A passive radon system makes use of natural airflow and pressure differentials to remove radon gas from your house. These types of systems typically run from drain tiles/basement sump baskets up until the roof. Since there is no active fan involved in venting the radon, this system is termed as ‘passive’.
These systems are completely noiseless and use no electricity. However, this does not make a significant difference as compared to their active counterparts due to the already low power consumption ratings.
Home owners who do not want pipes running around their house, running the appeal; go for these mitigation systems.
Let us know more about passive radon systems.
How is Radon Harmful?
Before we dive into passive radon systems, let us understand why one should invest in a mitigation system.
Radon is a radioactive gas, whose solid particles get trapped in human lungs and damage lung tissue, causing lung cancer. In fact, radon is the second most common cause of lung cancer in the US. The EPA predicts that each year, roughly 21,000 Americans succumb to lung cancer linked to radon.
What is a Passive Radon System?
A passive radon mitigation system removes radon from your home without the aid of an active component by utilizing the natural pressure differential and outside air currents. They are not so common in newer houses, but can be commonly seen in older buildings since they can only be installed before the foundation is laid.
Although installing passive systems properly during new construction is essential, it is not typically suggested as a stand-alone solution. Passive systems can only deal with low radon levels, but fail to be effective when the levels are high. Even the slightest modifications in the system can impact the performance severely.
Active systems on the other hand, use an electric fan and are able to push out radon at a faster rate. The advantages that you get with these type of systems are:
How Does A Passive Radon System Work?
In a passive radon system, radon normally escapes through the roof via a pipe from the sump crock or drain tile in the basement.
Systems for measuring passive radon rely on the "stack effect". It works by moving air from a high pressure zone to a low pressure zone and vice versa. Difference in pressure causes movement of heavy radon particles.
However, relying solely on the stack effect wouldn’t cut it. It normally isn't sufficient to considerably lower radon levels in a passive radon system because newer homes are now built airtight for energy efficiency.
How Much Does A Passive Radon System Cost?
Installing a new passive radon mitigation system can cost between $771- $1,185. This can go up to $3,000 in homes with complex layouts and larger sizes.
Costs for radon mitigation systems are determined by a few parameters. Property’s size and design, climate, foundation type, location, labour expenses, permit fees, testing, inspection, and radon system type are a few of them.
Converting a Passive Radon Mitigation System Into Active an Active System
Converting a passive system only involves one step: Fitting a fan with the pipeline which can be connected with an outlet nearby. This can easily be done if you locate an electrical outlet and get a fan installed near that point. In some houses however, layout restrictions might come in the way of direct installation, which can make the process difficult.
All in all, this depends on how your house is structured and whether or not you have a power outlet near the pipes.
A passive radon system is simply a no-fan version of a mitigation setup that does not take up any electricity and relies on pressure differences for ventilation. Though this system has its advantages when it comes to being noise-free, these are outweighed by how effective an active system can be.
Not only this, but an active system can also do a much better job at regulating radon levels in your house due to a dedicated component which prohibits radon particles from staying inside the system.
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I am a professional radon technician who enjoys writing about radon to spread awareness of this harmful, radioactive gas.