to find or satisfactorily seal all the leakage pathways. The problem is acute when part of the soil-structure interface has a low resistance to flow, as when there is a gravel layer below the floor or when the basement walls are constructed of hollow-core block. The second passive (nonmechanical) technique that has been used as a retrofit mitigation system with some (but not uniform) success is the passive thermal stack. Similar in some respects to ASD systems, it consists of a pipe system that is inserted through the floor, and passes through the house and out through the roof. It is important that the pipe pass through the heated portion of the house, because it relies on heat transfer from this conditioned space to heat the air column inside the stack, thus creating the thermal stack effect. There is a small amount of pressure loss at each bend in the pipe, so it is also important to minimize the number of bends in the pipe system as it passes through the house.
For this system to be effective, the pressure field developed by the stack below the floor slab needs to be sufficient to reverse or at least substantially reduce, the pressure gradient between the soil and the building interior, which drives advective flow of gas from the soil into the building. The soil-to-building-interior pressure difference will be greatest when the inside-the-stack-to-outdoor temperature difference is the largest, for example, during the winter in cold or moderate climates. This is the same period when the advective transport of soil gas into the building is potentially the greatest. The influence of wind can complicate the behavior of a passive stack system. As described earlier, wind can depressurize the building interior, in addition to the depressurization caused by the stack effect. Wind can also affect the flows and pressures at the stack opening, depending on the wind direction with respect to the orientation of the roof.
It is important to have a high-permeability zone below the floor to ensure that the pressure field created by the passive stack extends along the soil-building interface, especially inasmuch as the pressure field generated by the stack is typically 1–10 Pa less than the air pressure inside the building, compared with the 100-to 400-Pa pressure difference generated by an ASD system (Gilroy and Kaschak 1990). In an existing house, the presence of such a layer and the extent to which it is present throughout can be difficult to determine.
Unlike source-control methods, which seek to limit radon entry, concentration-control methods are designed to reduce radon or radon decay-product concentrations in indoor air. Three concentration-control techniques will be described in this section.
As mentioned earlier, increased ventilation can reduce both radon and radon decay-product concentrations, as long as it does not enhance the indoor-outdoor pressure difference. In one set of experiments conducted in a house, basement radon concentrations were observed to be lower when the basement windows were open. Measurements conducted with a tracer gas showed that basement