Radon is a radioactive gas that creates a serious health threat if it gets inside your home. In fact, the Surgeon General cautions that indoor radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in this country; therefore, it's important to find out if your home has an elevated radon level.
On a more positive note, exposure to radon gas is a health threat you can prevent since a simple test kit can detect the presence of the gas. Although you can't see radon, testing is easy with inexpensive home test kits. If radon levels test high, there are things you can do to fix your home.
About Radon Gas
Radon from soil gas can enter your home through cracks in foundation walls and floors, openings around service pipes, construction joints, and cavities inside walls. Less often, radon enters your home through the water supply. But before testing your water, test the air in your home.
Although the risk of radon problems varies depending on where you live, there are reports of high radon levels in every state. The EPA estimates that about 1 in every 15 homes in the U.S. have elevated radon levels. But just because your neighbor has a radon problem doesn't mean you do. Levels can vary widely from region to region and even from home to home.
If radon testing detects an elevated level of radon in your home, you can choose from numerous mitigation methods to reduce your family's exposure to the risk:
Natural ventilation is a simple, but temporary, fix. By opening the windows, doors, and vents on the lower levels of your home, you allow outdoor air to mix with the indoor air that has radon. Although this method will reduce radon levels, they will rise again once you close up the house.
You can place a fan upstairs to blow air into the basement or downstairs level of your home. This builds air pressure in your home to keep radon gas out. Although you must keep the doors and windows in the lowest level of your home closed, you'll be bringing more outdoor air in. As a result, you may see an increase in your energy bills.
Sealing cracks and openings in your home's foundation helps prevent radon from entering inside. While sealing cracks should be part of a radon reduction remedy, it doesn't significantly lower radon levels on its own. Because each time your home settles, new cracks may open where radon can enter, so it's not a permanent solution.
A heat reduction ventilator (HRV) is a more sophisticated radon reduction technique. If you choose this method, a certified radon mitigation contractor will install an air-to-air heat exchanger to ventilate your basement. The technique increases ventilation in your home by bringing in air from outside. While an HRV can increase your heating and cooling costs, the exchanger uses the heated or air-conditioned air it exhausts to heat or cool the air coming inside.
Soil suction is another radon reduction technique that prevents radon from entering your home. Since radon moves through soil spaces near the ground's surface, this method draws the radon from below your home before it escapes into the air in your home. The system vents the gas through suction pipes that release it into the air above your house.
For more information, contact Radon Express or a similar company.