Can Basement Sump Pumps Cause Elevated Radon Levels?
Homes have sump pumps installed in the basement for the purpose of pumping water out and away from the building to keep the basement dry. Sump pumps are used in homes that have basement flooding on a regular basis or have high water tables. Sump pumps are typically installed in a sump pit which is the housing holding the pump. Water drains into the pit and is pumped out and away from the home.
Radon is a radioactive gas that is formed from the natural breakdown of uranium in rock and soil. Radon enters a home from the soil beneath and around your house. Radon gas can enter your home through the footing drain tile that is connected to the sump pump in your basement.
An unsealed sump pump has direct exposure to soil gases which allows radon gas to have a wide open path into the home. Sealing a home’s sump pump is an easy and inexpensive home repair with a sump lid. Studies have shown capping a sump pump can reduce radon levels by up to 50%. Further studies and information re: proper sump pump management for both residential and commercial entities can be found in the EPA UST System: Inspecting And Maintaining Sumps And Spill Buckets.
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