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ventilation increased somewhat with the windows open but that the largest effect was due to reducing the indoor-outdoor pressure difference across the basement wall (Cavallo and others 1996).
One method of increasing ventilation while avoiding some of the energy and comfort penalties noted earlier is to use an air-to-air heat-exchanger system, often referred to as a heat-recovery ventilation (HRV) system. In this approach, designed around commercially available HRV units, ventilation air is exhausted through a heat exchanger through which incoming unheated air also passes. The heat-exchange process is about 40–80% efficient thermally and substantially reduces the energy cost of increased ventilation (Turk and others 1991a; Fisk and Turiel 1983). Such systems have been used successfully for radon control, especially in houses with basements. Because most radon entry occurs through the basement floor and walls, basement radon concentrations are often higher than elsewhere in a house. Use of an HRV to reduce radon concentration in this space, as opposed to the whole house, means that the effective ventilation rate of the space is higher (which affords more control); by controlling basement concentrations, it also reduces radon levels throughout the house. One important ancillary benefit is that the HRV can be used to alter the basement pressure somewhat and will thus provide some additional radon-concentration reduction via source control (Turk and others 1991a).
Another method that has had very limited use is based on the sorption of radon gas by activated carbon (Bocanegra and Hopke 1989; Brisk and Turk 1984). A commercially available device based on this approach consisted of two carbon beds; one removed radon from indoor air flowing through it while the other was being purged of accumulated radon by having outdoor air passed through it and exhausted to the outdoors. The two beds were switched periodically so that the freshly purged bed was used to accumulate radon and the bed used for sorption began to be purged (Wasiolek and others 1993). Overall performance of this method is limited by the rate of air flow through the device, which in turn helps to determine the charcoal bed thickness. Like the HRV system, this approach appears to have the greatest applicability in radon control for a basement.
The third concentration-reduction approach is the use of air-cleaning to reduce radon decay-product concentrations. Unlike their chemically inert parent, the decay products 218Po, 214Pb, and 214Bi are metals and easily attach to the surfaces of any aerosols that are present (the ''attached" mode). Some decay-product atoms, particularly 218 Po, can also remain as ultrafine aerosols (the "unattached" mode, a few nanometers in diameter). Indoor air concentrations of both modes can be reduced by using an air cleaner designed to remove particles.
There have been a number of evaluations of air-cleaning systems undertaken in test chambers or actual indoor environments (reviewed in Hopke and others 1990). Some of these systems can effectively remove radon decay products from indoor air. However, the reduction of 218Po is not as large as that of 214Pb and