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Community and Q&A

Passive Radon Mitigation using Solar/Wind Turbine Fan

Robert McDonald | Posted in Green Building Techniques on

Here’s my dilemma: New home less than 5 years old with passive radon mitigation system that runs up through the house exterior walls. Ceiling is vaulted so there is no attic or way to install a radon fan up there. Got quote to reduce radon and contractor said to cap off the existing pipe and install a new pipe that runs up along the outside wall with an attached fan, essentially abandoning the existing passive system.

So I’m wondering if anyone encountered this scenario: there are solar/wind powered turbine fans that are installed on the roof to remove heat from the attic. Since the passive radon system works by wind passing across the top of the pipe and drawing out the radon, it would seem that these attic turbine fans could possibly enhance that process significantly without incurring the electric costs in running a 24/7 radon fan. It would be about one third the cost of a replacement system and more green and more attractive; at least it would seem. Thoughts?

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  1. Nicholas C | | #1

    I have to put in a radon mitigation system, after the test they will determine if I need a fan or not. I have thought about the fact having the fan on 24/7 does add up, quite a bit for something homes never had in the past. The benefit is worthwhile, though.

    I read something on builditsolar, here is the link:

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    Did your radon mitigation contractor give you an explanation for why the existing pipe has to be capped and abandoned?

    Why not install a fan above your roof? (Of course, you need to run power to the fan, and it's an ugly solution -- but almost every solution is ugly.)


  3. Robert McDonald | | #3

    The radon mitigation contractor came into our cul-de-sac and offered a package deal. All fan units were installed about four feet from the ground, I suspect for ease of maintenance. I opted out not realizing you could put these fans on the roof and run an electrical line along the roof to a power supply and still be in code compliance. As far as appearance, my existing pipe is on the back side of the roof so it shouldn't detract from curb appeal. Still hesitant about adding to my electric bill, although now there is a feasible solution that doesn't require running a new pipe. Will wait to see what leads there are with a solar/wind power unit that is strong enough to do the job. Thanks!

  4. Robert McDonald | | #4

    Please clarify how you secured this fan to the roof. In the bottom image, is the fan encased inside a metal housing? Also, what's the potential for being dislodged by strong winds and how did you safeguard against this. Thanks again for your insights.

  5. C L | | #5

    @Robert McDonald
    Did you end up finding a workable passive wind or solar powered solution?

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