Knowing your home radon levels is important information for the health and safety of everyone who lives there. Radon is a naturally-occurring gas that originates in the earth’s crust as radioactive uranium slowly decays. Though colorless, odorless and tasteless, radon is a proven cancer-causing gas when inhaled over long-term periods.
No state in the U.S. is completely free of radon. The gas typically infiltrates upward through the foundation, crawl space and floor of houses, accumulating inside the structure. Fortunately, testing for radon gas in homes produces accurate results.
Testing For Radon
Testing can be conducted by qualified contractors experienced in the process. Alternatively, do-it-yourself radon tests are also widely available for homeowners who wish to take on the task themselves.
- Short-term tests utilize a sampler placed in the home for 48 hours, then mailed to a lab for analysis.
- Long-term testers are placed in the home for 90 days and typically utilize a process called alpha track detection to measure radon. Long-term detectors are generally considered to be more accurate than short-term tests.
How High Is Too High?
The national average for radon in homes is 1.3 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L). Environmental Protection Agency standards recommend that houses with measured radon levels exceeding 4 pCi/L should undergo mitigation procedures to lower the level. Many independent experts, however, recommend mitigation once the measured level exceeds 2 pCi/L.
Making Your Home Safe
If testing indicates home radon levels that exceed recommended safe amounts, alterations to the house can reliably eliminate the problem. According to the EPA, virtually any house can be made resistant to infiltration of radon gas if proper mitigation procedures are followed. In general, the procedures include:
- Sealing cracks and gaps in the homes foundation, floor and walls.
- Installing a plastic vapor barrier beneath the house.
- Installing a simple ventilation system composed of pipes extending beneath the home’s concrete slab or crawl space connected to a powered fan to capture and remove radon gas as it migrates upward through the soil.
For more about measuring and mitigating home radon levels, contact Aggressive Mechanical Contractors.