Radon Testing and removal
RADON TESTING SERVICES
Clean Touch Environmental performs professional Level radon testing for concerned homeowners and for those in Real Estate Transactions.
Our service area for radon testing includes Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia.
Every home has radon. We are a planet that has radioactive minerals and elements. The decay chain of these minerals eventually decay into radon, which is a gas, and as thus leaves the interior of the earth.
The gas either escapes to the outside or is pulled into our homes, into our breathing space.
Houses are dynamic and change over time. These changes can cause the radon level in the home to change. The EPA and IEMA recommend retesting your home every two years or after you make a dynamic change (adding insulation, new windows, new exterior doors, siding, finishing a basement).
This is a recommendation that includes homes that currently have an active radon mitigation system or a passive (skeletal) radon resistant new construction vent.
Clean Touch Environmental sincerely cares about you and your family’s long-term health. Each one of us has loved ones of our own. That’s why we go the extra mile to ensure you get the right system reducing your home’s radon levels as low as possible, often below 1 pCi/L. We employ certified experts with extensive experience and education who are dedicated to keeping your family safe.
There are several different types of active and passive radon mitigation systems. The construction and age of your home will determine the solution that is right for you.
A passive radon mitigation system is a system without a fan. This type of system may have been installed when your home was being built. It typically includes:
- 4 inches of rock under the concrete floor
- Drain tile pipe
- Six-mil poly between rock and concrete slab
- Vent pipe running from beneath concrete slab and exhausting 1 foot above your roof
- Outlet next to vent pipe in attic
To check if your home has a passive radon mitigation system, take a look in your basement. In the mechanical room, storage room, or under the stairs, you should see a 3-inch white or black plastic pipe that comes up through the concrete floor or sump basket cover, goes up to the ceiling, and disappears inside an interior wall of your home. The pipe should have a label that says, “This is a component of a radon mitigation system, do not tamper with or disconnect.” Or, the installer may have simply written “radon” on the pipe.
Just because your home has a passive radon reduction system, it doesn’t necessarily mean your family is safe. Studies have shown that most passive systems only reduce radon levels by about 50 percent. When high winds blow over the top of the vent pipe on your roof, radon levels can actually increase.
Often, the plumber that installed the system was not trained or certified to do radon mitigation. There is no national standard for radon-resistant new construction for builders to follow. Consequently, many systems are installed incorrectly.
Some of the common mistakes we find are:
- Vent pipes filled with concrete
- Vent pipes coming out of the sump basket
- Cracks and gaps in the concrete floor that are unsealed or have opened up as the concrete continued to shrink
- Unsealed bath/shower drains that are open to soil
- Unsealed plumbing penetrations
- Unsealed sump covers
- Untreated areas of the home, such as crawl spaces
- No room in the attic to add a radon fan
It’s possible to convert a passive radon system into an active one. We add a radon fan to create suction under your home. This is done by cutting out part of the vent pipe in the attic and adding a radon fan.
If your home was built before June 2009, you’ll likely need a drain tile depressurization (DTD) or sub slab depressurization (SSD) radon reduction system. This is also referred to as active soil depressurization or ASD. Both are active radon mitigation systems. They create a vacuum under your home that gives the radon an escape route.
Drain tile depressurization utilizes existing drain tile (perforated pipe) below the concrete floor of your home to create an easy path to pull the radon gas into the mitigation system. A sub-slab depressurization system works by creating suction in a void created below the floor to draw the radon-laden soil gas into the radon system.
DTD systems are typically very effective at reducing radon concentrations and often the easiest and least expensive systems to install. One drawback to a home with drain tile is we often have to seal many air leaks. These leaks are usually found where the concrete floor meets the foundation wall and at the tops of concrete block walls. If the basement is finished it makes it hard to seal air leaks. A radon fan that can move a lot of air may be needed. These high-flow systems come at a price, including the extra cost to run a bigger radon fan and the loss of conditioned air (air you are paying to heat and cool) that is drawn into the radon system and exhausted outside.
With any active radon mitigation system, the key to getting your levels low is creating a vacuum under your entire home. The only way to know if we’re achieving this is to take the time to do the diagnostic testing. In other words, if we create a suction point in the mechanical room in the basement, is the vacuum under the home reaching the bedroom on the other side of the basement where your kids sleep?
Knowing Your Active Radon Mitigation System Is Working
We install a U-tube manometer that measures the suction of a fan. If the fluid levels in the U-tube are different, the radon fan is on. If the fluid levels are equal at zero, the fan is not working. You should call for service. In addition to the manometer, we offer a low airflow alarm that starts to beep within 30 seconds if the airflow in the pipe drops, indicating a problem.
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