RADON REMEDIATION


I had the radon checked in the basement 1 yr ago. It measured 6 pc/L. I paid to have a sub slab depressurization system put in. It maintains 2.5 inches of water vacuum. I also installed an electronic continuous radon monitor. In the summer when the swamp cooler runs the radon level drops to almost zero. In the winter the furnace runs and the levels go up to 16 pc/L. The sub slab system is useless as the soil is bentonite clay, it has zero porosity. The contractor guaranteed results but it is like pulling teeth.
I want to pressurize the basement to stop the radon. I'm thinking of forcing air from the first floor into a semi sealed basement through a floor register via a duct fan. Here's my questions:
1. Can I use a radon fan to pressurize the basement?
2. If so, will it operate ok upside down?
3. Will excessive over pressurization cause problems with the furnace and hot water heater (both natural gas) in the basement?
4. How many inches of overpressurization is ok for the basement? I have a filter manometer to measure this with.
5. Is there a better way to do this?
6. What fan would be best?
I want the system to run quietly for years w/o maintenance.
Thanks all,
The "Tool"
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mr. Tool wrote:

I seriously doubt you will ever "presssurize" a basement.
Besides the porous building construction, there are those pesky gas appliances. Assuming the furnace and heater are natural draft, any excess air you manage to force into the basement will simply bypass up the draft diverter to the chimney.
Jim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Speedy Jim wrote:

The swamp cooler obviously pressurized the basement. The resistance of the heater flues will cause a pressure in the basement. I'm worried about too much air flow causing havoc with the pilots.
Thanks,
The "Tool"
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I would guess that the furnace is sucking air (radon) from the cracks in the floor, etc when the gas is actually burning, i.e combustion. Maybe you could add a fresh air vent to the furnace area to "allow" it to suck in outside air and not cause negative pressure in the basement. Just a guess. But, I would lean on the contractor as hard a possible.
Mr. Tool wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Art Todesco wrote:

The fresh air intake would definitely help. However, it is a 40+ yr old cast iron boiler that does not have an air intake port. It sucks air up through the whole bottom of the furnace so I would be letting lots of cold air into the basement. Thanks,
Mr. "Tool"
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mr. Tool wrote:

Wall-up the boiler. Feed the air to the new room.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Don't be so stupid, troll.
<snip>
--
Keith

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
krw wrote:

The EPA publication:
http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/consguid.html
states:
"House/room pressurization uses a fan to blow air into the basement or living area from either upstairs or outdoors. It attempts to create enough pressure at the lowest level indoors (in a basement for example) to prevent radon from entering into the house. The effectiveness of this technique is limited by house construction, climate, other appliances in the house, and occupant lifestyle. In order to maintain enough pressure to keep radon out, the doors and windows at the lowest level must not be left opened, except for normal entry and exit. This approach generally results in more outdoor air being introduced into the home, which can cause moisture intrusion and energy penalties. Consequently, this technique should only be considered after the other, more-common techniques have not sufficiently reduced radon."
Radon fans are designed to work for years w/o worry. I want to know if using one to pump air from the first floor into the basement is the best solution. My concerns are that the radon fan is made to suck under load and I want it to blow under very little load. This changes the torque loading on the motor and I'd like to know if that is worth doing. A radon fan also fits nicely into pvc tubing. To get away from putting a loop in the line I'd line to mount the fan upside down from its normal operating position. Does anyone know of similarly housed fans for this purpose? There is very little information on this on the internet.
The swamp cooler pressurizes the basement to about 0.75 inches of water and I believe that is stopping the radon from entering. The clay soil and the contractor I believe has ruled out sub surface slab suction. I don't want anymore tubes stuck into my finished basement. I have seen the pressurization work with the swamp cooler. I simply want to approach an optimum solution with regard to cost, noise and space used up.
I appreciate all the help and suggestions and hope that kwr isn't embarrassed by learning something useful from this discussion. Thanks to everyone,
Act and think in peace and love,
Mr. "Tool"
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
you will certainlt bother basement chimney devices with your plan. this also requires climate info, see: http://www.google.com/custom?domains=buildingscience.com&cof=GALT%3A%23095209%3BS%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.buildingscience.com%3BGL%3A0%3BVLC%3A%23D06838%3BAH%3Acenter%3BBGC%3A%23F8F8E9%3BLC%3A%23095209%3BGFNT%3Agray%3BL%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.buildingscience.com%2Fimages%2Flogo_buildingscience.gif%3BALC%3A%23999999%3BT%3A%23000000%3BGIMP%3Ablack%3BAWFID%3A7131a4c3237ffe09%3B&q=radon&sa=Search&sitesearch=buildingscience.com or search radon at: www.buildingscience.com
Mr. Tool wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
this website says their fans are 100% speed controllable. perhaps if your monitoring system has an output; you could vary the speed of the fan to match automatically. but if it's just a seasonal radon variation, perhaps add a variable speed control if permitted in your building's code requirements. mfg link at: http://www.fantech.net/radon.pdf and radon at: http://www.energyfederation.org/consumer/default.php/cPath/1631_1632_1304
Mr. Tool wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
If the boiler is 40+ years old, I'd look into whether new ones are available that will pull combustion air from outside. All the new high efficiancy gas fired forced air ones that I've seen do this. Would think it probable that you could get this in a boiler as well. That would directly solve the problem of the furnace drawing basement air and with a new furnace, likely save you some energy cost as well.
I would think one risk with pressurizing is you might wind up blowing radon concentration from the basement into the living space.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
buffalobill wrote:

Thank you! Great information from you and everyone!
I will bring in outside air for my furnace. It is in a large closet with vents. I'll close off the vents and make sure good outside air flow goes to the furnace. The furnace air will be isolated from the basement air. I'll pressurize the basement with the adjustable fan and monitor the levels.
Thanks everyone for all the great help!
Now I've got to chop through the brick facing to get outside air. Ugh!
The "Tool"
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
What about a sealer? This site talks of a radon sealer.......
http://www.radonseal.com/concrete-sealers.htm
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Tool,
make sure there are no major leaks in the RETURN ducts in the basement which would lower the pressure in the basement when the furnace runs... also I have added a fresh air intake duct ( a small dryer type duct) to feed fresh outside air to my return ducts. This pull in fresh outside air when the furnace runs and tends to pressurize the entire house a little...
this air will eventually feed the combustion also
you are on the right track in my opinion, try to raise the pressure a bit in the house especially the basment...also seal all cracks at the upper levels of the house where the warm air leaks out... Mark
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Use products only as described.

You would want to warm humid air, in the summer, or cold, dry air, in the winter, to your own house?

contact a licensed radon remediation company, and do some reading about it from the EPA site.

later,
tom @ www.Consolidated-Loans.info
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I too think he is on theright track.
provide a easy source of combustion air for vented appliances.
seal all floor and other cracks to minmize radon infiltration INCLUDING the top of the sill plate where it meets the foundation wall.
If all else fails a friend added a small comuter muffin fan and a small air intake on opposing sides of the basement to ventilate what radon does seep in
some around here report GREAT reductions by tying a interior french drain into the radon system so the exhaust fan pulls from all around the basement. A great option if you have water troubles
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.