Do you hear a gurgling sound from your radon mitigation system? That is because there is water in the radon pipes. But there is nothing to worry about. This is a common thing that happens for various reasons.
The main reasons for water in a radon pipe are condensation, the wrong pitch of vent pipes, and a high water table under the basement. Unlike what many believe, rainwater cannot enter the radon pipe due to the constant, high airflow it has.
That is the short answer I could give you. However, I am pretty sure that you want to know more about how water got into your radon system.
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How does water enter a radon mitigation system
Like I mentioned above, water enters a radon mitigation system because of;
- Condensation from moist air
- The wrong pitch of the vent pipes
- A high water table under the basement
Condensations from moist air
Your radon system can reduce the moisture levels in your home, mostly in the basement. The mitigation system pulls out the moist air from the basement through its vent pipes. In cold weather conditions, the moist air can condense in the pipes, and these condensations can create a large pool of water.
Normally, radon systems come with a condensate bypass, a special arrangement of pipes or hoses to remove the condensed water from the radon pipe. If this arrangement is not working properly, water will be left in the pipes. This will result in a gurgling or bubbling sound, like that made by a straw when the glass is just empty. If the gurgling noise your radon system makes is coming from somewhere near its fan, the culprit is the condensate bypass.
Wrong pitch of the vent pipes
A radon mitigation system consists of several pipes going in all directions. But the pitch of these pipes should be towards the ground. But if the installation is done wrongly, which can happen if you did it yourself, one of the horizontal pipes can have the wrong pitch. This will prevent any water or condensation in the pipes from draining, and instead, the water will be trapped at the bends of this horizontal pipe.
When the air passes through this area, you will hear the gurgling sound. If the noise from your radon system is coming from one of the bends or the 1st or second levels of your house, a wrongly installed vent pipe is the problem.
High water table under the basement
The loud gurgling noise coming out of your radon system can be due to the water table being close to the basement floor level. When a suction pit is made in a sub-slab radon system, the soil around the intake of the suction pipe is removed to absorb the radon from the soil easily. A high water table can fill this lower area of the suction pit. So when the radon fan is working, the air coming through this water will produce a gurgling noise.
How to get water out of radon mitigation system
We have seen how water enters radon pipes. Now, let us see how this can be avoided. Here is how to get water out of your radon system and stop the gurgling sound;
Find out where the noise is coming from
The gurgling sound can come anywhere from your radon system as the water causing it can be trapped anywhere. So the first thing you need to do is to locate where the sound is coming from. Start from your basement where the radon system starts from. Check whether the noise is coming from the suction pit, from the fan or from any of the bends in the piping. These are the most probable areas where water can be trapped.
Check if the vent pipes are installed correctly
If the gurgling sound of water is coming from one of the bends, it is possible that horizontal pipe is downward in the wrong way and acting as a trap. Switch off the radon fan, disconnect the pipe from that bend, and drain the water out. Then install the pipe correctly.
Incorrect installation of vent pipes is the major reason behind the accumulation of water in radon pipes. The water coming into the pipes, whether through rain or condensation, should be drained properly. By installing the vent pipes without bends, if possible, and making sure that the pitch of the pipes is towards the ground, you can avoid the trapping of water in the pipes.
Install a sump pump
If the gurgling noise is coming from the suction pit of the radon fan, then Installing a sump pump is the right solution. If the water table is high in your area, the sump pit will collect all the water, and the pump can pump it out. Lack of a sump pump can also cause your basement to flood when the water table rises. The presence of a sump pump eliminates the chances of water getting inside the mitigation system’s suction pit, and thus it eliminates any chances of producing a gurgling sound.
Install a radon condensate bypass kit
The water in the radon pipes can be outed by installing a radon condensate bypass kit. A bypass will kit drain the condensed water out of the pipes without it getting into the radon fan. Water getting into the radon fan can damage it, so it is essential to have a bypass kit installed in your radon system.
Here is a bypass kit in action:
Cover the vent pipes with thermal insulation
Condensation occurs in radon pipes when the outside temperature is very low. This condensation can be prevented by insulating the vent pipes with thermal insulations. This will keep the pipes warm thus preventing the moist air inside from condensing inside.
Can rainwater enter a radon pipe?
It is impossible for rainwater to enter a radon pipe due to the high volume of air it exhausts. The flush of air will divert rainwater even if it is pouring down. For some installations, the radon vent pipe is installed horizontally to reduce the chances of rainwater getting in it.
It is also not recommended to use a rain cap over a radon vent. Most rain caps direct the exhaust air downward which adds load to the radon fan. The use of rain caps can also cause ice blocks in winter, making the mitigation system entirely useless.