In contradiction to the widely held assumption that ventilation is ineffective as a means of reducing indoor radon concentrations, experiments in a research house have shown that the basement radon level can be reduced by a factor of 5-10 using only natural ventilation. Measurements of the outdoor-basement pressure differential and the radon entry rate show that this unexpectedly large reduction in indoor radon levels is caused by two complementary physical processes. The first mechanism is the obvious one: dilution. Radon concentrations are lowered by the addition of uncontaminated outdoor air. The second mechanism is less evident: an open basement window reduces basement depressurisation. This decreases the rate at which radon-laden soil gas is drawn into the house. It was also found that the radon entry rate is a linear function of basement depressurisation up to a differential pressure of about 4 Pa, as would be expected for laminar soil gas flow; opening two basement windows approximately doubles the building air exchange rate and reduces the radon entry rate by up to a factor of 5.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health