Should I put an argon mitigation system in my kitchen crawlspace?

Answered by Jeffrey ~ August 9, 2010 ~ Comments

I am remodeling our kitchen. It has been gutted. The size is 15'6"x15'3". It is built over a crawlspace. Should I put a Argon Mittigation System in my kitchen crawlspace?

James K. ~ Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi James, I wonder if you don't mean a radon mitigation system? Argon gas is non-toxic, but if you are in a closed in room without adequate ventilation, it is possible to suffocate by breathing only Argon gas. I am not aware of any areas with an Argon gas problem, but if one exists in Pittsburgh, you definitely may want to consider additional ventilation for your kitchen.

If you meant Radon gas, then that is another issue. Before I get into talking about Radon mitigation I want to say that the health of you and your family is of utmost importance and you should do whatever you feel is right to keep your family safe. All I can say about health and safety issues is what I would do if it were my house and family, but you should make the decision that allows you to sleep comfortably at night.

Radon is more prevalent in some areas than others and the only way to tell if it is an issue in your area is to get your home tested. You can't go by what your neighbors say or what other people in Pittsburgh say, radon may be bad in certain parts of Pennsylvania and fine in others, and it can be bad in certain parts of Pittsburgh and bad in others. Your neighbor's house could be fine and your crawlspace be full of it.

The expensive part of a radon mitigation system is the pump. When I am building homes with basements I always install the piping necessary to remove Radon gas if it is found. It is easy to do when the plumbing rough is being done in the house. I invite the homeowner to get the home tested for radon within 90 days of their moving into the home and if it comes back with an unacceptable result, I install a pump free of charge. Perhaps it was just the area I was building in, but from 2004-2008 I was in charge of constructing about 200 homes and I only had to put in one pump. However the piping is still there, and if any of those homeowners has a problem in the future, all they need to do is hook up a pump to the piping.

Even if your crawlspace comes up negative, you might still want to add the venting system while you are working in the area. There isn't a whole lot of venting needed for a crawlspace and you can always add a pump down the road if it ever tests positive. Then again, you may decide you want to add the pump now even if the crawlspace tests negative.

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