Radon Stories from Nashville TN
January is National Radon Awareness Month, so this year, we are sharing a few stories from local residence who worked with E3 INNOVATE to address radon concerns in their home.
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. and the #1 cause among people who have never smoked smoke. It is a radio-active gas that originates from the breakdown of uranium in the soil. There are no signs or symptoms of high radon levels in homes because this gas is invisible to our senses. That is why it is so important to test!
Check out these success stories from Nashville residence.
East Nashville Family
In 2019, E3 worked on a home of a young family in East Nashville. Services included an E3 signature sealed crawlspace system with a dehumidifier, new bathroom smart exhaust fans, attic air sealing, and attic insulation. When the work was complete, we conducted our diagnostic testing to measure the improvements to the overall energy efficiency metrics of the house. The results were very good... BUT, radon levels had increased to around 25 pCi/L, much higher than where they were prior to the start of the efficiency upgrades.
E3's home improvement strategies reduced the infiltration of the house, which is great for energy savings, but in this case, caused radon levels to increase. In general, when infiltration is reduced, radon can get trapped inside the home. As a whole-home performance company, E3 is aware of this risk and will present an option for mitigation. Often times however, homeowners don't understand the connection. That was the case in this situation, and no radon mitigation system was implemented at the time of the initial home performance work.
During a follow-up maintenance visit the following year, E3 re-tested radon and reminded the homeowners of the high levels. We were particularly concerned because their family had a young baby. No action was taken to remediate right away, but in late 2023, E3 conducted another follow-up maintenance visit and discovered that the dehumidifier had failed. This resulted in reengagement by the homeowners to take action.
The homeowners decided it was time to install a digital radon monitor in nursery bedroom. To their surprise, radon levels had soared to around 50 pCi/L, which is VERY HIGH (see graph below). E3 stressed the need to perform mitigation, and the homeowners agreed.
After E3's mitigation work, levels dropped into the single digits and are now averaging about 2 pCi/L! See the graph below. Because of the potential risk for high levels in this home, E3 is monitoring radon data continuously for the homeowners via a cloud database and will make further adjustments to the system if necessary. The homeowners can now rest assured that the indoor air is safe for their family and that a professional is keeping track of their situation!
This story highlights the need to test, mitigate, retest and monitor continuously to make sure that the system is working and to know whether adjustments are necessary to keep radon levels low for the long-term. It also highlights the need for a system-based whole-home approach to energy upgrades because of the inter-connected nature of each system in a home.
Green Hills Family
In 2023, E3 completed a home performance makeover for this home in the Green Hills neighborhood of Nashville, which included a full suite of E3 services: HVAC design, attic insulation improvements, new smart exhaust fans, a clean sealed crawlspace and dehumidification system, removal of old HVAC systems, the installation of four new high-performance Mitsubishi heat-pumps, and a radon mitigation system.
During the initial testing phase of the design, E3 measured radon levels and the results came back low, around 1.4 pCi/L. However, planning for major air sealing upgrades in the attic and the crawlspace, E3 predicted radon levels would go up as the home got tighter. So, E3's recommended scope of work included a radon mitigation system to prevent levels from increasing after the makeover. The homeowners agreed this was a good addition to the project that would ultimately protect their indoor air quality.
After the makeover was complete, ongoing radon monitoring was put in place to tract indoor air quality. Results show that the family's exposure is very well managed at less than 1.0 pCi/L. The 95-day running average exposure is 0.6 pCi/L. Success!
When E3 helps families properly design and properly install home-performance systems as an integrated package, the results speak for themselves! All of the variables are controlled and monitored for peace-of-mind. The homeowners of this house are enjoying the benefits of their recent upgrades with no worries or concerns about air quality!
Erik’s Family Home
In the early 2000's, Erik performed a gut-remodel on his family's home with E3 high-performance healthy home technology. Today, the home performs very well even on super cold snowy days (like today)! The home is very comfortable with stable humidity levels (not too dry). However, radon is one of the variables that must be continually monitored, and adjustments need to be made to help ensure a healthy home. Erik's long-term radon exposure over the last year comes in at 2.9 pCi/L, which is below the EPA's suggested indoor level of 4.0 pCi/L.
Throughout the year, Erik has made adjustments to the fresh-air ERV system of the home to help manage the radon level. However, adjustments to the ERV influence temperature and humidity as well. Controlling all these variables requires building science expertise and patience.
E3's whole-home maintenance plans have been designed to manage the dynamics of seasonal fluctuations in climate and indoor conditions so to maintain a healthy home.
Are you interested in creating and maintinaing a healthy home?
Call E3 INNOVATE today!