Chapter 5 - Quality Assurance & Quality Control
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What is Radon Mitigation?

Radon mitigation is a technical term for the process of evacuating radon gas from a home, school, multifamily building or any other property in which concentrations of radon have accumulated to unsafe levels. In addition, since the emergence of the radon industry in the 1980’s practical techniques have been developed for pre-construction application, which offers significant cost savings to consumers and greatly improves the aesthetics and integrity of the property. In fact, modern science and building principles have allowed for the improvement and efficacy of mitigation systems, making it possible to lower radon levels in just about every type of home (or building) with every type of foundation.

It has often been said that a mitigation system [whether passive or active] is more like a work of art blended with science and engineering when it can significantly reduce radon and improve indoor air quality in a cost effective, aesthetically appealing manner without compromising the structural integrity of the home. To accomplish this feat takes a great deal of building performance experience with a crafty blend of construction, plumbing, electrical and HVAC expertise. Approaching every job with the knowledge that your work will significantly impact human lives will be a great incentive to mastering the trade and continual education and development.

According to the Federal Indoor Radon Abatement Act of 1988, the goal is to lower indoor radon concentrations as close to outdoor [ambient] radon levels as possible or As Low As Reasonably Achievable [ALARA]. Although no radon level is safe, the EPA and radon industry scientists recommend consumers take action to reduce radon levels indoors at 4.0 pCi/L and communicate a reasonable expectation that most homes can be mitigated to levels below 2.0 pCi/L. Unfortunately, the recommended ‘Action Level’ has intrinsically set a false standard at which many mitigation contractors and consumers alike hold as the threshold for health and safety. It is important that all radon measurement and mitigation contractors understand and clearly communicate to the consumer that levels below 4 pCi/L still present a significant health risk.

To achieve this goal a mitigation contractor must employ deliberate and unique strategy to each home based on multiple factors including foundation type, HVAC systems, substrate below the house, and structural and building design elements. Radon systems are intended to be permanent, integral components of the home and should function properly regardless of human occupancy and weather condition. It may be possible in some homes to achieve very low radon levels with basic mitigation design strategy while others may require significant engineering to achieve marginally low radon levels [near 4.0 pCi/L.]