In this post, we’ll help you determine if your radon fan is working.
Check Your Manometer
First thing’s first, a manometer is a U-shaped tube filled with fluid. It is sometimes called a U-tube, how clever! The fluid is usually red, blue, or green. It’s a visual gauge that tells you if your radon fan is running and at what static pressure.
All active radon mitigation systems (this just means your radon system has a fan) are required to have a manometer installed so you can see if the radon fan is working. The exception is a passive radon reduction system, which means you have the guts of a radon system without the radon fan.
Where is it?
Now that you know what it is, let’s find it. It’s mounted to the radon vent pipe and is usually in the basement, closet or garage.
How Does A Manometer Work?
It’s simple really, the suction created by the radon fan draws the fluid up on one side of the gauge. You’ll notice that there is a small piece of clear tubing that goes from the top of the manometer to a small hole in the radon vent pipe. The other side of the manometer is left open. Think of it as if you are sucking on a straw. When you suck, you draw the fluid up the straw and when you stop sucking the liquid goes back down. The same is true here.
Are the Fluid Levels Different?
That’s good, your radon fan is working! You want the oil in the manometer to be higher on one side and lower on the other.
Are the Fluid Levels Equal?
This is not good; your radon fan is not operating.
Is Your Radon Fan Really Dead?
Maybe, maybe not. There are several things that may have caused the fan to shut down and you’ll want to check before calling a radon contractor to replace the fan. Let’s look at what some of the culprits could be.
- Did you lose power?
- Did the breaker that your radon fan is wired to trip?
- Is the fan unplugged?
- Did the switch get turned off? Click here for a video on this.
- Is the small, clear tube that goes from the U-tube to the radon vent pipe still connected?
Next, if you’ve checked all these things and the oil in the manometer is still equal on both sides it’s time to call a radon mitigation contractor. Your radon fan is likely dead. It’s a moving part, and it won’t last forever.
Make it a Habit!
Be sure to frequently look at your radon system manometer. If you’re not sure if your system is working, call.
There are an estimated half-million dead radon fans in the United States.
Radon System Alarms
In our opinion, every radon system should have an alarm. They immediately inform you if your fan stops working with a light and an audible alarm. There are several types of alarms and they can even be added to an existing radon reduction system.
Finally, be sure to test your radon levels at least every two years. Radon monitors or long-term radon test kits are recommended.