How to Fix High Radon

Radon - What You Need to Know Series

We get it. Most of us don’t know much about Radon.

If you are like most people, you have a vague idea what radon is and know it is possibly dangerous to your health. Even though we have known about the risks posed by radon in homes for 30 years or so, public awareness is still quite low. Oddly, while many of us worry about things like the dye in our foods we give little thought to the radioactive gas we are breathing in our homes.

This is not the PhD in radon but the field guide or the handbook.

Exterior Radon Mitigation Installation Example

What do I need to know?

While you can find much more information on our site if you are interested, this is the “Radon 101” you need to make informed decisions about Radon for your family.

How to Fix High Radon

How hard is it to fix high radon?

The good news is that in most homes high radon can be fixed in less than a day of work and for less money than you might think. There are several possible approaches to reducing radon in your home, but by far the most effective and cost effective method is to create suction under the lowest level of your home. This is often referred to sub slab depressurization. These systems can often reduce the radon in your home by more than 90%.

Why does radon come into my home?

Radon is an inert gas. This may sound like it means it is not dangerous but rather it means it does not react or combine with other elements. So, radon does not form molecules but stays as individual atoms. This means that it can come into your home through cracks too small to see or even through the slab itself.

Radon is typically pulled into most homes as a result of lower air pressure inside the house than outside. This pressure difference is usually caused by environmental factors such as wind or temperature and the operation of household appliances (especially your furnace). This means your house is basically sucking on the soil all the time, actively pulling radon into your home.

Radon Mitigation via sub slab depressurization works because it makes the space below your slab lower pressure than your home. When this happens air molecules are less likely to move from below the slab into your home.

This is a simple diagram of a single suction point sub slab depressurization radon mitigation system (left) and a multiple suction point sub slab depressurization radon mitigation system (right) connected directly to the slab.

Sub Slab Depressurization

For homes with a slab either below your basement or below your first floor in slab homes the installer drills one or more suction points through your slab, removing some dirt from the below the slab, and creating suction on the material below the slab.

What about my sump pit and system?

For homes with a sump pit and pipe system underneath the sump system typically helps make the system far more effective as the suction from the radon mitigation system can easily extend throughout the sump system.

In many cases with a sump pit, the pit itself is a good place to create the suction on the slab. Local regulations differ on this but it is an effective way to create suction on your slab. In this instance no holes are drilled through the slab and the sump pit itself is used.

Radon Mitigation System - Sump System Suction Points

This is a simple diagram of a single suction point sub slab depressurization radon mitigation system connected at the sump pit.

Radon Mitigation System - Crawlspace Suction Points

This is a simple diagram of a radon mitigation system with a suction point for the basement slab connected at the sump pit and a suction point for the crawlspace connected to the crawlspace membrane.

What about my crawlspace?

Some homes have a space underneath, smaller than a basement and with a dirt floor. In such a crawlspace there is no slab to create suction underneath.

To mitigate radon coming in through a crawlspace the installer must seal up the crawlspace floor with durable plastic that is sealed to the walls and supports. Suction is then created on this plastic covering.

This type of mitigation works well but does take longer to install and cost more than other types of installs.

Where does the system get installed?

Every house is different. That said, there are two primary ways to route a radon mitigation system.

In the most common installation the suction pipe goes from the suction point(s) below your home to the outside where the fan is mounted on the side or back of your home. The pipe then extends up the wall to your roof line to discharge the radon safely into the atmosphere. This is a standard exterior installation and the most affordable option.

In some homes it is possible to route the suction pipe from the lowest level of your home vertically through the house (often garage), and install the fan in your attic. The discharge pipe then exits through your roof like a plumbing vent.

This is more of an aesthetic difference than a functional one. Both types of installs work well and last a long time.

Radon Mitigation System - Inside vs Outside Installation

This is a simple diagram comparing a external radon mitigation system (left) installation to am internal radon mitigation system installation (right).

How many suction points do I need?

This is determined by several factors:

  • The foundation type(s) under your home,
  • The number of foundation types under your home,
  • Whether or not you have a sump system installed,
  • The size of your home,
  • Your radon levels, and
  • How permeable the material below your slab is.

Most homes built in the last 20 years have relatively modest sized slabs, permeable sub slab material, and sump systems installed. For these homes one suction point is typically enough.  You might need more than one suction point if you have one or more of these:

  • a very large home,
  • very high radon,
  • an older home, or
  • multiple foundation types under your home (a basement and a crawlspace for instance).

Your Trusted Pro will determine whether you need more than one suction point as a part of their design of your Radon Mitigation System.

How do I find out what I need and how much it will cost?

Thankfully most radon pros will be glad to give you a free, no obligation quote on what it will take to fix your radon levels.

In most cases they will need to come out in person to give you an accurate quote, but sometimes you may be able to get a quote over the phone.

We know picking a qualified contractor is a challenge. So we provide a service where we can connect you with up to 3 qualified local radon pros who can help with your issue. You can click below to request quotes from local pros. We will have them give you a call to set up your quote and answer your questions. You can read more about how to choose a Pro in How to Choose a Radon Pro. You can also read about how we verify radon pros in our TrustedPro program.

Radon Mitigation Pro Giving Free Quote

How should you pick a radon pro to fix your radon?

While the basics of hiring a radon pro are similar to hiring any contractor. It is a good idea to get multiple quotes to make sure you are getting a fair price, you should check reviews and qualifications etc.

If you would like more detailed recommendations check out our article on How to Choose a Radon Pro.

*Disclaimer: All content in this report, including: text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.

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