How effective are radon abatement systems?

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer if you are exposed to high levels of it. However, there are a number of different radon mitigation systems that are designed to keep levels at or below 2.0 pCi/l, which is considered safe. Bear in mind that they are expensive and there are additional steps required. Therefore, many wonder if the installation is worth it.

The cost of installing a radon abatement system is based on the size and design of your home. Regardless of the cost to have one installed, it needs to be compared to the medical bills that will result if you or a family member is diagnosed with lung cancer. Moreover, these systems also help alleviate other air quality issues that you may have in your home. One of which is moisture which can lead to mold growth.

As a result of having over 40% of the homes that were tested in the state come back positive for high levels of the gas, in 2013, the Health Department in Minnesota began to require all newly built homes to have a passive mitigation system installed as a way to reduce the risk of exposure radon. Illinois soon followed suit and passed the Radon Resistant Construction Act which requires all new residential construction to not only be tested for radon, but they also have to have passive radon pipes installed. However, it was found that the piping was not enough because many of the newly built homes still tested above the limit deemed safe.

Upon hearing these results, the Minnesota Health Department followed up with its own study and found that one in five new homes that were secured with passive radon piping were still showing high radon levels when tested. Therefore, they decided that more action was needed and gave homeowners that had testing results that still showed high radon levels a fan in an effort to upgrade their radon remediation systems and reduce the gas level found in the homes.

Due to the results of both studies, it was concluded that without the fan, a passive mitigation system does not have enough force to eliminate the deadly gas as the fan provides suction. However, while it also makes the system more expensive, follow-up tests show that when a fan was used, the average amount of radon dropped to around 0.3 picocuries per liter, which is a much safer level.

However, whether or not your system includes a fan, in order to maintain its effectiveness, the system needs to be kept in proper working order. Moreover, once you have a system installed, you need to check it, on average, every two years in order to make sure that it is still running properly. Furthermore, all systems should have a warning device, known as a manometer, so you can quickly check for signs of malfunction. Also be sure to find out if there is a warranty on any and all parts so that you have an idea of how many years they should last before needing repairs.


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