Residential radon testing is important whether you are looking into buying a new home or if you suspect problems with your current one. The fact that radon is colorless, odorless and tasteless makes it incredibly dangerous. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. If all that changed was radon levels lowering, about 5,000 deaths caused by lung cancer could be reduced. The scariest part is that 1 in 15 homes in America have radon levels that are either at or even above the EPA action level. So, let’s look a little closer look at this problem causer.
What is radon?
Radon a highly radioactive gas. You cannot see it, taste it or smell it. It is nine times denser than the air which is the heaviest of all known gases. Being a single atom, the has can go through most every day items like paper, plastic bags, paints and even a lot of building materials like concrete, mortar, wood and insulation. Radon is also pretty soluble in water.
Where does it come from?
Radon actually occurs naturally. It’s the radioactive decay or breakdown of uranium. It is most commonly found in igneous rock and soil. Igneous rock is one the three rocks that are formed during the cooling and solidifying process of magma or lava. However, even if you have no volcanoes near you, this doesn’t mean that you have no chance of being exposed. Well water is often a source of radon as well, which could affect anyone as the gases can travel. In fact, radon has been found in every state.
How do you know if your in danger?
You have to test for it. It is the only way to know if what your home’s radon levels are. Levels can vary even in neighboring homes and you won’t feel immediate symptoms. You will typically be able to function normally for many years. However, after years of exposure, the problems could start coming up. There are several at home test kits that you can purchase yourself like a sump pump excavation kit. However, if you want to be 100% sure that your home is radon free, then you are better off to have a professional residential radon testing service come and check out your house.
How do you protect against it?
Radon testing and inspection is a good idea before you even purchase or move into a home. You can also take certain steps to prevent radon from ever entering such as installation a sump pump excavation kit to make your home radon resistant. The techniques that are used in order to reduce radon levels are relatively simple and inexpensive, although you would know want to install sump pump excavation or anything like that, yourself. Here are some other ideas for making your home radon resistant.
- Installing a gas permeable layer-This goes under the floor in order to make sure that any radon in the soil can move around under the house without penetrating.
- Installing plastic sheeting– This would be place above the gas permeable layer but under the floor. It’s what stops the gas from getting through.
- Seal and caulk– Any kind of opening in the windows or the floor should be completely sealed up with caulking.
- Use a pipe vent– You can install a small PVC pipe from the gas permeable layer up to the roof in order to release the gases above the home instead of inside it.
- Install a junction box– If you have an attic, you can put this in there. It goes along with a vent fan and instigates an alarm system when the fan is not working correctly.
There are some other things that you can do besides sump pump excavation and various installations in your home. That is, test, test and test again. Especially if you are in a high radon area, you could be periodically testing for a change in radon levels in your home. If the levels in your home ever get to 4.0 pCi/L or higher, you need to activate an in line fan system. If you do not have one of these, you need to call a radon mitigation company in order to have the fan installed.