Question of the Day - #111 Garages aren’t a radon hazard

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Question of the Day - #111 Garages aren’t a radon hazard

Postby RDavidson » Thu Dec 18, 2014 1:12 pm

I can’t put a radon fan anywhere where it will blow radon laden gas into the conditioned space of a home if the vent should leak but I can install the fan in a garage (MR1303.2403). Now if the radon vent above the fan that is located in the garage begins to leak (which we all know that it can) and fill the garage with radon laden air, it does not appear that the code gods feel that any hazard occurs. Apparently the leak is considered to be so small as to contribute such small amounts of radon into the air that it doesn’t create a death trap or maybe the wall between the garage and dwelling is so well sealed as to be impervious even to insidious radon gas. It is a fact that the energy code does require the separation between the garage and dwelling be “air sealed”. Now this same garage, which neutralizes radon, cannot achieve the same results with carbon monoxide. Even if no openings exist between the dwelling and an attached garage, I am required to install carbon monoxide alarms in the dwelling because of the garage. How is it that radon can find its way through a concrete floor but not through a frame wall between a house and garage? And how is it that radon can’t get through this house/garage wall but carbon monoxide can? I was of the impression that radon particles were really, really, really small and powerful enough to etch glass. Carbon monoxide must even be more powerful!

Kinda makes me wonder though why, if I build my house above my garage, the separation must be air-tight to prevent radon from getting into the house!
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