to say, “I only have 2 hands!” …How fortunate.
This is the plan for our particular situation:
1. Seal all floor cracks with concrete caulk. Allow to dry and cure.
2. Hammer drill a 4” diameter hole through the concrete floor, about 2 feet from the northeast corner of the house. This location presented no structural complications and avoided the north/south running floor beams. It was also close to an electrical outlet, allowing the fan to be hard wired. Exterior connections need to be water tight.
3. Scoop out 5 gallons worth of gravel from under the floor to create a vacuum pocket. 4. Epoxy an appropriate length of 4” PVC into the hole. Elbow and run the pipe horizontally to the outside of the house.
The photos spell out the remainder of the project. Make sure to glue all PVC joints as a professional plumber would. Paul chose a fan designed to run 24/7, and capable of maintaining a negative pressure of ½” of water. At our altitude of 7,000 feet, this equals about 2” of water at sea level. He was also careful to choose a fan that would be compatible with our solar panel setup.
If you are interested in attempting an installation like this, we highly recommend contacting Val Riedman at Healthy Air Solutions for expert advice on putting together a system that works for you. Perhaps this summer we will finally get all the PVC painted to blend better with the house…it’s on the list. Once this mitigation system was up and running a couple weeks, we submitted another radon sample and the results were impressive. Less than .7 picocuries. Not measurable! This system continues to run like a champ.
ABSURD:It seems most folks are aware of the fact that we live in an area with high radon levels. Yet, choose to ignore the threat rather than deal with it. I think in the real estate market, acknowledgment of high levels of radon gas in a home might reduce its value. So, homeowners fall back on "plausible deniability", and risk a higher probability of disease to preserve their homes value. I know…ABSURD. If we ignore it, maybe it will go away.
SENSIBLE:Get tested and deal with it. Preserve your health. We spent roughly $360 for materials needed for this project, and $20 for the 2 radon tests.
UNFORTUNATE:Our heating cost increased! We can only guess that the pulling of air from under the slab kinda negates the foam insulation. 1 year later we countered the effect by installing a window insulation system called Window Quilt. Heating cost went back down. Such is the balancing act of passive solar design.
Small herd of elk
The insulating wrap is for noise reduction. 4" pipe is recommended over 3" because it is quieter.
Area Tested Result (pCi/L)
First Floor <0.4
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