Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
fixing a radon problem
Old 07-09-2008, 08:48 PM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 424
fixing a radon problem

Has any paid to have this done? I was wondering what it costs. I will be making some calls tomorrow.

I have gotten readings of 35 in my basement and 14 on my 1st floor. Anything over a reading of 4 should be corrected. My basement is unfinished, but it still gets used.

Thanks.
JD
__________________

__________________
JohnDoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 07-09-2008, 09:01 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
OAG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Central, Ohio, USA
Posts: 2,598
Those are VERY HIGH readings I would get another testing kit, not another of the ones you already used. I had border line readings and was told to do the testing each year to see if it goes up (or down). Home was new and has a basement. Did the reading after a year and they were below 4 - intend to now test every two years. Google "RADON Abatement" and you should get lots of advice and information regarding what to do and the costs.
__________________

__________________
Vietnam Veteran, CW4 USA, Retired 1979
OAG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2008, 09:14 PM   #3
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 424
I've done multiple tests over 8 months. I used these...
Air Chek - Top-rated Radon Test Kits from the world's top supplier of test kits to consumers

I know our whole neighborhood has high readings and I'm ready to fix it now.
__________________
JohnDoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2008, 09:18 PM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
harley's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Following the nice weather
Posts: 6,435
We just sold our home in Arlington VA, where nothing is cheap. We got a reading of 4.3 on our test, but were able to come to an agreement with the buyers so we didn't do anything. But while I was researching the process it sounded like it would run between $1K-$2K. Not a huge deal,and with your readings I would definitely go for it. Good luck.

Harley
__________________
"Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement." - Will Rogers, or maybe Sam Clemens
DW and I - FIREd at 50 (7/06), living off assets
harley is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2008, 09:27 PM   #5
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 11,044
We had to install a radon mitigation system when we bought our house 3 years ago. The readings were pretty high (around 20 on the first floor if I remember well) but the people who had been living in this house for 27 years had no idea the house had a radon problem. Very few of our neighbors have a mitigation system, few are even aware of the problem.

We have a slab (no basement), so the only thing they had to do was install a venting system under the slab. It cost around $1,000-$1,500 for parts and labor if I remember well. Post-mitigation testing have all come under the safe limit (around 2). If you have a basement I am not sure how they mitigate (vent the whole basement?) but I have seen it done in some of the houses we looked at.
__________________
FIREd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2008, 10:09 PM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,615
Those readings are very high, and if you're sure they are correct you are warranted in your haste to fix this problem

It's a couple grand for the simple mitigation (drill hole through basement slab and install PVC pipe with fan to depressurize below the slab and exhaust air/radon somewhere above the roofline (well away from any ventilation intakes). If you've got a sump, make sure they seal it up. Often they will use the sump as the "pickup point" for the radon mitigation system, which is fine.

Things get more expensive if you have a home that doesn't have an intact gravel bed under the slab (some older homes never did, and some have beds that have silted up over the years). In this case, a simple pipe won't successfully depressurize the entire underslab area and a more expensive fix will be needed (e.g. installation of a manifold of perforated pipe under the slab, with al the digging that entails).

Sealing the walls and sealing the cracks is claimed by some people to lower radon readings, but I don't have a lot of faith that those results will be permanent (new cracks from settling, esp in the corner between the slab and the wall). Plus, while they might bring your readings down some, I doubt these measures would get you below the "action level" of 4 picocuries/liter.

If this were my house, until i got this problem fixed I'd close any doors leading down to the basement, close any HVAC registers or intake vents you've got down there, and open windows on opposite sides of the basement to dilute that stuff. I wouldn't be afraid to go down there to do laundry etc, but neither would I do my aerobic workouts in the basement.

Are you on a well? If so, given the high radon readings in your neighborhood, you should definitely test your water for radon. Lots of radon can be released into your home via the water when you shower or wash clothes.
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2008, 10:18 PM   #7
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 424
I have a sump pump that I use to drain my dehumidifier into. How would they seal that up? Would I still be able to use it(sump)?

I have poured concrete with gravel bed. I have 2 small windows and bilco doors leading from my basement.
__________________
JohnDoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2008, 10:38 PM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,615
The sump: They might just use the sump as the pickup point for the radon mitigation vent--that's a perfectly acceptable approach and saves the need of having to drill through the slab. You can still use the sump as you do now (to pump the water out of your basement). Talk to the experts about continuing to use the sump to evacuate your de-humidifier--I would think it would be fine, BUT you should build a little "P-trap" in the condensate line so that it stays full of water. That should help prevent the radon in the sump from easily venting into your dehumidifier and then into your basement. Some radon will still come through this water, but probably far less of it. Once the mitigation system is in place, this won't be a factor.

In the meantime, get some duct tape and plastic and seal up the lid of the sump as well as you can. If it is unsealed, this is probably a major entry point.

Another thing: You should consider getting a HEPA air filter for your living spaces, or at least a small room unit for your bedrooms. Of course a HEPA filter can't "filter out" radon, so your radon levels won't be changed. What it CAN do is trap dust. When radon decays, it produces daughter particles that are fairly short-lived (a few days), highly radioactive, and which are also ions so they cling to dust. This stuff can be more dangerous than the radon itself. Even with a good mitigation strategy, your home is likely to have radon in it, and this HEPA filtration can be a good "belt and suspenders" approach. In some cases (where radon levels are hovering right around the 4 pC/L level) this HEPA filtration approach is recommended as a stand alone risk reduction method.
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2008, 11:22 AM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
happy2bretired's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 1,340
Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
In the meantime, get some duct tape and plastic and seal up the lid of the sump as well as you can. If it is unsealed, this is probably a major entry point.
Hmmm...my sump (also known to me as just a hole the floor) doesn't even have a lid. Now, I'm really wondering about radon-need to test it. Where could I buy a lid for the sump?
__________________
happy2bretired is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2008, 12:07 PM   #10
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 314
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnDoe View Post
Has any paid to have this done? I was wondering what it costs. I will be making some calls tomorrow.

I have gotten readings of 35 in my basement and 14 on my 1st floor. Anything over a reading of 4 should be corrected. My basement is unfinished, but it still gets used.

Thanks.
JD
Yes, we had it done about 5 years ago. Our cost counting the installation was about $1,300. We opted for the thicker grade piping to vent for longevity. We had a read of 12 in our basement. It is now around 0.2.
What most people don't know is that this isn't limited to houses with a basement. It can be any house. And most people I've talked to say they're going to do something about it, but never do ... even if there are little children in the house.
And according to our installer, they cannot mount the pump directly in the basement. The reason for this is because if the connection on the top happens to break or get disconnected, the radon level in the house will increase substantially - cause their company to receive a very stiff fine for doing something like that.
__________________
Primary title "chief moron"
myself is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2008, 12:13 PM   #11
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 314
Quote:
Originally Posted by happy2bretired View Post
Hmmm...my sump (also known to me as just a hole the floor) doesn't even have a lid. Now, I'm really wondering about radon-need to test it. Where could I buy a lid for the sump?
I've seen them at Home Depot and Lowe's.

And as for using a sump, pit, our heater and a/c system is so energy efficient that it is not allowed to vent directly up, and produces a moisture buildup, which is drawn off by a condensate pump into our sump pit. That is where our Radon mitigation system is connected, and fully sealed up.
The installers mentioned that if we see the gauge go to zero, we need to give them a call, because there may be extra moisture building up in the external pump.
__________________
Primary title "chief moron"
myself is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2008, 12:24 PM   #12
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
ls99's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 4,792
My last house when selling, came up with results slightly over 4 Pcl. by contract we were required to install venting, our cost was $900. -.
Though had some wild estimates up $4000.- for a de-luxe system. Yeah right..... When in a short term bind contractors think they can charge whatever they want.

There are only so many ways to install piping and a blower. Proof of performance was integral part of approving a contract for install, to be done by a tester of my choice. If contract specs were not met, any additional work was specified to be at contractor's expense, with addition proof of performance testing at contractor's expense.

Don't get taken for a ride.
__________________
There must be moderation in everything, including moderation.
ls99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2008, 12:34 PM   #13
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 424
I just found out I already have a pipe for this in the basement. It was put in during construction and is right next to the sump pump. So all they would have to do is install a fan and vent it outside. My neighbor said he had it done for $750.

Woohoo! What a week I'm having!
__________________
JohnDoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2008, 04:21 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,615
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnDoe View Post
I just found out I already have a pipe for this in the basement. It was put in during construction and is right next to the sump pump. So all they would have to do is install a fan and vent it outside. My neighbor said he had it done for $750.
That's good news. It may even mean that there's a convenient way to get from that spot to the roof (e.g. through closets upstairs or a nearby "wet wall" with sewer lines already in it), not through the middle of your living room. Better yet, it probably means that there is not only the pipe you see, but a network of perforated pipes underneath your basement that are connected to it. This will do a more effective job of assuring the pressure is lowered across your entire slab, and possibly your footing. That fan that you'll now be paying to run 24/7 will do a more effective job of keeping the radon out of your living space with this arrangement.
A setup like this should be SOP in all new construction. Laying these pipes before the pour costs about $30 bucks in material and about 1 hour of labor, and can save thousands if the house has a radon problem at any future time. If the house later has radon, just hook up the vent pipe and fan and you're set.
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is online now   Reply With Quote
Oh...Nevermind.
Old 07-10-2008, 05:41 PM   #15
Full time employment: Posting here.
MikeD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Leesburg, VA
Posts: 805
Oh...Nevermind.

I thought you meant "Ray-Don."

Mike D. in Virginia
__________________
MikeD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2008, 08:08 PM   #16
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,304
I had 'remediation' done on a house I sold through a 'corporate' sale. It cost me about 2 grand if my memory is correct. They drill holes in your basement floor and hook up pipes and a fan.
Good luck.
__________________
Life is GREAT!
megacorp-firee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2008, 04:52 PM   #17
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 424
Got my 1st est this afternoon. $800 total. Guy gave me 3 diff options all costing the same.

I think I'll let him drill a hole on the opp side of the basement away from the sump. That would be the back corner and he could hide the venting better.

Then he would seal the sump off except for my dehumidifier drain and seal all the cracks in the basement floor.

I can handle $800. 2nd est coming on Monday.
__________________
JohnDoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2008, 05:07 PM   #18
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,615
I'd recommend you find out if that existing pipe stub is connected to a collection manifold under your slab (just stick a plumbing snake down it--if you can push it in more than a few feet then it is probably connected to a manifold). You'll be more certain of lowering your radon levels to the lowest possible extent if you use a pipe manifold, and lowering your radon is what this whole thing is about. No matter where the pipe enters the slab, he'll have plenty of flexibility regarding where it goes up through the first floor. The pipe certainly doesn't have to come straight up from where it goes into the slab, you could run it along the ceiling joists in your basement to a convenient spot, then turn it up. Pipe is cheap and the internal friction in a low-flow application like this is not a factor.
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2008, 05:34 PM   #19
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 424
The pipe that is already there just goes thru the floor and sits on the stones about a foot deep.

He thought he could get better results making his own hole because that is how he has handled this builder's home in the past - he's done 20 in my neighborhood.

I want to see what the other guy has to say on monday.
__________________

__________________
JohnDoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
fixing an old rubber gear; possible? ladelfina Other topics 6 09-18-2007 12:06 PM
FI/RE a nice problem to have but still a problem Grizz Hi, I am... 27 06-29-2007 02:29 AM
There must be a problem UncleHoney FIRE and Money 17 03-13-2007 08:56 PM
Fixing Social Security game Buddha44 FIRE and Money 104 02-05-2007 07:14 AM
A home improvement project I could put off fixing... cute fuzzy bunny Other topics 6 03-14-2006 06:48 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:55 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.