Homeowner’s Safety Guide: What is Radon Gas & How to Monitor It

Homeowner’s Safety Guide: What is Radon Gas & How to Monitor It

What you don’t know about home radon levels could pose a threat to your entire family. Produced deep inside the earth by decaying uranium in rocks, radon gas slowly rises to the surface and may pervade structures including homes. Long-term exposure to radon is a proven health hazard—it’s the second most common cause of lung cancer in the U.S.

How does radon get into your home?

In most cases, radon seeps into houses through small cracks or gaps in the slab foundation or by infiltrating up through the soil in the crawl space.

What are the warning signs of radon contamination?

Frankly, there aren’t any. Radon is odorless and colorless. What’s more, radon gas is known to be present in all regions of the United States, so your geographic location doesn’t provide much reassurance, either. Experts say it’s a good idea to assume that a house may have measurable radon levels until testing proves it doesn’t.

How do you know if you’ve got it?

Many qualified contractors include professional radon testing in their service. Alternatively, do-it-yourself kits are available for those who prefer the DIY approach.  A short-term radon test involves placing a charcoal absorbent canister in the house for 48 hours. Long-term testing, generally considered the most accurate method, employs alpha track detection and is exposed to air inside the house for 90 days.

How much radon is hazardous?

In the United States, the average home radon levels are 1.3 pCi/L (picoCuries per liter).  EPA standards recommend mitigation procedures if measured radon levels exceed 4 pCi/L. However, some experts advocate a lower trigger point for mitigation, beginning at 2 pCi/L.

What’s required to reduce radon?

Now the good news: any home can be made safe from radon by well-established mitigation methods. These include sealing cracks in the foundation, adding a vapor barrier in the crawl space and/or installing pipes beneath the home’s concrete slab to capture radon and safely exhaust it.

For more about the important safety benefits of testing for home radon levels, contact Powers Heating & Air.

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