For those who already have a radon mitigation system installed in their home, the question we get a lot is, “what do I need to do to maintain my current radon system?”or “can you make sure the system is still working as it should?” and “what do I do if my current system doesn’t adhere to current code or EPA standards?”
Listed below are the answers to a few of these frequently asked questions:
“What do I need to do to maintain my current radon system?”
Once a radon system is installed, homeowners really only need to do two simple things to ensure their system is running effectively.
“Can you make sure our radon system is still working as it should?”
Absolutely! Whether your system is installed by us or any other company, we are always available to come out to your home to assess your radon mitigation system and fix whatever may be wrong. Fan issues are what we run into the most, and many homeowners fear that once the fan stops working they have to install a whole new system. This is not true at all. For a much lower cost than installing a brand new system, the fan can be replaced by us. If your current fan is buzzing, clicking, yellowing, grinding, or not running at all, it may be time for a replacement. The line of fans that we use are known to be one of the top radon mitigation fan manufacturers in the industry. You can check out Festa Radon Technologies by clicking HERE and read about what makes them different in the marketplace. Our fans do not yellow from the sun and typically last longer than 7 years. If you have a fan that is specifically tailored to fit in a certain area, we can special order the same brand you have, or modify the piping to fit a new fan. We also offer a variety of upgraded fans if you are not comfortable with the current levels your system is producing.
“What if my existing system doesn’t comply with the current EPA standards?”
We run into a lot of systems that were either installed a long time ago, or done by someone not certified in radon mitigation. If this is the case, the system must be modified or replaced in order to pass inspection when selling the home. The most obvious signs that your radon system isn’t up to code are as follows:
If your current system has one or more of these issues, it will most likely be flagged when it comes time for a home inspection. However, many of these things can be fixed without having to install a new system. We can reroute and extend existing piping, move the fan to an acceptable place, seal the sump crock, replace the sump pump, and add a manometer if needed. If you feel your system isn’t up to code, or it doesn’t pass an inspection, give us a call and we can help!
Homeowners frequently ask us if we put a cover on the top of the radon mitigation piping, and it’s a good question. It does seem like it would be a good idea when you look and see a pipe open to the elements. However, as we will explain in this post, not only is it not necessary for the system to be effective and to protect the fan, pipe covers can actually reduce the effectiveness of the system itself and cause big issues in the winter time.
Lets first go over the main questions we hear from homeowners when they see the opening in the top of the pipe.
Won't rain get into the piping and negatively affect the system?
The radon mitigation fans that we use are designed to handle water coming through the piping, and if water does come down into the pipe when it rains, the water will simply drain back into your drain tile underneath your home to be pumped out again from your sump pump. In our 21 years of business we have never encountered a water issue from rain trickling into our systems piping.
Won’t leaves and other debris get into the piping and wreck the fan or clog the pipe?
The airflow moving through our piping is quite substantial, and it is very rare for debris to find its way into the pipe without getting blown right back out, or getting deterred before it can even get close to going in. If something large somehow gets into the pipe and affects the system, that would be covered under our fan warranty.
What about animals?
Due to the amount of air flow constantly running through the pipe and how quickly it is exhausting, most, if not all animals stay away from opening to the pipe. In extremely rare cases if an animal does get in, that would be covered under warranty.
Why a cover can be detrimental to your radon system:
Pipe covers can cause your system to freeze over in the winter: When your radon mitigation system is running, it is pulling air from beneath your homes foundation and safely venting it above your roofline. In the wintertime, the outside air is much cooler than the air from underneath your home and this causes condensation to form. With a cover, the condensation starts to build up and freeze over, eventually causing it to freeze over the top of the pipe completely. Once this happens, the radon fan can no longer pull and push any air through and the system becomes useless. This is especially bad because radon levels tend to be higher in the winter time due to closed house conditions, stack effect, and other temperature/pressure differentials. Therefore, with a frozen over system you will start to accumulate high levels of radon in the basement with nothing to extract it out.
Less Airflow: Nearly all covers will affect the amount of airflow running through your radon mitigation piping. To run at peak efficiency and keep your levels as low as possible, the top of the pipe should be left open to allow the most airflow possible.
In conclusion, putting a protective cap on the top of your radon system might sound like a good idea in theory. However, due to the factors discussed above and the fact that it is not necessary, it is something to avoid when installing a radon system in your home.