Radon and New Construction
Why Should You Build Homes Using Radon Resistant Techniques?
- These construction methods help block radon from entering the home. All occupants will benefit from lower radon levels in their home.
- When there is a need to increase the radon reduction, it is easy to upgrade.
- When high radon levels are found, the techniques allow for easy and inexpensive installation of a fan for increased radon reduction in your home. Every new home should be tested for radon by the homeowner after occupancy.
- For homeowners, they are very cost-effective.
- Although a radon reduction system can be installed in an existing home, it is more cost-effective to include radon-resistant techniques while constructing a home.
- Radon-resistant techniques may improve the home’s energy-efficiency.
- There are some construction companies that use the fact that they use radon reducing techniques as a marketing advantage.
- Radon-resistant construction methods are consistent with state-of-the-art energy-efficient construction. When using these methods, follow the Model Energy Code (or other pertinent energy codes) for weatherization, which will result in energy savings and lesser utility bills.
New Homes Can Be Built with Radon-Resistant Features
Radon-resistant construction techniques can be effective in preventing radon from entering a site. When they are installed properly and completely, these simple and inexpensive techniques can help reduce indoor radon levels in homes. Also, installing them at the time of construction makes it easier and much less expensive to reduce radon levels further if these passive techniques do not reduce radon levels to below 4 pCi/L. Even if it was built radon-resistant, every new home should be tested after occupancy. If radon levels stay in excess of 4 pCi/L, the passive system should be activated by having a qualified mitigator to install a vent fan.
What are Radon-Resistant Construction Techniques?
The methods vary for differing foundations and site requirements, but the basic elements are:
- Gas Permeable Layer
- This layer is placed under the slab or flooring system to permit the soil gas to move freely below the house. In many cases, a 4-inch layer of clean gravel is the material used.
- Plastic Sheeting
- Plastic sheeting is set on top of the gas permeable layer and beneath the slab to help prevent the soil gas from coming into the home. In crawlspaces, the sheeting is then placed over the crawlspace floor.
- Sealing and Caulking
- All openings in the concrete foundation of the floor are sealed to reduce the soil gas entry into the home.
- Vent Pipe
- A 3 or 4 inch gas-tight or PVC pipe runs from the gas permeable layer through the house to the roof, to safely vent the radon and other soil gasses above the home.
- Junction Box
- In case an electric venting fan is needed later, an electrical junction box is installed.