DIY Radon Mitigation Mistakes To Avoid [Read This First]!

A do-it-yourself (DIY) radon mitigation system may seem like a good idea. However, people continue to make mistakes when determining how to address radon issues in their homes. Do you want to know what these mistakes are? We did some research and gathered information to assist you.

The DIY radon mitigation mistakes to avoid are as follows:

  1. Using insubstantial materials for the radon vent pipe.
  2. Installing radon vent pipe horizontally.
  3. Installing radon vent pipe too close to a window.
  4. The radon vent pipe ends underneath the window.
  5. Not installing firewalls and fire collars.
  6. Putting a rain cap on the radon vent pipe.
  7. Placing the radon mitigation fan below living spaces.
  8. Installing radon fan horizontally or with an angle.
  9. Sealing the radon mitigation system improperly.

This article is for you if you're thinking about building a radon mitigation system by yourself. We'll go through in detail the aforementioned mistakes that DIYers usually make, so you'll know to avoid them before installing.

Radon remediation fan for home, DIY Radon Mitigation Mistakes To Avoid [Read This First]!

DIY Radon Mitigation Mistakes To Avoid

Radon is a gas that classifies as a Class A radioactive carcinogen. It takes substantial skill and equipment to install a radon mitigation system. Otherwise, you risk making an already problematic system worse or possibly raising your radon levels. 

You need a radon mitigation system to keep your house safe if you've already measured your radon levels and they're 4 pCi/L or above. Before you build it, read first the following mistakes often made so you can avoid them.

Radon mitigation system pipes visible in the Basement location for energy saving home improvement concept

1. Using Insubstantial Materials For Radon Vent Pipe

Schedule 40 polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe, which is the rigid PVC pipe used for plumbing drain pipes in homes, is what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) radon mitigation standards call for being used for radon vent pipes. 

Check out this PVC pipe sch. 40 on Amazon.

The schedule 40 PVC is in no way comparable to a flimsy, thin plastic vent such as a plastic flex vent or a schedule 20 PVC pipe. Using thin and insubstantial materials could easily rip, become punctured, or come loose, allowing radon gas with potentially very high concentrations to leak into the house.

2. Installing Radon Vent Pipe Horizontally

The radon vent pipe that runs horizontally beneath the fan could develop a water trap. One must always take into account where the condensation will gather and drain in radon vent pipes.

As a typical radon fan can extract up to several gallons of water per day from the soil, depending on how much moisture is present, install all radon pipes properly which are pitched to the ground so that any condensation or water drains freely back to the ground. 

This partial obstruction is bad for the fan because it restricts airflow, which lowers system efficiency and over time could become quite unpleasant.

3. Installing Radon Vent Pipe Too Close To A Window

Heating pipes on the facade of a residential building

According to EPA regulations, the vent pipe must be placed at least 10' away from any windows or other access points to the living areas of the house. This will prevent radon from returning to your house and increase the pre-existing radon levels.

4. The Radon Vent Pipe Ends Underneath The Window

The purpose of the vent pipe is to direct radon gas away from potential victims. If you terminate the pipe too low, radon could vent into the house.

5. Not Installing Firewalls And Fire Collars

Blank concrete wide dark wall texture

The PVC pipe must have a firewall between it and the building, as well as fire collars where it enters or leaves the structure, in accordance with the fire codes of most states. This will stop the easily ignited PVC pipe from causing a fire to spread quickly.

6. Putting A Rain Cap On The Radon Vent Pipe

A rain cap will obstruct free air flow and direct gases downward, which is against EPA regulations. In fact, radon pipes have such strong airflow that any water attempting to enter them will fail.

Insects and rodents are deterred by this as well. Install the vent pipe horizontally and away from the house if you are concerned that rainwater might get inside. This is not against the rules and will keep the water out.

a Galvanized metal chimneys exhaust with a rain cap

7. Placing The Radon Mitigation Fan Below Living Spaces

The EPA advises against installing a radon mitigation fan in the basement or crawl space. They suggest the fan going in the basement because, in their opinion, it is out of sight and away from corrosive elements like water and sunlight. Although this reasoning sounds right, one shouldn't disregard the EPA guidelines.

Check out this radon mitigation fan on Amazon.

Typically, radon fans draw so much air from the ground beneath the basement. Any cracks in the pipes could allow a lot of radon to enter your home due to the high suction force. 

Since this is a blatant violation of the EPA code, a radon mitigation system with a fan installed in the basement will also fail the home inspection when the house is put up for sale. 

The radon fan must therefore be installed outside, in the attic, or in the garage. If there are any cracks or leaks, this enables the highly concentrated radon air to be mitigated outside. Also, it is advised to install radon fans as far from the basement as possible because they pull air more effectively than they push it.

8. Installing Radon Fan Horizontally Or With An Angle

A lot of people attempt to install it on a horizontal pipe or at an angle. The water will become entrapped in the fan. Also, the fan's bearings are not intended to operate horizontally or at an angle. 

As a result, the fan will prematurely fail while spinning in the water and creating a lot of noise. Therefore, installations like this will decrease the system's efficiency and hasten the fan's demise. That is why most manufacturers will advise mounting the radon fan vertically

9. Sealing The Radon Mitigation System Improperly

A PVC Radon Vent Pipe Attached to the Side of a Home

To avoid leaks and other issues, the radon mitigation system needs to be properly sealed. If the seals are not installed correctly, the radon fan has enough force to cause the seals to fail. 

Check out this radonseal on Amazon.

Rubber couplings with high strength are used to join the fan to the pipes. Some people make the terrible decision to glue them together. After a few days, the pipe will start to leak because the glue won't hold for very long. Because of this, take extra care when installing the radon fan.

Check out this rubber coupling on Amazon.

Many people also neglect to properly seal the radon system's suction pit. A suction pit is a hole in your home's basement where the radon pipe's inlet enters. One should properly seal the gap between the radon pipe and the pit to stop radon from seeping into the basement. A sump pump should also be sealed if you have one.

How To Install Radon Mitigation System?

PVC pipes attached to the electrical motor of a residential radon mitigation system

The EPA advises a fan-powered suction device to remove radon from the home if it reaches a certain level. The following are the steps to follow.

1. Drill A Hole In The Basement Slab

Make a hole deep enough to accommodate a 3” plastic pipe in the basement slab using a rotary hammer. To manage the concrete dust, use a concrete core drill rig.

Check out this rotary hammer on Amazon.

Check out this core drill rig on Amazon.

2. Excavate Beneath The Slab

Dig a shallow pit beneath the slab using a drill-powered auger. Only a small pit is necessary if the layer beneath is granular, such as gravel. In order to extend the area the fan will draw from in dense soil, a larger pit is required. The dirt beneath the slab must first be made more pliable before being dug out.

Check out this auger drill bit on Amazon.

3. Establish A Pipe From The Cellar To The Attic

Find a route through the house and into the attic so you can insert a 3” PVC pipe. Assemble the connections with glue, use straps to support the pipe as necessary, and ensure that the horizontal runs slant back to drain moisture.

Check out this pipe strap on Amazon.

4. Position The Pipe And Seal 

Insert the bottom pipe piece several inches into the sub-slab pit. Before using hydraulic cement to seal the junction, insert the backer rod between the pipe's exterior and the slab.

Check out this backer rod on Amazon.

5. Place The Radon Fan

The pipe in the attic connects to a continuous in-line fan. To plug in the fan, you'll likely need to add an outlet. A video on YouTube will show you how to install radon fan wiring in the attic.

Insulation around the pipe reduces moisture within pipes running through unheated attics. The pipe leaves the attic through the roof. A typical plumbing boot is used to flash that penetration to keep water out.

6. Attach Manometer To The Pipe

It is a simple gauge put in the pipe in the basement that allows the homeowner to check that the system is functioning while the fan is running.

Check out this manometer on Amazon.

7. Test The Output System

Test the suction by drilling a few small holes strategically placed throughout the basement. The system's efficiency is demonstrated by smoke produced by a smoke pencil inserted through the holes. After the test, the holes will be sealed off with hydraulic cement.

A YouTube video is provided below so that you may observe clearly the installation of the radon mitigation system.

Wrapping Things Up

Radon remediation fan for home

DIY radon mitigation may appear to be the most cost-effective solution, but if you don't understand the process and how to install the system correctly, it can end up costing you more in the long run. Therefore, if you intend to DIY, avoid the listed mistakes above. However, hiring a radon removal expert will ensure your safety.

Before leaving, check out below some of our valuable articles to learn more about radon.

Is Radon Inspection Worth It?

Reduce Radon Fan Noise

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