basics radon manometers homeowners

Basics on Radon Manometers for Aurora Homeowners

If your home or building has high levels of radon that require mitigation through a pipe-based system that removes radon from the space so it cannot be a threat to health, there are a few important components that will often or always be included in this setup. One of these components that’s important for many homeowners who want to be able to monitor their radon levels in the future and ensure nothing goes wrong is known as a radon manometer.

At Absolute Radon Safety, we’re proud to offer the very best radon mitigation systems to clients throughout Aurora and nearby areas, offering the highest-quality radon fans and pipe materials to ensure this harmful substance is not present at high levels in any space we’re working on. Our systems stay out of the way and do not impact your day to day life, another major benefit.

What is a manometer, and what role does it play in a radon mitigation system? Here’s a basic rundown.

Radon Manometer Basics

Some people who have radon mitigation systems in their homes will already be aware of the radon manometer, which refers to the clear curved tube that’s often mounted near the top of the mitigation system’s pipe. The manometer has colored liquid at the bottom, and is attached to the pipe itself.

The purpose of the manometer is to display the level of air suction taking place within the radon mitigation system. The colored liquid represents atmospheric pressure, with the highest level of suction being at the top of the manometer and the lowest level at the bottom.

To be clear, the radon manometer is not reading the radon levels within your home – it’s simply measuring the suction taking place within the system. This information can be useful for homeowners who want to monitor their system and make sure it’s functioning properly, as well as for technicians who are working on a mitigation system to ensure everything is running smoothly.

How to Read and Interpret a Radon Manometer

As one of our installers will explain to any client who is having a radon mitigation system with a manometer installed, the expectation during normal operations is that one side of the colored liquid on the manometer will be much higher than the other. This indicates that suction is taking place and that the system is functioning as it should.

If the two sides of liquid are at the same height, however, this is a sign of a problem with the suction. It indicates that there is a low level of suction within the system, and could mean that the radon fan is not working properly. In this case, our team should be alerted so that they can investigate and take corrective action if necessary.

For homeowners who want to keep an eye on their system, it’s important to remember that a high level of liquid on the manometer doesn’t necessarily mean that the radon levels in their home are high. The manometer is simply measuring the suction taking place within the system – not the levels of radon present.

Manometer is at Zero

Next to the manometer is a number that indicates the level of suction taking place within the pipe — when liquid levels are far apart, as they should be, this number will be relatively high, and well over zero for sure.

When the liquids are even, however, this number will show zero. Here’s what to do if you notice this:

  • Verify tube connection: First and foremost, it’s possible your manometer reading is due to the flexible tube that connects the manometer to the pipe. Before doing anything else, check to see if this is the case, and try to pop the tube back in if possible. If you have a spare tube, try swapping it out and see if the problem goes away.
  • Listen for airflow: Another possible issue here is that the fan in your radon mitigation system has turned off, often due to a short-circuit or power outage. If you’ve ruled out the tube connection and you can’t hear the fan running, it’s likely that there’s a problem with your fan — you may need to reset a circuit breaker, for starters. It’s also possible that the system’s switch has simply been unplugged, so check around your house for anything that may have been accidentally bumped.
  • Low pressure: If the fan is on and you can hear it, but the manometer is still at zero, there may be a low-pressure issue with your system. This could be due to clogs in the pipe, a faulty fan, or other problems. In these cases, it’s time to call your radon mitigation partner for assistance.

Readings Changing With Time

Generally speaking, if your mitigation system and manometer were installed properly, the readings should not change all that much over time (minor alterations are expected). However, if you notice that significant changes keep happening, there are some simple troubleshooting steps to make sure the manometer is working properly:

  • Pull tube out: Pull out the flexible tube from your pipe, meaning the manometer is no longer connected to the pipe.
  • Take reading: At this point, the liquids should be even and your reading should be zero. If this is the case, your manometer is calibrated correctly.
  • If this is not the case, the liquid was likely “bumped” and the manometer may need to be re-mounted. Call our team for assistance here.

However, as we noted above, it’s common for readings to vary slightly through the year. Any changes under 0.4″ on your readings shouldn’t be much of a concern.

For more on radon manometers and how to read and interpret them, or to learn about any of our radon mitigation or radon testing services in Aurora or nearby areas, speak to the team at Absolute Radon Safety today.

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