If I Prick Thee Do You Not Bleed, Fresh Air…It’s Common Sense, Right?
This was inspired by Ron Rodrigue’s blog about Radon: http://activerain.com/blogsview/2083451/check-your-home-s-health He’s discussing radon, radon testing and the new laws for testing in the state of Maine.
Radon; I never heard the migration of radon gas described as ‘stack effect’ before. But I guess if you take the geology of the earth below the house basement as the vertical height the term would make sense.
The real problem is the accumulation of this gas in the home. If someone routinely slept in the basement you could expect higher associated risks. Ron is correct in all the facts about testing, how reliable that testing is, and for the remedial measures.
For the occupants health I would also recommend providing (A) a fresh air (insulated) supply duct to the lowest point of the home, and or (B) directly into the plenum of the return air ducts of an air handling system (furnace or AC). If such an air duct system is not present in the house then an (C) air exchanger would do the job.
What either of these measures does is ensure that the air in the home is replaced with fresh air on a regular basis. The air exchanger (C) does exactly that.
The simple fresh air duct (A) or (B) above would also work. Every time a kitchen or bathroom exhaust fans would be in use, or fuel-burning appliances (furnace, water heater, fireplace or stove) are on the exhausted air would cause the replacement air to enter via the duct.
There is not a significant heat loss, as that air would be coming in around windows, or doors, or any place it could, causing drafts and condensation in unwanted places. The difference of having the intake duct terminate in the basement ensures that the whole house is included in the air refreshing that happens so no accumulation of radon or any ‘bad’ air occurs.
It’s this refreshing of the air that provides the health benefit. Any other off gassing, cleaning solvent, dust, mold spore or humidity build up is also dispersed. A secondary beneficial side effect is that those fuel-burning appliances will be burning more efficiently, with less nozzle clogging and no back-drafting.
On days when the weather is favourable open some upstairs windows. The ‘stack effect will cause air to exit the windows and be replaced via the intake duct in the basement.
My parents sleep with a bedroom window open, just a crack, rain or shine, winter or summer, 365 days a year. They are now both in their mid-eightys.
N.B. If your home tests positive for radon gas you must take the remedial measures required. The fresh air and health measures that I recommend in the article above are not a substitution for the approved remedial measures.
Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post