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Install radon Manometer in accessible location (through gyp) while maintaining airtightness?

user-5946022 | Posted in Green Building Techniques on

I need to install a radon mitigation system, which includes a manometer.  While the manometer does NOT give a radon reading (I have another device for that), it does provide information as to whether the fan is drawing and the pipe pressure.

The house was prepped for a mitigation system with a pipe at the soil under the crawl encapsulation, which then goes straight up inside an interior wall, through a unconditioned attic and vents out through the roof.  I’m being told the only options for installation of a manometer are on the pipe in the crawl, or on the pipe in the attic. Both areas are rarely accessed and are somewhat difficult to access.

I’d like the manometer to be where it can easily be seen.  The radon vent pipe is in a wall adjacent to a door of a closet accessed multiple times/day.   I’d like to figure out a way to install the manometer just inside the door.

However, the primary air seal layer in my home is unfortunately the gypsum board.  Thus, I’m a bit OCD about trying to make sure it remains airtight.  Does anyone have any ideas of how to install the manometer so it is visible but I still maintain the airtightness and the location at which the tube penetrates the pipe can be easily accessed for maintenance?

Preferred solution would be an airtight access box that opens to the wall cavity to provide access to the location at which the manometer tube goes into the pipe, and an airtight seal in the gyp where the tube penetrates to a surface mounted manometer.  I thought caulk would be sufficient but the radon people make it seem like the tube gets removed and replaced often and after 5 years I would have a huge hole and air leak…

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  1. mr_reference_Hugh | | #1

    Option #o
    - Buy a manometer that communicates with a cell phone.
    - Place the manometer in the conditioned attic
    - Read the pressure difference using the cell phone
    One example:
    Not sure how long batteries on the manometer though.

    Option #1
    Run the tube through the ceiling to the conditioned attic and have the manometer on the wall inside the closet.
    I am not sure why the manometer tubes need to be removed from the radon pipe regularly. Not sure why the "unhooking" could not be done with the tube that come through the ceiling into the closet.

    Option #3
    - install a air and water tight access panel (very expensive)
    - Drill a hole in the door
    - Pass the tube through the door and into the radon vertical pipe
    - Close the door
    - Seal around the tube coming through the door.
    - Open/close as required.

    Option #3 These A/W tight access panels are quite expensive for 2 pieces of mouded metal and a gasket but maybe you could make you own. If you get a cheap plastic access panel, maybe you could install weather stripping between the access door and the drywall.

    Option #4
    - Cut a hole in the drywall
    - Cut a piece of plywood (or plexiglass) larger than the hole that will span over the adjacent studs on the right and the left.
    - Glue an piece of weather stripping around the perimeter of the plywood/plexiglass.
    - Drill a hole in the plywood for the tube, pass the tube through and seal the gap between the tube and the plywood.
    - Place a larger tube into the radon pipe and seal around the larger tube
    - Press the plywood/plexiglass against the plywood to create an air tight bond with the weather stripping and then screw the plywood/plexiglass to the studs.
    - Instead of removing the tube from the radon pipe (why is this required anyway?) you just use the piece of tubing coming through the wall to insert the manometer tube into the radon pipe. If the tube coming through the plywood is rigid, maybe there is a nipple at the end of the pipe or a threaded female end with a cap.

    Option 5 Create an access panel that has a square thin piece of flexible rubber. Make a tiny hole in the piece of rubber and pass the tube through the tiny hole. The rubber will create a seal around the tube. Place the access planel over the hole in the wall.

  2. user-5946022 | | #2

    Thank you!
    #1 is also what I wanted to do, but the contractor is resisting. No idea why. (also ETA it is an unconditioned attic - typo on my part). I proposed a feed through bushing through the gyp and the pipe through that, sealed on the attic side with putty pads.

    I also asked several times what would require removing the manometer tubes from the pipe - two separate contractors reply is maintenance, and when I asked how often, they say at least yearly. Yet I don't know anyone who has had their radon system maintained yearly...typically they work until the fan gives out...

    Maybe I'll call a third sub.

  3. mr_reference_Hugh | | #3

    I could see cleaning the tube once a year. The manometer may need to be calibrated. Cleaning the fan once a year can’t do any harm.

    I agree with your solution. There might be a valid reason to not put the tube through the ceiling but if so they should be able to explain the reason. Also, you could call the manufacturer of the nanometer to see if they have any concerns with your solution giving incorrect readings.

    How can you be expected to go into the crawl space or attic on a regular basis???

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