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Your path to a healthier, safer home

What is radon mitigation?

Radon mitigation is the process of reducing radon concentrations inside a house. This is done through a process called sub-slab depressurization (SSD). The goal of SSD is to create negative pressure under the home's foundation, preventing soil gases from entering the home. 

A radon mitigation system involves creating a suction pit beneath the home’s foundation where the radon gas collects, installing a series of pipes connected to the suction pit, and sucking the gas out of the home to the outside air using a radon fan.

radon mitigation diagram

How does mitigation work?

Mitigation can be divided into three parts:
Radon pit

Suction pit

A suction pit is created by removing about three five-gallon buckets of soil from beneath the slab, providing an access point for the system to draw out radon gas.
Radon PVC Pipe

PVC piping

A PVC pipe is inserted into the suction pit and extends upwards, connecting to the exterior of the home, often through the attic or an exterior wall.
Radon mitigation fan

Radon fan

A specially designed radon fan is connected to the vent pipe, typically in the attic, garage, or outside the house. The fan continuously pulls radon gas from beneath the foundation and vents it outside.

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Radon mitigation questions and answers

A mitigation system should be installed by a certified radon professional to ensure it is effective and meets safety and quality standards. Certified radon mitigation contractors are specifically trained and certified in radon mitigation technique by the National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP). To view a list of certified radon professionals in Utah, go to NRPP's site.
The cost of mitigation can vary depending on several factors, including the home's size and layout and the installation's complexity. However, here is a general cost range to give you an idea:

Average cost:  The typical price for a standard mitigation system ranges from $1,800 to $2,300.

Complex systems: Homes with crawlspaces, multi-level foundations, and basements (or the lowest level of the home) that are 2,000 square feet or larger will usually cost more as additional materials and labor are needed.

A mitigation system is a permanent fixture in your home so hire a certified and reputable company. 
Mitigation systems are installed with one end drawing the radon gas beneath your home's foundation and the other expelling it safely into the outside air near or at the roof level. Your home's layout will largely determine how the pipes will be installed. Usually, there are two main pipe routing methods: interior and exterior. Both interior and exterior mitigation systems begin at the home's lowest level, which could be a basement, slab on grade, or crawlspace and expel the radon gas to the outside air. 

Interior radon mitigation systems
An interior mitigation system, discreetly installed if the home's configuration allows, allows piping to run from the suction point through a garage, closet, or chase and exit through the roof. Looking from the outside of the home, you likely wouldn't be able to tell a mitigation system has been installed, as the only visible portion is the exhaust point at the roof, which looks like any other air circulation pipe. Interior systems tend to be slightly more expensive as they require additional labor. 

Exterior radon mitigation systems
If the home's configuration does not provide a reasonable pathway from the suction point to the attic, an exterior mitigation system can be installed. In these cases, the piping runs from the suction point to ground level and then exits the home to the outside, where it continues to the roof. Exterior systems are slightly less expensive as they require less labor than interior ones. 
If you are building a new home, ask your builder about radon-resistant construction. Most Utah builders now offer this, which is a great way to ensure your home is safe from radon. Before the ground foundation is poured, a series of pipes or flat matting will be laid and connected to a stub-up pipe. That stub-up will then be connected to the radon fan and piping once the framing is complete. Radon mitigation tends to be less expensive when installed before the home-building process is completed. 
For a radon mitigation system to work correctly on a home with a cement foundation, a 4-6 inch circular hole is drilled to access the dirt beneath the foundation where radon gas collects. As long as the drilling is done properly by a certified radon professional, the hole does not present an issue. 
Generally, radon fans will produce anywhere from 50-70 decibels, or about the same noise a refrigerator makes. Some describe the sound as "white noise" and don't notice it much. This of course depends on how close you are to the fan. For example, it would be difficult to hear a radon fan from 10-15 feet away, but could easily be heard just a few feet away. If you are sensitive to noise, it is worth asking the radon mitigation installer if there's a reasonable way to install the fan in an area that is away from a bedroom or other area where a good amount of time is spent. 
The only ongoing cost of running a mitigation system is the electricity needed to power the fan. The cost depends on several factors, such as the type of soil beneath your home's foundation and the subsequent fan that is needed. Plan on spending between $7-20 dollars per month to run your radon mitigation system. 
A mitigation system can usually be installed in half a day, or up to a full day depending on the size of the home and the complexity of the installation. Because radon is a radioactive gas, make sure to only hire a certified radon professional to install a system. To find a certified professional, go to the National Radon Proficiency Program's website
Your mitigation system should have an air flow gauge, called a manometer that will allow you to visually see if the fan is running properly. The easiest way to tell if the system is working is to see if the colored liquid in the u-shaped manometer is uneven. If it is, the fan is operating. If the colored liquid is even, the fan is not operating. 
There is very little maintenance needed on your radon mitigation system. The most important thing is to make sure the fan is running. You can determine if the fan is running by looking at the u-shaped airflow gauge on the system. If the colored liquid in the gauge is uneven, it is working correctly. Radon fans generally last 5-10 years. Contact a certified radon professional if you start hearing clanking or loud noises from the fan. It's also a good idea to see if there are any unsealed cracks in the foundation. If there is, seal them to prevent radon from seeping into the home. 
Most homes have fan exhaust pipes that exit at the roof that are open to the elements. Radon mitigation systems are the same. For an interior system, a roof jack and pipe are installed to connect the piping below it to the fan and to the suction point. Similarly, exterior systems have a pipe or rain downspout thats draws the radon gas from the suction point to the outside air. Because radon fans run 24/7, there is no need to be concerned about rain, snow, or debris getting into the pipe. 

Radon mitigation examples

Here are a few examples of radon mitigation systems in different areas throughout Utah.
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