sealed sump pit for radon mitigation

I'm about to finish my basement and wanted to test the sump pump, but the cover is sealed with silicone caulk for radon mitigation (there's a radon pipe coming out of the pit). So my question is that if the pit is sealed, then if the basement flooded, how would the water get into the pit for the sump-pump to activate? Would I need to manually break the seal and open the lid? If I'm out of town when this happens, am I just screwed? I thought maybe there was a gap between walls and floor as had been suggested, but it's sealed with the same caulk as the pit lid. Has anyone seen this before? Am I just missing something? I've never had water in the basement, but want to be safe rather than sorry. Thanks
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On Sep 27, 7:59 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

The purpose of the sump pump isn't to pump water out of the basement if it fills up with water. It's purpose is to collect water from the drain tile and pump it out of the house. If you took the cover off, you would see the drains running into the sump crock.
JK
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in other words the sump fills with water from UNDER the floor so it still works with the cover in place...
is the radon pipe you mentioned hooked to a ventilator. If the pipe is pulling air in from the sump, then the seal is not very critical, even if the seal is broken there will be a negaive pressure in the pit due to the ventilator and it will pull air...
but you want to keep it resonably well sealed so that it pulls most of the air from underneath the floor, but if it pulls a little through the seal, its not a real problem..
You should manually run the sump pump for a few seconds every few months so that the bearings do not seize up...
Mark
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On Fri, 28 Sep 2007 09:59:45 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Do you actually have a radon problem? Most people don't, and originally, when the radon problem was discovered, remediation was only done for people who do, when they requested it.
But I would bet that a sealed sump pump and "Radon protected" housing really appeals to some people (women?) and by now, I wouldn't be surprised if they put a sealed sump and fan in every house, over a certain price perhaps, or in certain parts of the country.
How old is your house. WAs it built after radon was an issue or was it retrofitted? How expensive is it? Is it part of a development and all the other people in it have sealed sumps also? Most importantly, get a radon test and test it. I think they all have to be sent in to be analysed. When I did this 15 or 18 years ago, there were 1 day tests and 7 or 10 day tests. The longer ones are better.
A couple years after this problem was known -- I waited some until the price of test kits went down, but then my mother panicked and bought me one -- I tested my basement with the 7 or 10 day test, and I passed way below the danger level. 1/1000 of it, or something like that.

I am just an amateur, but I think so. After one of my first floods (none of which were higher than an 1/8 of an inch) I cut holes in the rubber lip of my sump pump, because the lip is almost a half inch high and I don't want to wait until the water gets that high. So far, only one of my floods has even wet the floor all the way to the sump, and I don't know if any water has ever gone into the sump, but I would still want it to be available, unless it was a source of radon.
? I know that growing up,

I would think so, but someone else will have to tell you what the cover is like inside. Mine is black plastic and I'm sure it's mostly hollow inside. I've seen one sealed sump but I doubt the owner knew anymore than if he didn't live there.
P&M

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We've owned this house for about 1.5 years, and on the initial inspection we got it radon tested and it passed by a mile. The radon kit and sealed sump are exactly what you postulated - they're put in every home in the development...ours is only 10 years old. But at the same time, radon kills and I don't want to assume that just because it wasn't a problem before that I can just go break a seal that was intentionally made without good just cause.
In fact, my situation is similar to yours in that the lip of the sump pit rises above the slab by about 1 inch, so that there would be a lot of water in the basement before it would drain into the pit, but I'd like to know if I even have that option available if need be.
Thanks for your advice.
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On Fri, 28 Sep 2007 19:47:32 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote Re Re: sealed sump pit for radon mitigation:

Yes, I remember when I was a kid seeing many of my neighbors die from it. They were dropping like flies. One was only 75-years old.
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On Fri, 28 Sep 2007 19:47:32 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

So you tested for radon with the sump sealed. If you want to know what it is going to be like with it unsealed, you really have to test then.
Isn't that true? Because the cement floor might make a good seal -- always makes a good seal where it's not cracked iiuc -- but the sump doesn't have a cement floor iiuc and doesn't have cement walls. So it never makes a good seal unless it has that seal you have.
Despite all this, I don't think there is even a radon source below more than 10% of houses??? You can check that out.
I was even thinking of cutting a channel, or building levees, to take the floods from my basement sink over to the sump. But it was too much effort and I didn't want the bumps in the floor so Iwent other routes.

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On Fri, 28 Sep 2007 19:47:32 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

This is just my opinion, so take it for what it's worth. Radon is just another way to rip off the public to get more of their money. They know there's a sucker born every minute. People have lived in houses for thousands of years and have survived. In fact they once lived in caves which would seem to be more likely to get this radon, if it exists....
My only possible belief is that in newer homes, people are mostly living inside a plastic bag, with all the house wrap and styrofoam. In that case, it's not just radon, its a buildup of everything and a lack of oxygen. I for one would not buy or build such a house. I'd rather spend a few extra dollars on heating than suffocate inside a plastic bag of a house.
I'd be more worried about all the other pollutants in the home and the chemicals coming from all the polystyrene, the vinyl siding, and all the other synthetics, than the invisible radon that seems more like believing in ghosts that fact.
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Maybe, and yes.

Radon definitely exists. It's an inert gas with a relatively short half-life than can suddendly turn into a radioactive heavy metal that can easily get set into your lungs. Once there it's a good candidate to start a cancer growth.

Good point. Tight homes will obviously have a higher concentration of radon than those that leak like a sieve.

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wrote:

OK, please explain where it comes from. (yes, obviously the ground). I mean what causes it? Is it similar to methane gas, and if so, why is it not explosive or flammable? How can a heavy metal exist in the form of a gas? That seems impossible. Considering the name, it sounds like it would come from Radium, and thus be a radioactive substance. However, I do know that radiation will go right thru most materials like concrete, plastic, wood, etc, so therefore it's not radiation. At least with asbestos, (even though I think that is another over-rated scare, used to get revenue), there is an actual substance that can be seen. Radon is like the invisible ghost out to scare the money out of people's wallets. However, I am willing to listen and learn more........ And just to learn, my house does not have a basement and it has a ventilated crawl space. I'd assume I dont have anything to worry about, right?

My house dont leak like a sieve, but it's not air tight. It was built in the late 70's. Could use a little more insulation, but even if I were to reside it, I'd never apply house wrap or styrofoam. My belief is that both the house, and it's occupant need to breathe. Even in the winter I often open a window for at least a few minutes a few times per week to bring in fresh air. There is less oxygen in the outside air in the winter anyhow, because plants expel oxygen in the summer, but in winter there are no plants to add to it. I have always thought the reason people get sick more often in winter is because of the lower oxygen levels in the air.
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On Oct 1, 1:01?am, snipped-for-privacy@notmail.com wrote:

radon gas is a by product of the decay of uranium. I was once in a public cave where you could see specks of it glow with all the lights off.
a air to air heat exchager is a good thing for tight buildings...
reclaims some heat while still bringing in fresh air
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On Mon, 01 Oct 2007 00:01:55 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@notmail.com wrote:

No. It's an element, not a compound, and afaik exists one atom at a time. Yes, that's it. If it could combine even with itself, it wouldn't be inert, like the other noble (and inert) gases, Helium, Neon, Argon, Krypton, Xenon, and the iiuc theoretical Uuo, which I don't find explained anywhere in the article.

That does sound strange. Although a molecule of some complicated hydrocarbon that floats like gasoline might well be heavier than radon. I don't think it's enough to say that the boiling temperature is below 70. WHY is the boiling temperature so low? (BTW, it says the freezing point is -96F. The boiling point is -79.1F, which isn't much warmer. So it's only a liquid in between those two temps.)
Considering the name, it

It says it's named after radium, Ra. The atomic number of radon, Rn, is 86. Of radium it is....88. That's the number of protons. Electrons don't weigh much, but the more protons there are, the more neutrons are needed to keep the protons in the nucleus from repelling each other and splitting the nuclues 88 protons need a lot more than 88 neutrons, more like 150 or so. There is more to this than since I was in school, but this is as far as I got.
Discovered in 1900.
I don't like to cite wikipedia, but what the heck: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radon
Not cited http://www.radon.com /
"Radon is a significant contaminant that affects indoor air quality worldwide. Radon gas from natural sources can accumulate in buildings and reportedly causes 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States alone.[1]" They may be counting miners in this, but I think more than half of the 21,000 are homeowners. We were down to 35,000 traffic deaths a year, and now we're getting close to 50,000 again.
But if you have radon, which can measured for a 10 dollar test,
Yeah, you're right. One of the sources of radon is radium:
Isotopes
There are twenty known isotopes of radon. The most stable isotope is 222Rn, which is a decay product (daughter product) of 226Ra, has a half-life of 3.823 days and emits alpha particles. 220Rn is a natural decay product of thorium and is called thoron. It has a half-life of 55.6 seconds and also emits alpha radiation. 219Rn is derived from actinium, is called actinon, is an alpha emitter and has a half-life of 3.96 seconds.
The full decay series of 238U which produces natural radon is as follows (with half-lives):
238U (4.5 x 109 yr), 234Th (24.1 days), 234Pa (1.18 min), 234U (250,000 yr), 230Th (75,000 yr), 226Ra (1,600 yr), 222Rn (3.82 days), 218Po (3.1 min), 214Pb (26.8 min), 214Bi (19.7 min), 214Po (164 s), 210Pb (22.3 yr), 210Bi (5.01 days), 210Po (138 days), 206Pb (stable).
A long way to get lead. Now if we could only get gold.
"The danger of radon exposure in dwellings was discovered in 1984 with the case of Stanley Watras, an employee at the Limerick nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania. Watras set off the radiation alarms on his way into work for two weeks straight while authorities searched for the source of the contamination. They were shocked to find that the source was astonishingly high levels of radon, around 100,000 Bq/m3 (2,700 pCi/L), in his house's basement and it was not related to the nuclear plant. The risks associated with living in his house were estimated to be equivalent to smoking 135 packs of cigarettes every day. Following this event, which was highly publicized, national radon safety standards were set, and radon detection and ventilation became a standard homeowner concern.
"Radon is the second most frequent cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoking, and radon-induced lung cancer is thought to be the 6th leading cause of cancer death overall.[2][3]"

There is alpha, beta, and gamma radiation. Alpha can be stopped comparitively easily. So it won't go through a cement floor. In fact I think a piece of cardboard will stop it, but the earth is porous and the gas (not the radiation) can seep through the "pores". The smallest amount of alpha radiation is equivalent to a helium nucleus, I think, 2 protons and 2 neutrons. Since protons and neutrons weigh about 1, then 4 of them would weigh 4, and that would account for why it goes from 226Ra to 222Rn in one step. But if it is coming from a gas, a atom in the air, and you've inhaled the air before the atom decays, you get the radiation straight into the lung tissue. They didn't make this up.
The more they know about the world, the more complicated it gets. They answer one question and it gives rise to two more.
It has some positive uses, and some quack uses, too.

It does seem that way. It seems if the asbestos wrapping on pipes isn't disturbed, it can stay the way it is for decades, but I haven't looked in to it. Maybe even in the basement it falls apart?

I leave my windows open 7 or 8 months a year, and it leaks the rest of the year too. I can even see light around the front door. I should fix some of this stuff. I even have a dirty mark where, when the furnace wasn't working right, the air was escaping through the mail slot in the door. Have to wash it or paint.
But I passed the radon test in about 1990. I might fail now, but I think the odds on that are very slim.

You want to get rich? Come up with and sell a CO2 generator to keep plants healthy when the people and animals who live in the house are on vacation.
Now my plants never seemed to suffer, but I was never gone for more than 5 weeks once, and they were succulents. And some rich people will buy anything just to be sure. Just send me my 10 percent, for thinking of it.
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on 9/30/2007 3:49 AM snipped-for-privacy@notmail.com said the following:

How many people do you know that have survived thousands of years?

--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
  Click to see the full signature.
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wrote:

Just God !!!!!
Of course GW Bush might make that claim too <lol>
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