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Radon Gas Removal

Radon Gas Removal • ERV

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How to Remove Radon Gas

(Radon Gas Removal)

Why remove Radon Gas?
How many people develop lung cancer because of exposure to radon?

Cigarette smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer. Radon represents a far smaller risk for this disease, but it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Scientists estimate that approximately 15,000 to 22,000 lung cancer deaths per year are related to radon.

Although the association between radon exposure and smoking is not well understood, exposure to the combination of radon gas and cigarette smoke creates a greater risk for lung cancer than either factor alone. The majority of radon-related cancer deaths occur among smokers. 

Source: Radon and Cancer: Questions and Answers - National Cancer Institute

A blower can be installed to increase ventilation which will help dilute and attenuate the radon levels in your home.  But using a blower has the drawback of exhausting heated or cooled air from your home which increases your energy expense.  Instead of using a blower, consider an energy recovery ventilator (ERV)An ERV will increase ventilation by introducing outdoor air while using the heated or cooled air being exhausted to warm or cool the incoming air.  ERVs can be designed to ventilate all or part of your home, although they are more effective in reducing radon levels when used to ventilate only the basement.  If properly balanced and maintained, they ensure a constant degree of ventilation throughout the year.  ERVs also can improve air quality in houses that have other indoor pollutants.  We offer an excellent ERV to ventilate spaces in your home such as rooms or basements.

"At present, EPA does not recommend using air cleaners to reduce levels of radon and its decay products. The effectiveness of these devices is uncertain because they only partially remove the radon decay products and do not diminish the amount of radon entering the home. EPA plans to do additional research on whether air cleaners are, or could become, a reliable means of reducing the health risk from radon."
  The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality

U.S. EPA/Office of Air and Radiation
Office of Radiation and Indoor Air (6609J)
Cosponsored with the Consumer Product Safety Commission
EPA 402-K-93-007

An ERV is only one option for removal of Radon Gas and the one which is the subject of our discussion..  Others include:

  1. Depressurization and associated techniques basically involve removing air from the area beneath the house slab, basement, or crawlspace and exhausting it and any accumulated radon gas to an area where it it is dispersed and diluted so as not to be a serious health hazard.
  2. Sealing cracks and other openings in the foundation is a basic part of most approaches to radon reduction. Sealing the cracks limits the flow of radon into your home thereby making other radon reduction techniques more effective and cost-efficient.  It also reduces the loss of conditioned air.  EPA does not recommend the use of sealing alone to reduce radon because, by itself, sealing has not been shown to lower radon levels significantly or consistently. It is difficult to identify and permanently seal the places where radon is entering. Normal settling of your house opens new entry routes and reopens old ones.
  3. 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.
  4. Some natural ventilation occurs in all houses.  By opening windows, doors, and vents on the lower floors you increase the ventilation in your house.  This increase in ventilation mixes outdoor air with the indoor air containing radon, and can result in reduced radon levels.  However, once windows, doors and vents are closed, radon concentrations most often return to previous values within about 12 hours.  Natural ventilation in any type of house should normally be regarded as only a temporary radon reduction approach because of the following disadvantages: loss of conditioned air and related discomfort, greatly increased costs of conditioning additional outside air, and security concerns.

More information about energy recovery ventilators (ERV's)

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