Radon is one of those silent intruders that enter your home through the water supply. Although we talk about “radon air “and “radon water”, it is by nature an airborne contaminant. Some of our more advanced radon removal strategies could involve removing radon from the air as well as from the water.
Where does radon come from? It is a naturally occurring gas that is a byproduct of decaying uranium, an element commonly found in New Hampshire bedrock. As the uranium breaks down, the gas rides a water stream underground, looking for a way to surface. It is released into your home when you turn on a faucet. Because it comes from bedrock deep in the ground, radon is not often an issue with public water supplies, or even surface wells. If you have an artesian well, you should be testing the levels every 3 to 5 years.
Why is it dangerous? This radioactive element can collect in the airtight spaces in your home. In the process of breaking down, radon “bursts” send out microscopic projectiles that damage soft tissue over time and can lead to cancer. In fact, radon is the second largest contributor to lung cancer in the United States – second only to cigarette smoking. Smokers living in a house with radon are at an increased risk of developing lung cancer. The EPA has established a limit at 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L.). Unfortunately, two thirds of the homes in the United States exceed this limit!
How do we get rid of it? Removing this unwelcome guest from your home can require several modalities. After we determine the levels, we can mitigate the radon in the water with either a granular activated carbon filter, or with an air stripper unit that aerates the water at the point of entry and blows the off-gassing air outside. The first option is more affordable, but it’s only sufficient for removing smaller quantities of radon. There is also some maintenance required in changing out the activated carbon media. The air stripper removes 99% of radon at the water system point-of-entry and requires very little ongoing maintenance.
What about the air? Radon can find its way into your home through the basement floor. The best approach for removing radon that seeps into your basement is to install a sub-slab depressurization system. That’s a fancy word for a vent pipe. In existing homes, a whole is cut in the concrete floor of the basement and PVC pipe vents the air trapped under the floor to the outside, up above the roof line. Heat convection draws the contaminated air up and out. New construction homes have the advantage of installing a vented perforated pipe before the concrete floor is poured. A power vent can also be installed to draw the air up if levels are high and require maximum ventilation.
At Absolute Water System, we are certified installers of radon removal systems in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine