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Friday, March 18th by Samantha Walton
Besides the specific techniques used for basements or crawl spaces, there are several general radon reduction methods that work for any foundation: natural ventilation, sealing, house/room pressurization, and heat recovery ventilation.
Natural ventilation occurs in different amounts in all houses. Opening windows, doors, and vents on the lower floors can increase your home's ventilation. This increase in ventilation mixes outdoor air with the indoor air that contains radon, and can reduce radon levels.
However, once windows, doors and vents are closed, radon concentrations most often resume their previous values within the next 12 hours. Natural ventilation should only be regarded as a temporary radon reduction approach because of several disadvantages: discomfort due to loss of conditioned air, increase in expenses for conditioning additional outside air, and concerns about security.
Sealing cracks and other openings in the foundation is a basic way to reduce radon levels. By limiting the flow of radon into your home, you're actually helping the other radon mitigation methods you've set in place, making them far more successful and cost effective.
Keeping cracks and openings tightly sealed also reduces the loss of conditioned air. However, the Environmental Protection Agency doesn't recommend sealing as the dominant or sole radon reduction method, because it's neither proven to significantly reduce levels of radon gas, nor provide consistent results. You may always be finding new places to seal and recurring cracks making sealing quite fickle.
House/room pressurization uses a fan to blow air into the basement or living area from either the upstairs rooms or outdoor areas. In doing so, enough pressure is hoped to build up in the basement to prevent radon from entering. Several factors contribute to this technique's overall effectiveness: house construction, outdoor climate, and the occupant's lifestyles. However, all doors and windows at the lowest level must remain closed in order to maintain enough pressure to keep the radon out.
This approach generally results in more outdoor air seeping into the home, which can cause moisture buildup and energy deficiency. Consequently, try more-common techniques before attempting this method.
A heat recovery ventilator (HRV), also called an air-to-air heat exchanger, reduces radon levels by increasing ventilation. If properly balanced and maintained, they can ensure a constant degree of ventilation throughout the year. HRVs can also improve air quality in houses that have other indoor pollutants. However, there could be a significant increase in the heating and cooling costs when using an HRV, but not as great as ventilation without heat recovery.
HRVs can be designed to ventilate all or a single portion of your home. For the utmost efficiency, ventilate the basement only.
Contact us today for more information about radon reduction in your home. We have radon contractors across the U.S. that are trained and ready to help.