Radon 101

Radon is a radioactive gas known to cause cancer, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Unfortunately, it’s a huge risk in homes and businesses for many reasons, the first being that it’s so widely unknown. It has no odor, you can’t see it or taste it, and the impact it can have on you and your family is devastating.

How does Radon Enter Homes?

There are two primary entry points for radon in the home. One is through the soil. This is the greater of the two risks.

The other is in your home’s water supply. Homeowners with private wells should consider testing both the air inside your home and your water to get a full picture of the radon situation in your home.

How Dangerous is Radon?

The U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Richard H. Carmona, released a statement on Radon on January 13, 2005 stating that “Indoor radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United

States and breathing it over prolonged periods can present a significant health risk to families all over the country.” More than 20,000 Americans die each year from lung cancer that’s related to radon.

Dr. Carmona goes on to say that radon is a completely preventable threat that can be determined with a simple text and eliminated with adequate natural ventilation.

How much Radon is too Much?

Radon levels inside your home should be below 4 pCi/L according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A single test reading of greater than 4 pCi/L is no reason to panic. Conduct a follow up radon test before diving in to repair your home. There is some natural fluctuation of radon in every home.

There are short-term tests that conduct a complete reading within two to seven days and long-term tests that test your home over a period of three to twelve months.

If your second test shows readings above 4 pCi/L, the EPA suggests taking fast action to repair your home. If it is lower, however, the EPA recommends re-testing periodically because your home has a history of producing higher levels of radon.

Radon Repair Options

Natural ventilation is the best method, by far, to remove radon from your home. You might also consider hiring contractors that offer radon abatement services.

Homes with crawl spaces can do a great deal to reduce radon by covering the soil beneath your home with high-density plastic sheets and installing a vent pipe and fan to draw radon from beneath the sheet venting it outdoors.

Once you’ve effectively removed the radon from your home, it’s time to turn your attention to other indoor air quality problems in your home. For these other problems, a whole house fan is usually an ideal choice for drawing fresh air into your home while removing the foul air.