DIY Radon Mitigation Trend
We’re right in the thick of summer, the time of year when most people are working on improving their homes. In most cases, a DIY project to spruce up the home makes a massive difference when done right. DIY can be a wonderful opportunity to learn and connect with the people that share the same roof. There are cases, however, where DIY is a really bad idea (I’m sure you can imagine where this is going). In monitoring the pulse of what’s going on in the radon world, we’ve noticed a trend that’s a bit troubling. There are more and more little blog entries about how to install your own DIY Radon Mitigation system. On top of that, the search volume for phrases regarding this concept is growing as well. There is a growing curiosity among homeowners if it’s a good idea to skip going to an expert and tackle this kind of project on their own. In fairness, we totally understand. In most scenarios, you can save money by taking on home projects with a few tools and some YouTube videos. That being said, installing a Radon Mitigation system is not just a fun weekend project. There are plenty of reasons why a DIY radon mitigation system is a bad idea…here we name a few:
Radon Professionals do this every day
It is not hyperbole when we claim that our mitigation techs have installed THOUSANDS of Radon Mitigation systems in the KC area. In other words, they’ve seen pretty much everything, including coming into homes where there are “systems” installed in ways that completely go against logic and explanation. In many cases, the system is completely pointless and has to be torn out and a completely new system installed. In other words, this isn’t just like fixing the stairs on your deck. To install a Radon Mitigation system, you have to know what you’re doing, or the system is entirely pointless.
Let’s say you follow the DIY guide, install everything just as it says, and your levels aren’t going down. How will you troubleshoot? Where will you begin? Most of those DIY guides are very limited or include no information at all about how to handle a scenario where you do everything “right” and you still aren’t getting the desired results. We’re not saying you have to be a rocket scientist to know how these systems work, but there is a wealth of knowledge necessary to effectively troubleshoot these systems when things aren’t going as planned. If you have the time and energy to research every possible reason that the system isn’t functioning properly, more power to you. While you are technically paying for the labor, the greatest value comes from the wisdom and knowledge from years of learning that surpasses a blog post or a 2-minute video.
Imagine the scenario where you buy all the materials, do all the work, and still aren’t able to get the levels down. You try everything and run out of patience. Then you call a professional who comes to your home and looks over the system, only to have to break it to you that the system is pointless. Instead of saving a few bucks, you now buy the system twice. Yikes.
Causing new problems
Let’s say you are able to get this system up and running and even see radon levels decrease in the home. While this can seem like a win, there can still be issues. For example, if the fan is installed incorrectly, it may still pull air through the system and “work”, but the fan burns out much faster than its actual expected lifespan. The money “saved” from a DIY job now gets burned up on buying a new fan long before it should be necessary. If a fan is installed incorrectly in the attic and proper measures aren’t factored in with the piping, you can actually create moisture buildup in the attic that leads to mold in the ceiling. Anyone who has dealt with mold can tell you it is no walk in the park. Plus, it costs money. Nothing like “fixing” one problem and creating a new problem to boot.
How well do you know the Structure of a home?
There are more than a few ways to build a home with diverse layouts and varied floorplans. While you may know your home like the back of your hand, what you may not know is that the floorplan and what kind of foundation the home sits on can make a pretty big difference in the setup of the system that is necessary to lower radon levels. Some floor plans require multiple suction points or you will only be truly dealing with the radon levels in one section of the home rather than the whole home. A professional will be able to take a visual inspection of the home and know which kind of system is necessary within minutes. As stated before, this knowledge has immense value.
You not only have to factor in building knowledge and radon knowledge but also an understanding of what is up to “code” and what is not. We can assure you, these codes exist for a reason. For example, there are some very specific codes regarding where you disperse the radon from the system, and it’s not the most convenient answer, but it matters. If you disperse radon in the incorrect location, you can actually do way more harm than intended. You are putting in a mitigation system to protect yourself from radon, and yet dispersing incorrectly can take an already concentrated amount of radon, concentrate it even more, and then send it directly into the home. Rather than mitigating the problem, you take the problem in higher doses than if you did nothing at all. Once again, yikes.
Cost of a Radon Mitigation System – It’s less expensive than you think
The most likely reason someone would do a DIY system in the first place is to save money. We get it, life is expensive. The part that is unfortunate in these DIY blogs is the misinformation about what a radon mitigation system actually costs. Most of these blogs we viewed had sensationalized language about the exorbitant costs of these systems, with most of them stating that you can count on spending $1500 to $2,000 easily to get a system installed. While there are times a system can cost that much, it will cost that much for a reason (as in, all the more reason not to do it yourself). In most cases, mitigation is going to be less than $1,000. We’re going to go out on a limb and imagine you don’t have a radon fan just lying around, along with a roto driller, jackhammer, etc. and the correct size PVC. Those materials will have to be purchased, and if you don’t have the tools, they will have to be purchased or rented. In other words, by the time you get materials and all the tools necessary, you will be maybe a couple hundred dollars under what you would be paying a professional just to get started on a complex system install. And that’s assuming everything goes right! Radon mitigation is fairly inexpensive and in most cases, we can give you an estimate right away on the phone.
In summary, if you have all the right tools, building/radon/code knowledge, patience, and time on your hands, a DIY radon mitigation system may be your cup of tea. For 99.99% of average homeowners, a DIY system is a bad idea. It’s best to have the system built correctly the first time, and to have the peace of mind that it is actually going to work. Dealing with Radon is not like adding a fresh coat of paint to the garage. It is serious business. Take it from Radonaway, the company that actually manufactures most of the mitigation fans in use today:
“Remember, this is a radioactive gas. Fixing your home is best left to a professional”
Have fun with all of your DIY products this summer. If you need mitigation for Radon, we’re here to help. You can have peace of mind knowing that it is done right.