Date Published: November 1, 2017
A question we often get as home inspectors in Colorado is what items are needed for radon mitigation system maintenance. In this post we’ll cover general visual inspection and maintenance tips you can do as a homeowner to check and maintain your radon system. Before we get to the maintenance steps, let’s first take a quick look at how a radon mitigation system works.
How does a Radon Mitigation System Work:
The majority of radon mitigation systems installed are a type referred to as a sub-slab-depressurization-system. Sounds complicated – but it’s not. The system basically consists of a fan unit that runs 24 hours a day and creates a pull, or depressurization, to extract radon out of the soil before it has a chance to get into the home. The sub-slab part of the system means it is installed to pull radon gas from below the home – whether that’s a basement slab, crawlspace floor, or slab-on-grade construction. And yes, contrary to that old urban-myth, radon can be present in a home whether you have a basement or not – any home construction can have radon present.
The gas comes up out of the soil and doesn’t care if you have a basement or crawlspace or slab – if the radon is elevated in the soil below your home, you’ll have radon in your home. The typical radon mitigation system is made up of the following components: a fan unit that creates the depressurization; electrical power supplied to the fan; and piping which runs from the fan down to the lowest level of the home and more piping to extend from the fan up to the highest point on the outside of the home to push the radon gas out into the air. There is also typically a manometer device which gives you a visual indication that the system is operating properly.
Did you know roughly 20% of the radon tests we perform on houses with radon systems come back with higher than safe levels? The EPA recommends you get a radon test done regularly. Take advantage of our limited time $100 48 hour radon test for Colorado residents. Click here to schedule yours today.
Radon Mitigation System Maintenance
If a radon mitigation system is installed in your home, for the most part the system should take care of itself and require little maintenance or action. There are a few checks you can do to verify that the system is operating and is venting radon gas from the home properly. The following components of a system should be checked and visually verified:
Radon Fan Unit
The radon fan is the heart of the system. The fan runs 24/7 and is constantly extracting radon gas from the soil. Per EPA installation protocol the fan unit is supposed to be mounted either outside the home, in a garage or in an attic. The unit should not be inside the home. If it is inside, you should consider having it relocated outside. The first thing you can do once you have located the fan is just making sure it is actually running. You can place your hand on the fan and you should feel it vibrating. Most fans run fairly quiet, so if you feel vibration it’s likely working. If the fan is excessively noisy, you may want to have it replaced. Radon fans typically have an average 10 year lifespan, and if the bearings are starting to go the fan will get noisy. If the fan is running, that’s a good first step in satisfying your radon mitigation system maintenance checklist.
If the fan is not runnin