Did you know a silent danger is lurking in our environment? Radon is a colorless and odorless gas naturally present in the ground. It’s also radioactive. The good news is high levels of radon can be mitigated to reduce its impact on your health. The right mitigation measures protect your family from radon gas in your home.
If you suspect a radon problem in your home, give Aegis a call, we are here to help: (317) 833-9000
Why is radon a problem?
High doses of radon gas over time risks causing lung cancer. It’s actually the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. According to the EPA, radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Other problems from high radon exposure include difficulty breathing, a new or worsening cough, and trouble swallowing. High radon levels can occur in every state.
How does radon get into our homes?
Radon naturally disperses in the environment, but it can accumulate inside enclosed buildings. Radon seeps its way into our homes through foundation cracks, water wells, and sump pits. While radon is often present, the EPA recommends that if the radon level is 4 pCi/L or higher, mitigation measures be taken.
How to protect from radon?
The EPA publishes a map of radon zones showing which areas have the highest potential for elevated indoor radon readings. It’s an easy way to know if your home is in a high radon area.
If you are buying, selling, or simply concerned about the levels in your current property, the first step is to test for radon. The need for radon testing increases when you live in an area known to be high in radon or if you have a basement, crawl space, or sump pits.
Buying a new construction home doesn’t exempt you from radon testing. Ask if radon-resistant construction features have been used in the building and if the home has been tested. Every new home should be tested for radon levels after occupancy, even if it has radon-resistant features. The good news is you can purchase test kits relatively inexpensively or order one from the National Radon Services program.
Anyone building a new construction home must talk to their builder about installing a radon-reduction system. Homebuilders in high radon areas should already be familiar with how to install radon-resistant features. Otherwise, the EPA offers free model standards and architectural drawings to assist with planning.
What is a radon-resistant home?
Existing and new homes can install inexpensive features to reduce the radon levels present inside the building. These simple techniques have been found to reduce radon levels on average by 50%. They can have the added benefit of reducing other soil gases and moisture problems inside a home.
It’s much easier to install these features in the building during construction than to fix a radon problem later. That isn’t possible with an existing home. The good news is a professional can effectively retrofit your radon mitigation system.
How complicated it will be to install radon-resistant features in a home depends on its construction, architecture, and what kind of features will best mitigate the radon levels.
The first option is a gas permeable layer placed beneath a slab or flooring system. The layer allows the soil gases to move underneath the house freely. A common material used is a four-inch layer of clean gravel.
Plastic sheeting is placed on top of the gas-permeable layer or under the slab to prevent these gases from entering the home. The seams of the plastic sheeting are sealed to prevent escaping gases.
Second, check your concrete foundation below the grade for cracks. It’s imperative to seal or caulk these openings to reduce soil gas from flowing into the home.
Some radon mitigation systems use a vent pipe, a 3- or 4-inch PVC, or another gas-tight pipe that runs from the permeable layer through the house to the roof. This pipe allows radon to vent above the house safely.
Protecting your family from radon
As mentioned, the first step in preventing radon gas from building up inside your home and causing health concerns is to schedule radon testing. Radon testing is simple and relatively inexpensive when you consider the impact this radioactive gas can have on the health of your loved ones. We will have lab results within a week of the radon levels in your home. Armed with this information, you can take steps to reduce your exposure and keep your family safe in your home.