Following our post on how to choose a radon test kit earlier this Radon Awareness Week, today we turn our attention to one of the two primary methods of reducing radon levels in buildings.
Q: What is a radon sump?
A: A radon sump is small void excavated beneath a building for the purpose of collecting radon before it enters the building. Radon is drawn towards buildings because the air pressure inside is lower than that in the ground. By providing a void beneath the building, this becomes the lower point of pressure so the gas is drawn towards this location instead. It should then be safely vented away from the sump using pipework incorporating an inline fan to disperse the collected gas into the atmosphere.
Q: Do you need to disturb my flooring to install a radon sump?
A: In most residential properties, it is possible to install a sump from the outside of the property without needing to disturb the floor. This is achieved by using a diamond core drill to drill beneath the internal floor level into the hardcore beneath the building. In commercial buildings with a large footprint, it is sometimes necessary to install a sump more centrally in the building in which case any floor coverings would need to be raised and relayed.
Q: How effective are radon sumps?
A: All radon sump systems are individually designed for an individual property, and the efficacy depends on many factors. It is impossible to predict the actual reduction in indoor radon concentration, however in our experience most radon sumps are very effective in reducing radon levels to an acceptable level. The performance of the sump largely depends upon the conditions in the ground, which cannot be seen, therefore during the design of the sump system diagnostic testing should be carried out to indicate the optimum location for the sump.
Q: Are radon sumps noisy?
A: An inline fan is used to evacuate radon-laded air from the sump. propertECO uses the world-leading RadonAway range of fans, which are very quiet when running efficiently. Any noise produced is normally as a result of the air being drawn through the pipework rather than the fan itself, therefore the pipework size, route and discharge point will all be taken into consideration during the design of the system.
Q: What are the alternatives to radon sumps?
A: Radon sumps are an effective way of reducing indoor radon levels, however in some situations there may be preferable alternatives. A positive pressure system is one such alternative. We will be discussing these systems on our blog later this week.