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Basement shops and Radon Gas

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  • Basement shops and Radon Gas

    Does anybody worry about this? Im in the foothills of the rockies in a pretty High radon area and am not concerned with it this year as im not spending much time down there -- but if things change Im thinking of testing it as my bike trainer and machine shop is down there -- the thing is is I knew a guy who did radon mitigation for a living and he told me that while yes indeed its a real threat issue its mostly for "dead end" places that have zero ventilation and it dont take much exchange to drastically change the ratio's for the better --- since Iv got a pet door for the pitts and the girls can hear a squirrel (and/or imaginary ones) tip toeing 15 yards away outside and that door is constantly flapping and also has slight leaks im a thinnin i might be OK
    Thats for the machine shop,

    The training room has a segregated door so im planning on testing that when I start (before I start) training heavy.

  • #2
    You can buy test kits for radon. There's a thingie of activated carbon that you mail in.


    • #3
      Maine has radon too, some places more than others. We got the house tested when we bought it, and the level was at the borderline of being something to worry about, so I don't. These sub-zero days I figure the boiler is drawing enough air into the basement to ventilate it pretty well, anyway.

      If the tested level was "high," I probably would get it taken care of.
      Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
      Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
      Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
      There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
      Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
      Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie


      • #4
        It sounds like you have a walkout basement. If so I don't think it's as much a problem as for the basements that are a hole in the ground with concrete walls on four sides. If your concerned get a detector.
        It's only ink and paper


        • #5
          So, is radon more or less dangerous than lead or asbestos?

          *runs away laughing maniacally*


          • #6
            The area of Ontario that I grew up in (Bancroft) had a large number of active uranium mines during the fifties and sixties. Of course, everybody in the area wanted to have their land checked for uranium deposits, so as a consequence there were people running all over the area with geiger counters. It turned out that damn near everywhere had a lot of natural background radiation---and just about every basement had high concentrations of Radon gas. Now---Take this as you may---My father died of cancer. Every house on every sideroad in the entire area had at least one family member that died of cancer. Every relative of mine that lived in the area has lost at least one or more family members from cancer. Was it the high background radiation, the Radon gas, or just unfortunate coincidence? If I was going to spend much time in a basement that I knew had high concentrations of Radon gas, I would at least have a positive ventilation system that ran 24 hours a day!!! --Brian
            Brian Rupnow


            • #7
              Central New York has a radon problem, in certain areas. It can be high in your house, and low in the house across the street. Testing is the only way to be sure, if you have a problem. Through work, I have installed numerous radon mitigation systems, both powered and unpowered, they are easy to install and can offer excellent results. The system basically releases the trapped radon gas under the basement floor and walls, releasing it into the atmosphere, at a height that keeps it above areas occupied by people, and where it is desolved into the atmosphere.



              • #8
                I had my shop in the basement at my old place and we ended up moving because the Radon levels in the basement were 4 times the EPA maximum. It isn't just basements, BTW. Crawlspaces collect it as well and basically any crack in any slab can let it in. It mainly comes in through sump pumps and drainage tiles though. Sandy soils are the worst offenders because they are porous. It's heavier than air, so concentrations will be highest at the ground. Ventilating is key, as well as sealing up potential entry points. The test kits are usually about $20, but you can probably get a free one from your state's counterpart to the EPA.
                Stuart de Haro


                • #9
                  I'm a Realtor in the Rockies and deal with this all the time.

                  How Radon became such an issue as compared to any number of other 'threats' I have no idea.

                  First off, it's slippery to measure.. well not so much to measure, as to get a feel for risk exposure. A given home can have wildly varying readings depending on season, weather, etc. The best way to figure amount of radon is long term testing, ie at least over a year. Even if you have high readings, you then need to decide if you think it's a risk.

                  Ostensibly, this stuff is everywhere, so it seems moot to me.

                  The only cases I would worry about it, are if there will be infants, or elderly (with med conditions) spending the vast majority of their time in a very tight house, and not opening windows.

                  That said, if doing new construction, it's a good idea to just put in a system.. better safe than sorry, and if nothing else, it will make the house easier to sell. The systems are cheap, as are retrofits. $1200 +/_.

                  The mail in tests are a sham. Call an inspector with the appropriate machines.


                  • #10
                    If you are worried, Put a PVC Pipe from your sump pump chamber (covered) to the outside. That will vent any radon collected. Some use a small fan, but a tall pipe (roof level) should work well.
                    A test kit will tell you to place the kit about 5 feet off the floor. That is the height of the air inhaled by a normal person. If you sit down a lot, lower it to 3 feet. Some want stale air to measure, whoich is hard for a ventilated area !
                    Realize this, to even get a measurement .......takes a years time ?
                    Those who died, ask if they smoked ? seems that fact can affect your sensitivity to radon, or so some say.


                    • #11
                      I will say this, based on it's atomic weight it's heavier than air and is why it collects in the lower areas of buildings. Just placing a pipe to the roof from the basement floor will not help you. You really need a small fan to positively displace the air in the basement. Most simply systems are just a small fan in the attic in the pipe network that runs straight down BELOW the basement floor. The space below the slab is kept at a slight negative pressure and your good to go. It never gets the chance to enter the home

                      Sounds like something you could do yourself and save a bundle of cash too
                      "To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk" Thomas Edison

                      Better to have tools you don't need than to need tools you don't have

                      73's KB3BFR


                      • #12
                        I will say this, based on it's atomic weight it's heavier than air and is why it collects in the lower areas of buildings. Just placing a pipe to the roof from the basement floor will not help you.
                        Silly question, but won't the natural draft of such a pipe cause air to be sucked upward? Or is this only applicable in systems where there is a heat source at the bottom? (IE: fireplace, furnace, water heater)


                        • #13
                          Buy a Radon welder and you can run it for free........


                          Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.


                          • #14
                            in the UK its been law for a long time (30+ years) to put in a plastic membrane under/in the concrete to stop Radon. Dont you have that over there?
                            I have 30 tonnes of nuclear moderator with an outside vent under my Shop so it isnt a worry


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by John Stevenson
                              Buy a Radon welder and you can run it for free........

                              Really John there is no such thing.

                              You with all your experience must know you just run it in standard Tig or Mig... Neon, Argon, Krypton, Radon its all the same

                              Radon Gives such a nice glowing finish to stainless