Understanding the Risks of Radon

Radon is a cancer-causing soil gas that can seep into your home through foundation cracks, seams, and gaps in the sump pump or drainage system.

Radon is colorless, odorless and radioactive. It occurs naturally in all soil types from decaying uranium in the soil. Because you can’t smell, see, or taste radon, the only way you know if you have a radon problem is by testing for it.

According to the EPA’s “A Citizen’s Guide to Radon,” nearly 1 in every 15 homes in the U.S. has dangerously high levels of radon.  Elevated levels of radon have been detected in every state.

There are simple do-it-yourself tests you can purchase from home improvement stores or through various websites online.  You can also hire a professional to test your home for radon.  The EPA suggests testing your home every 2-3 years. However, if you do a basement remodel, add an addition, or disrupt the foundation of the house in any way, then you should test your home before and after the work is done.

If you find you have elevated levels of radon, you should have a radon mitigation system installed in your home.

The most common radon mitigation and radon reduction systems suction the air from below the basement floor or slab and pull it up through pipes that release it outside above the home’s roofline.  From there the radon gas dissipates into the air eliminating the risk for the family to breathe it in.

A radon mitigation system must be combined with sealing all foundation cracks and leaks.  The two go hand in hand and are not as effective without the other.

  1. Knows the risks of radon.
  2.  Test your home for radon. Test it every two to three years and before and after a basement remodel or addition.
  3.  Fix any foundation cracks or gaps where soil gases could enter the home. Moisture can also enter your home through foundation cracks that can cause a meridian of other problems.
  4.  If you find you have elevated levels of radon, hire a Basement Health professional to install a radon reduction system.

2 thoughts on “Understanding the Risks of Radon

  1. It’s very unnerving knowing that 1 in every 15 homes in the U.S. had high levels of radon. Knowing that it can cause cancer also makes the probability very scary. I will have to see if there is someone nearby that can come and inspect our house.

  2. Great article! I’ve been a Home Inspector since 2014 and also test for radon. I can’t believe how many people I run into that are just clueless about its dangers. Thanks for writing this.

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