May 19, 2015 12:50 am
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, many builders are adopting Radon Resistant New Construction (RRNC) features in some of their homes. The EPA suggests that new home buyers ask their builder about these features, and if not provided, to ask to include them in the new home.
If a home is tested after buyers move in and an elevated level of radon is discovered, the owners’ cost of fixing the problem can be much more. On the other hand, constructing with RRNC in new homes can add value by protecting health and reducing costs for customers.
According to the EPA, while techniques may vary for different house foundations and building site requirements, the five basic features that builders should include to prevent radon from entering a home are:
Gravel: Use a 4-inch layer of clean, coarse gravel below the “slab,”or foundation to allow soil gases, which includes radon, to move freely underneath the house. Builders call this the “air flow layer” or “gas permeable layer." In some regions of the country, alternatives are allowed, such as a perforated pipe or a collection mat.
Plastic Sheeting or Vapor Retarder: Place heavy duty plastic sheeting (6 mil. polyethylene) or a vapor retarder on top of gravel to prevent soil gases from entering the house.
A Vent Pipe: Run a 3-inch or 4-inch solid PVC Schedule 40 pipe vertically from the gravel layer (stubbed up when the slab is poured) through the house’s conditioned space and roof to safely vent radon and other soil gases outside above the house.
Sealing and Caulking: Seal all openings, cracks, and crevices in the concrete foundation floor including the slab perimeter crack and walls with polyurethane caulk to prevent radon and other soil gases from entering the home.
Junction Box: Install an electrical junction box outlet in the attic for use with a vent fan, should, after testing for radon, a more robust system be needed.
Visit the National Radon Proficiency Program, the National Radon Safety Board, or your state radon coordinator for service providers in your area.
Published with permission from RISMedia.