Maine Water Radon

If you recently discovered that your current or future home has elevated levels of Radon in its water, chances are you’re starting to do your homework on installing a water Radon system.

In this article we’ll take a look at Radon VENT SIZES…specifically; the different vent sizes that are used on water Radon systems today, why this matters to your home, and why certain systems require larger vents than others.

For homeowners in Maine water Radon issues, unfortunately can be a part of life if  your water comes from a private well.

On the fortunate side of the fence, because it is so common in this part of the country, most professionally made water Radon mitigation systems do an excellent job of removing Radon from a home’s water.  (for more on types of systems see: Maine Water Radon | Choosing the Right System )

How do Water Radon Vents Work?maine water radon vent

Without spending a lot of time on how these systems function, I will tell you that when it comes right down to it, how they work is really quite simple.

The best way to explain how they work is to think back to when we were kids and when we would blow bubbles down through a straw into a glass of soda.

Water radon systems are basically doing the same thing. They are just using a lot more sophisticated equipment to do the job. In this case a “blower” forces the air down into the system instead of the straw. Bubbles then form inside the system which releases the unhealthy gas from the water.

A vent then carries the Radon gas to the outside of the home before it has a chance to enter our home (and our lungs) through close contact sources such as shower heads and dish washers, where the risk is highest.

Types of Radon Vent Runs

There are two ways in which to vent water Radon gas from a home; an internal vent or an external vent.

Internal vents are run up through the interior of a home using closet spaces, wall cavities and unfinished attics. External vents are usually routed directly to the outside of a home, then run up along the side of a wall until they are above the house’s roof line.

maine water radon ventVent Size and External Runs

If it is determined that the water Radon vent for your home will be run externally (usually for cost savings or lack of interior space options) it would be a really good idea to consider the specific make of Radon system you will be choosing and to consider the size of the vent that system requires.

Choices for Maine Water Radon Systems

There are only a handful of quality manufacturers on the market that produce water Radon systems today. Of those available, 3 sizes of exhaust vents are currently used… 2”, 3” and 4” diameters.

Why do different systems require different size vents, if in theory they are all doing the same exact thing??

Think of adding a turbo charger onto a car’s engine. This was a common practice used by American car manufacturers back in the 80s & early 90s (incidentally, a time when quality wasn’t always exactly synonymous with cars made here in the US).

By adding a turbo charger, a car maker could take an engine that was really only designed for a smaller amount of output, and increase its performance and ratings dramatically. Not exactly cheating, but also not exactly what I would call doing it right in the first place, either. Why not just build a more efficient system to begin with?

Making the Numbers Work

Radon systems are really quite similar.

System A, B and C may all boast having 99+% Radon reduction ratings. Despite these ratings one system still requires a vent twice as large the others to get rid of the same amount of Radon as its competitor(s).

Using this example it isn’t difficult to determine which system is, in actuality, more efficient at doing its job to begin with.

If the systems were truly all created equal, one would think each would utilize the smallest vent possible, right? I know if my wife and I needed a water Radon system, and we at all had a choice, we’d much rather see a small 2” Radon vent being used than a large 4” vent protruding from our home.

*Incidentally, these same principles apply to why certain water Radon systems require a secondary external fan unit and why other systems don’t!   

Why Does Size Matter

Now let’s get back to External Radon venting and why the size of the vent matters.

Consider for a moment aesthetics and resale value.

If your home’s Radon system will have an external water Radon Vent, you will be seeing that white PVC vent on the outside of your home for a very long time…and so will your neighbors.

The next time you are driving down the road, start looking at home’s that have external Radon vents.  They’re usually pretty easy to spot, especially if the treatment professional did a poor job of being discrete about the installation.

A 4” Radon vent that has been installed on either the side, or in some cases even the front of a home, will quite often stick out like a sore thumb. Apologies for being so blunt here, but there’s really just no other way to put it…they can be downright ugly!

The long and short of it here is that it really does boil down to looks. Your home is your oasis, your investment and your pride and joy. You have every right to maintain it’s beauty and curb appeal.

Just because you need to fix health related issues with your home’s water doesn’t mean you should have to sacrifice its visual integrity.

The lesson here…do your homework and MAKE SURE TO ASK YOUR TREATMENT PROFESSIONAL THE RIGHT QUESTIONS before agreeing to an installation.

Questions to ask your Treatment Professional

  • What diameter vent does the system you are proposing require?
  • What is the efficiency/Radon removal rating for the system?
  • Will you be installing an internal or external vent run?
  • If it’s an external run, where will the vent be located and how discrete will it be once the vent is installed?