Hello Home Energy Pros,

I'm looking for resources, articles, studies about how radon mitigation systems impact energy efficiency (electricity consumption from active systems, potential increases in air changes, changes to a HERS score, etc.).

If you know of a study or article based on good evidence and/or sound modeling, please paste a link in a reply.

Thanks!

Kevin Emerson
Utah Clean Energy

Tags: radon

Views: 727

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I have been finding more to support the idea that Radon is a tempest in a teapot.  

I found the following article and discussion interesting. 

The take away that I got from these is that mitigation is usually not necessary and is encouraged by an industry trying to justify itself. 

This first is a discussion by industry professionals:

http://homeenergypros.lbl.gov/forum/topics/radon-truth-vs-myth

This article is a scientific perspective:

http://www.forensic-applications.com/radon/radon.html

I've read this article, too, and found it very informative. I now do not consider radon a major issue, certainly not at typical residential levels.

I have no links, just some anecdotal evidence. I ran several Blower Door Tests on my own home. So I know what the leakage was. After I tested for Radon, 10 pcl I thought about not mitigating. I also thought about mitigating just before the time of sale. I decided to spend some money now, instead of leaving it to my wife later to figure out. We have been here 30 years and have another 20 to go. My post test was 0 pcl.

I ran some blower door tests after I installed the system; with the fan going and without it going. The change in the Blower Door fan flow, with single point or multi-point testing, was not noticeable. It did not change the HERS Rating. The fan mentioned in one of the links below called 21 watts on the fan draw. Over a year that is less than 9 KWH. At 15¢, I can afford $1.35 annual. That will not change the HERS Index either.

If you read the RESNET/ICC/ ANSI Standard 380, it calls for the house to be set to winter conditions before running the blower door. Doors and windows shut. The Radon Fan will run in winter conditions. That should not impact the HERS Score either.

My observation is that Radon testing and mitigation is a fact of life at Real Estate Sales. The agents will recommend the test. They will push their buyer to have the seller remediate or walk away. I am aware of one house on the market for 2 years, because the owner will not allow the test to be run, much less remediate. Several large RE firms will not take her listing. This is a Zone II Radon area. Only 1 in 4 homes.

You may or may buy the science, when you decide to sell, you will test and then mitigate as needed. Or not sell and let your heirs handle the problem.

Hey John,

Thanks for the information.  Very good empirical data. While I agree that running the fan won't cost much or change the HERS score. I just question is it necessary in the first place.  I also just wonder if sellers and buyers are being held captive by Real Estate and Mitigation folks for monetary rather than health reasons.  

So, is it, that it doesn't matter if Radon really isn't that dangerous, But, if you want to sell, you do what we say. 

The Nay side is well represented with the links already posted.

I presented a neutral side, with the argument about time of sale issues.

The Yea side is well represented, but will not show up here, due to folks accepted the science the EPA and State Radon agencies have developed. The largest acceptors of that science are homeowner that pay for the mitigation systems.

Folks may pause before spending money to save money with energy efficiency improvements. They will pay money to improve comfort. They will pay money to remove a health hazard from their home.

I believe that there is a plethora of studies to support the dangers of Radon. I was a radiation specialist in the Nuclear Naval Submarine Service and I have a degree in physics. I understand the source and mechanism of Radon. It is a long term affect and is cumulative. Each atom of radioactive Radon gas that enters your lungs has a short half-life and will likely decay to other radioactive elements, as well as giving off alpha particles. Alpha particles are the most damaging type of radiation for close proximity. An alpha particle is the nucleus of a Helium atom, but without any electrons. Both its relative mass and its electrical charge will damage one or more lung cells. Keep repeating that and you not only have lung cells that are damaged, but you are setting up conditions for the cells to reproduce in uncontrolled fashion, or lung cancer.

Do take Radon seriously. Don't guess, test!

It's good to see somebody who has some REAL scientific knowledge commenting on the real danger of radon.  I was required to take MANY HOURS of training on radon properties & dangers, and I am convinced of the dangers.  The cost is negligible, both installation and operation.  The levels, if properly mitigated, and not later compromised by basement "waterproofing" or other modifications to the structure, will not be affected by efficiency measures.  The realtors would all love to see the radon situation disappear; it's one of many possible "deal killers."

Brad, 

The dangers of Ionized radiation is known but the issue is at what level does the damage become an issue. 

I spent 20 years in Biotechnology/Immunology working with radioactive materials and wastes so I have a bit of dog in the fight so I really want the best information. Cell damage is happening all the time from many assaults. We know what large doses can do but when we get into lower levels of exposure it is not clear.

The question is the LNT (linear no threshold) hypothesis that is the crux of determining the dangers of low-level exposures and this is where the waters get murky.

Most of the major studies are based on the initial BIER studies with uranium miners as a baseline. It has been my observation that many of the studies have some underlying factors that make them difficult to extrapolate some of the data. I am not a statistician and wish I had a better understanding of how they remove bias and confounding factors in these studies. 


From the International Atomic Energy Asso-

"low doses of radiation, there is still considerable uncertainty about the overall effects. It is presumed that exposure to radiation, even at the levels of natural background, may involve some additional risk of cancer. However, this has yet to be established."

Source-
https://www.iaea.org/Publications/Factsheets/English/radlife 


Here is an article from the NIH that actually tries to state there is a hormetic effect, which I personally am a little iffy on also, but just shows how murky the information really is.

Source-

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3315166/


The 4 pCi/L action level still seems like an arbitrary number based on some assumptions that are just guesswork on costs and effects.

My biggest issues are the numbers attributed to radon-induced lung cancer. These numbers are pure guesswork since it is based on yet to be firmly proven Hypothesis.

When we get into these low-level dose environments there can be confounding factors that can skew the information one way or another. I guess I am just being a skeptic and I am just waiting for what I think is proper irrefutable proof related to low-level doses.

We should be looking at all the available data though.

John, thanks for the information, it was very helpful.

Thank you Andrew, Ray, and John for sharing the information and links!

Kevin

It seems to me that a newly-constructed home with a proper vapor barrier installed below the slab would greatly help reduce radon infiltration into a home.   How has more modern construction practices, such as building code changes and energy efficiency codes, made a difference in radon infiltration into a home? 

RSS

Latest Activity

John White posted a blog post

What to Expect from a New HVAC Unit Installation Cost

The cost of installing an HVAC unit, such as an air conditioner installation in Laguna Hills, will…See More
4 hours ago
Kelly Vaughn posted a blog post

How Cities Can Ensure Better Rentals for Everyone

By Alisa PetersenWhile much of RMI’s research and analysis on home energy performance has focused…See More
13 hours ago
Brett Little posted an event

Resilient Design in an Age of Climate Change - Free CE Webinar at Webinar Online

May 30, 2018 from 12pm to 1:15pm
A changing climate, sea level rise, drought, and a wide range of stresses in the world are…See More
13 hours ago
John Oxford posted a blog post

Make 2018 The Year You Fear No Power Outage

Get A Back-Up Generator For Your Home’s “Mission Critical” Power Needs…See More
16 hours ago
Diane Chojnowski posted a discussion

California's new solar roof mandate

There's an interesting article in GreenTech Media about California's new solar roof…See More
17 hours ago
Ron Jones joined Diane Chojnowski's group
Thumbnail

Job Board

This group is for posting jobs related to all aspects of the home performance industry including…See More
17 hours ago
Ron Jones joined Diane Chojnowski's group
Thumbnail

News & Announcements

Share your news and announcements with the community in this group.To post news or an announcement,…See More
17 hours ago
Ron Jones joined Sean Lintow Sr's group
Thumbnail

Best Practices (Residential)

Best Building, Retrofitting, or even Auditing Practices - what are they, what should change, what…See More
17 hours ago
Don Fugler added a discussion to the group Kitchen Ventilation
Thumbnail

Choosing a range hood

There is so much information - how do you find what you need?With the references listed in Tom…See More
17 hours ago
Ron Jones joined Bob Krell's group
Thumbnail

Healthy Indoors (IAQ)

The Healthy Indoors group is focused on indoor air quality (IAQ), mold, moisture control, radon,…See More
17 hours ago
Mike faurot replied to Jerry Halls's discussion Retrotec Blower Door & DucTester For Sale in the group Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase
"Please send me a contact number to 772-528-2076. I would like to discuss a pup if you still have…"
18 hours ago
Don Fugler liked Tom Phillips's discussion Kitchen Ventilation Resources
18 hours ago
Mike faurot replied to Jerry Halls's discussion Retrotec Blower Door & DucTester For Sale in the group Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase
"Please send me a contact number to 772-528-2076. I would like to discuss a pup if you still have…"
22 hours ago
Mike faurot joined allen p tanner's group
Thumbnail

Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase

Discuss the pros and cons of the equipment you are interested in prior to purchase. Post equipment…See More
22 hours ago
Bob Krell posted videos
yesterday
Profile IconRon Jones, universal services and Mike faurot joined Home Energy Pros Forum
yesterday
Mike faurot liked Jerry Halls's discussion Retrotec Blower Door & DucTester For Sale
yesterday
Larry Weingarten joined Don Fugler's group
Thumbnail

Kitchen Ventilation

In many homes, cooking is the largest indoor source of air pollutants. Exposures can be higher in…See More
yesterday
Bob Krell posted a blog post
Sunday
John C. Semmelhack replied to Gary Hall's discussion HERS score with HRV
"I agree with David Butler...it really depends on the inputs into the model as well as the…"
Saturday

Photos

  • Add Photos
  • View All

© 2018   Created by Home Performance Coalition (HPC)   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service