Have you ever heard of radon abatement? If not, you are not alone. The average homeowner does not know what radon testing and inspections are, and has never even heard the term radon abatement.
Radon is an odorless and invisible gas that is produced by uranium when it decays. As uranium is a plentiful element on our beautiful Earth, radon abounds. Nearly every type of soil contains radon, to some extent. In fact, trace amounts of radon can be found in the air we breath, every day of our lives.
Minute levels of radon are relatively harmless to us, but it is a radioactive gas and a known carcinogen. The diluted levels found in our atmosphere won’t hurt us, but when radon seeps into our homes, it gets trapped there. Being exposed to concentrated levels of radon for extended periods of time can be incredibly dangerous, and even deadly. Extensive exposure to radon causes lung cancer in humans; in fact, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that approximately 21,000 people contract lung cancer every year as a result of prolonged exposure to radon in their homes.
If this is the first time you’ve ever heard of residential radon testing and radon abatement, continue reading to learn how to protect your family:
Frequently Ask Questions About Radon Abatement
- How do I know if I have radon in my home?
To test the radon levels in your home, you place the testing device in the lowest room in the home (closest to the soil) that people spend any extended length of time in, and leave it there for the time frame directed on the box. Short-term tests usually range for two to seven days, while long-term tests require three to twelve months. Once the allotted time concludes, you send the test to a lab to be analyzed. Once the lab reviews the results of your radon test, you are contacted.
- What can be done if my home has high levels of radon?
If you found high levels of radon in your home using a short-term test, you should conduct a second test for accuracy. Radon output tends to fluctuate, based on the weather conditions, air pressure, and moisture in the soil. It is possible that a test over a few days could reflect high levels, but they were not reflective of the average radon levels your home is exposed to. A long-term radon test will be more accurate at determining the average radon level your home has. If the second test also reflects high radon levels, you should take action to lower your risk.
- How do you go about lowering the radon levels in your home?
This is where radon abatement comes in the picture. Radon abatement is the process of removing the source of radon leakage in your home:
- Perform home maintenance. In many cases, the source of radon seeping into the home comes from cracks or holes in the foundation and wall of the home. Simply apply caulking to any areas that could allow radon to become trapped in your home, such as foundation cracks and joints in the walls.
- Cover the soil. Radon comes from the soil beneath your home. Covering the crawl space with a plastic tarp that is sealed to the walls is an effective way of blocking the radon from reaching your home.
- Seal the concrete foundation. In some cases, radon can transfer through the concrete of your foundation. Sometimes, sealing it with a polyurethane sealant blocks the radon from seeping in.
After taking these steps, use a radon test again. If you find that the radon levels are still high in your home, it might be time to call in a local radon mitigation company.
- What does a radon professional do to reduce the levels of radon in my home?
A radon professional will look over the factor in your home that could be contributing to high levels of radon and help you create a plan to lower them. If your radon issue is significant, they may recommend installing a system that filters the radon outside with a fan. This service might cost a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the setup of your home.