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Old 11-29-11, 02:39 PM   #1
Xringer
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Default Radon Reduction thread



Consumer's Guide to Radon Reduction | Radon | US EPA


Radon

"Radon is a colorless, odorless gas, a radioactive byproduct of radium.
It is part of the natural radioactive decay series starting with uranium-238.
It is radioactive with a half-life of 3.8 days, decaying by the emission of
alpha particles to polonium, bismuth, and lead in successive steps."


One has to wonder about mail-in test kits, when the half-life is so short,
(and Snail Mail is so slow).



"Where does Radon come from?

Radon is a naturally occurring radioisotope. Radioactivity is, and always has been a part of the earth. Radon-222 is one of the elements in the long radioactive decay chain from uranium-238, and the less common isotope radon-220 is part of the decay series from thorium-232. The elements above radon in the chain are relatively long-lived and of less concern for radiation exposure, but radon and the elements immediately following it in the chain are short-lived and therefore more hazardous.

Whereas the predecessors to radon in the chain are solids and will not migrate far from their place in the soil, radon is a gas and can migrate through a few feet of earth. Cohen says that on the average, about six atoms of radon emerge form every square inch of soil every second. Radon in outside air is diluted rapidly, but if it enters through a basement floor and is trapped in a tight house, it can reach high concentrations.

From Lutgens & Tarbuck there is an estimate that the top 6 feet of soil from an average acre of land contains about 50 lbs of uranium. This corresponds to about 2 to 3 parts per million. "


Wow, that seems like a lot of uranium..

Easy to use radon detectors aren't cheap, but they aren't too expensive either.

Radon Monitor and Alarm | Safety Siren Radon Gas Detector | Safe Home Products, Inc.

Amazon.com: Safety Siren Pro Series HS71512 3 Radon Gas Detector: Home Improvement


Mine is the Pro-2 version. It rounds up the decimal place.

manual:
http://www.safehomeproducts.com/shp2...als/radon3.pdf

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Last edited by Xringer; 12-03-11 at 07:59 PM.. Reason: Adding Manual link (pdf)
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Old 11-29-11, 03:02 PM   #2
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Default Radon Mitigation

Radon Mitigation done by professionals looks expensive.
Radon Mitigation YouTube

Radon mitigation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Could a DIYer get the same end results?

In some homes that are prone to basement flooding, installing an air-tight seal in the
basement floor is kinda out of the question.

It seems like transporting the radioactive air outdoors, might be the only option in my case.
Since my floor slab has many small cracks, and there are four (4) large sump pump holes.

I've been testing my basement. We've added three new sump pump holes.
I just finished a 48 hour test in a new sump hole, expecting a reading of 2 or 3, but got 39 !!
The highest I've ever seen was a 6 from a friend's basement. He lives on a granite hill.

I wanted worse case, so I had the sensor unit a few inches above the floor, right above the hole.

I've started another 48 hour test with the unit (per the manual) about 2 feet above the hole.

If it's still high, (above 3) I'm going to have to start planning some basement ventilation..

This evening, just for fun, I checked around the basement with a geiger counter.. Just in case.
Nothing but normal back-ground clicks..
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Old 12-01-11, 09:07 PM   #3
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Default 4 pCi/L



After 48 hours, it turned on, beeped and displayed.. 4 pCi/L ! Just one over the limit.

So, I lowered the detector back down near where it was before. About 2" off the floor. (see right frame).
It displays "--" for 48 hours after a reset.

That 39 pCi/L reading was obtained with the detector tied to the PVC pipe
right above the hole. (Which isn't a good method, per the manual).

But, I had measured the another one of the new sump holes same way and never got above 3 pCi/L..
And, a third sump hole with the detector a little higher. 16" & it was also 3 pCi/L
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Old 12-02-11, 04:31 PM   #4
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although I'm not a radon remediation expert I think you will benefit by air sealing those sump holes. Radon stacks rely on the slab being whole so the pressure under it can be dropped a little bit enticing the radon to go out the stack. When they put one in at my house they sealed up the hole in the floor where the municipal water comes in. They used a board and some 1 part foam. Air sealing doesn't have to be permanent. Seal up and cracks in the slab with an appropriate material and build some covers for the sumps. Then install a proper radon stack with a fan in the attic. With the levels you are talking about you will need a full time fan. The caps that go on top and look like a jiffy pop bag that create vacuum when being spun by air won't cut the mustard. My house had a reading of 19. It took the guys two separate penetrations in the slab sharing one stack to bring it down to a safe level. Whatever that means. No radon is safe.

Last edited by S-F; 12-02-11 at 04:41 PM..
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Old 12-02-11, 07:00 PM   #5
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Yeah, I'm going to have to do something. Not sure exactly how big the problem is at this point.
But, I'm pretty use my next results are going to tell the story.

I'll have another reading in about 18 hours. If it's high, I'll have to repeat my
survey of the other 3 sump holes. I'll want to know if the problem is just in this one area.

I've read that an increase in the water table can give you Radon surges.
If I'm lucky, maybe we won't see a continuous high level of gas from that hole.

If there is a lot of Radon being released in that one area, I'll try a quick fix,
so we won't have to be worried about even short exposures doing chores in the basement..

I'm pretty sure I can make a cover that's tight enough, so a suction hose
can be used to suck out the gas. The goal will be =< then 3 pCi/L

Finding this much Radon has been a real shocker, since I've been monitoring
the basement at least once a year, for the last 6 or 7 years.
That 39 pCi/L reading is just unbelievable.
Now that we have three new sump holes, I'll have to start a continuous test mode.

I may buy a new detector, so I can check the calibration of this unit,
and increase the speed of testing the whole basement. (And upstairs).
Sending the unit back for calibration cost $75. That's half the price of a new one.

Edit:
Or, we could move to Southwest Texas!!!
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Old 12-03-11, 01:06 PM   #6
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Just got the bad news.. 48 hour test results are 9 pCi/L
I switched to long-term mode, muted the hourly warning beep (when over 3 pCi/L)
and moved the detector back down on the PVC pipe, where 39 pCi/L reading registered.
Just want to see if that reading was a fluke or, will it zoom up there again.

Now, I've got to start doing some real planing.


Edit:
One hour later, it's up to 10 pCi/L
Edit: 19:20 now it's 11 pCi/L
Edit: Dec 4, 12:25 13 pCi/L
Edit: Dec 4, 16:15 14 pCi/L (As of now, the senor has been lowered into the sump)!
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Old 12-03-11, 05:08 PM   #7
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Heat Recovery Fan Whole House Ventilation BOTTOM ACCESS | eBay

http://www.manrose.co.uk/specificati...talogue_10.pdf

http://www.vent-axia.com/range/hr100rrs.html





http://www.vent-axia.com/files/pdf-downloads/435308.pdf

Edit: Started posting some info and got called away...
Reason: because I'm trying to think of a way to pull air out of an area of my basement,
without sucking ice cold air into the house..
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Old 12-03-11, 05:12 PM   #8
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I'm assuming that you accidentally posted that in this thread.......

?
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Old 12-03-11, 07:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S-F View Post
I'm assuming that you accidentally posted that in this thread.......

?
Not so accidentally, since it's starting to look like I'm going to be needing
to move some indoor air, outdoors..

I'm not going to try to suck all the air (and Radon gas) out from under my slab.
The first thing I'm thinking of trying, is to vacuum the Radon as it comes
up out of the sump hole.
I'm not sure about the volume of air that will need to be moved,
to suck in most of the Radon that's mixed in with it..

Now, that I can measure the Radon release in nearly real-time, I should
be able to try a simple low-volume vacuum and see any results within an hour or two.

If some flexible sump-pump hose and a small DC fan can get us into the 'safe' range, (or near it)
that might mean that one of those small Heat Recovery units (above) would work..

If the small suction isn't going to be enough, then on to Plan B..
Suncourt RDN04 Radon Mitigation Fan Kit (66028034014) | eBay
Radon Fan
One of these will move a good volume of air, but would quickly freeze
my basement during cold weather.

So, Plan B will have to incorporate a method of controlling the fan.
Use the Radon detector to control the fan motor.?.
Since the detector will beep a few times, every hour when the level is above 3 pCi/L,
it should be simple to use the beep signal to trigger a 1 hour motor run.

The motor would not run when the level was safe, but if the weather changed,
or anything caused a surge in Radon, it would come on and stay on.
'
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Old 12-04-11, 12:05 AM   #10
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Please excuse me if I'm missing the boat entirely but, as I understand it you are going to buy and install an HRV to deal with the radon instead of doing it the conventional way?

I think now is the time we assemble a cost analysis of both options. IMO there is no way that ventilating the air above the sumps will provide less radon in the house or less energy used compared to regular methods.


Although HRV's are pretty cool.

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