Your Step-by-Step Guide to Radon Mitigation Installation

You’ve made the important decision to install a radon mitigation system in your home. But how is it done? Knowing what to expect during the radon mitigation installation process helps homeowners be informed and prepared. This guide covers everything from preparation steps, equipment used, contractor practices, the basic installation procedure, what happens afterwards, and how to maintain your radon mitigation system.

Why Radon Mitigation is Critical

Radon is an odorless, radioactive gas that arises from uranium decay underground. It infiltrates homes through small foundation cracks. As radon accumulates in indoor air, it further decays into radioactive particles that lodge in our lungs when inhaled. The radiation exposure causes lung cell damage that eventually leads to cancer.

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. after smoking. About 21,000 lung cancer deaths occur each year due to radon according to the EPA. The only effective way to protect your home from radon’s harmful effects is to install a mitigation system that vents radon from beneath the home before it can enter living spaces.

Key Parts of a Radon Mitigation System

Radon mitigation systems work by creating a path for radon gas to be drawn up from underneath the foundation and vented above the house where it disperses harmlessly. Here are the main components:

  • Plastic PVC pipes inserted through the concrete foundation floor into the ground
  • Heavy-duty inline fan that attaches to the PVC pipes
  • Electrical junction box to power the radon fan
  • Radon vent connector pipe that runs from fan up through house and roof
  • Various fittings, adapters, gauges, wiring, and caulking/sealing materials

Preparing for a Radon Mitigation Installation

Proper planning and preparation ensures the radon mitigation installation process goes smoothly:

  • Test your home’s current radon levels using a long-term radon detection kit or professional monitoring services. This provides a baseline to compare mitigation system effectiveness against.
  • Research and hire a certified, professional radon mitigation contractor. Make sure they follow established safety protocols.
  • Discuss installation plan specifics with your radon contractor ahead of time including pipe routes, fan location, vent termination point, and installation dates/times.
  • Have your HVAC system inspected and repaired if needed so heating/cooling operation doesn’t interfere with radon venting.
  • Plan where to place the mitigation fan unit. It should be in an unfinished area like the basement or garage.
  • Remove stored items and clear debris away from your home’s foundation interior and external perimeter. This grants contractor access.
  • Be prepared to make openings in walls/ceilings for radon pipes. Patching and paint touch-ups are common afterwards.

The Radon Mitigation Installation Process

Once preparations are made, the radon mitigation installation process normally takes one full working day:

  1. Contractor examines the home’s layout and foundation to plan piping routes. Desired fan location is checked.
  2. Using hammer drills or concrete coring tools, contractor makes openings through basement floor slab or foundation walls to insert radon suction pipes underground.
  3. PVC pipes are inserted into the ground with perforated sections embedded in gravel layer below. Rubber sheeting and foam seals connections.
  4. Contractor routes solid PVC exhaust pipe up from suction point through house to the roof. Pipe gets inserted into ceiling/wall cavities.
  5. Fan unit mounts on piping run in the planned installation area. Power supply line gets connected.
  6. A radon vent cap terminates the exhaust pipe above the roof. Run-off connections get added.
  7. Caulking is used to seal all foundation cracks and openings along floors, joints, pipes and vents.

Once the main mitigation components are installed, the contractor activates the fan to create constant suction. Testing confirms the system is reducing radon levels. Cosmetic repairs are made to openings.

What to Expect After Radon System Installation

  • Airflow noise from the mitigation fan running 24/7. This fades into background noise over time.
  • Draftiness or cold spots as conditioned air gets exhausted. This equalizes as the home adapts.
  • Higher heating and cooling bills. The fan uses 65-150 watts of power.
  • Occasional fan repairs or replacements may be needed over time.
  • Retest radon levels annually to confirm mitigation remains effective.
  • Notify new owners if you sell the home so they continue proper radon system operation and maintenance.

Caring for Your Radon Mitigation System

To keep your radon mitigation system performing properly:

  • Visually inspect above-ground pipes and fan for damage regularly.
  • Test the radon fan operation annually. Replace if not working correctly.
  • Have a radon professional inspect entire mitigation system every 2 years.
  • Keep the fan power supply connected at all times. Never turn off breaker.
  • Ensure underground pipes remain sealed. Check for settling cracks or leaks.
  • Keep all foundation openings like cracks, sumps, and drains tightly sealed.

Radon mitigation systems require little maintenance when installed properly by certified radon contractors. By understanding the process, homeowners can take proactive steps for radon-free air and better protect their household.

Scroll to Top