Radon gas is a naturally occurring radioactive gas resulting from the decay of uranium in the ground. It can enter your home through cracks in foundation walls or floors and other openings in the basement or slab of your home.
Long-term radon exposure has been linked to lung cancer, which can be fatal if not detected early. Data shows that radon is responsible for around 21,000 deaths annually in the US.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can protect yourself from elevated radon levels and reduce them in your home if necessary.
Tips For Keeping Your Home Safe from Radon
Radon is a radioactive gas generated from the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. It can enter your home through cracks or holes in the foundation, floor drains, plumbing systems, and sump pumps.
Radon has been linked to many health problems, making it vital to reduce radon levels in your house.
You can connect with a radon testing service provider to get your home inspected for high radon levels. Regular checking is crucial for early detection, especially in areas with high radon levels.
For instance, the Cherokee and Alleghany counties of North Carolina and Taylor and Adair counties of Kentucky are in zone 1 and have high radon levels. If unsure, refer to the EPA’s map of radon zones to identify your area’s radon zone.
Strategies for Reducing Radon Levels
Radon reduction strategies vary depending on the type of building and its construction. The following are some ways to reduce radon levels in your home:
Radon Mitigation Systems
Radon mitigation systems can be installed in new homes, existing homes, and even those with basements or crawlspaces. The cost of a radon mitigation system depends on your home type and how much work needs to be done to install it.
The average cost of an installation runs from $780 to $1,200. However, if your house requires extensive modifications and upgrades, expect this price tag to increase significantly.
The crucial thing here is to find the right radon inspection services for your house. You don’t want to pay for wrong results. You can search for “radon solutions near me” to find the best service providers.
You can also look for niche services. For instance, in this case, you would want to look for residential radon mitigation services as you are looking for someone to help you with a home inspection for radon levels.
Go with a service provider who has a lot of experience and has received good ratings not only on the company’s website but across other directories.
Services offered by Affordable Environmental Services are cost-effective. The company has also received good ratings for residential radon mitigation on various online platforms, such as Yelp, Angie’s List, and HomeAdvisor.
Improving Ventilation in the Home
Ventilation has been proven to help reduce radon levels. A recent research paper by A. Cavallo, K. Gadsby, and T.A.
Reddy studied using natural basement ventilation as a radon mitigation technique. The study concluded that ventilation could reduce radon levels by simply diluting radon in the air.
Here are some tips that can help:
1.Install vents in the basement. If you have a finished basement and it doesn’t contain a heating or cooling system, consider installing a vent fan to bring in fresh air from the outside.
2.Open windows in the basement. Suppose you live in an area with mild winters. In that case, this can effectively reduce radon levels during colder months when window seals tend to get clogged with dust and humidity.
3.Install whole house fans or wall/attic fans that draw out stale indoor air through a vent into open space outside your home’s foundation walls or roofline, where outdoor breezes quickly dilute it before being drawn back into the house through another set of vents.
Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Radon Exposure
Some simple lifestyle changes can also help reduce radon exposure. These lifestyle changes can include the following:
1.Avoid smoking. The EPA recommends avoiding smoking, as it can increase your radon exposure.
2.Avoid kerosene heaters and charcoal grills. Using a kerosene heater or charcoal grill indoors can increase carbon monoxide levels, deteriorating indoor air quality. This can result in increased radon levels.
3.Avoid fireplaces and gas stoves in homes with high radon levels. A study published by researchers at the University of Texas found that homes with high levels of indoor radon had higher concentrations inside them than outdoors.
Therefore, keeping windows closed when cooking may reduce exposure to radon outside but not necessarily inside homes.
Radon Reduction in New Construction
If you’re building a new home, it’s essential to consider radon reduction. The EPA recommends that all homes be built with radon-resistant features as standard practice. Homes that are not made with these features are at risk of having higher levels of radon than those constructed with them.
Radon-resistant construction includes:
1.Building slab thicknesses that withstand soil pressures from below and prevent water infiltration into the structure
2.Vent pipes for plumbing waste lines above grade rather than in basements
3.Use of specially designed exterior venting systems instead of open windows or doors when using natural gas appliances like furnaces and water heaters in basements
4.Use of passive sub-slab depressurization techniques in areas where there is little chance for groundwater movement under foundations due to high water table conditions
Importance of Radon Reduction
Radon gas comes from the ground through your home’s foundation. It can be found in homes throughout the United States and is the second leading cause of lung cancer deaths in America.
It may seem like this is a problem affecting only older homes, but radon levels are also increasing in newer structures. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that about 1 in 15 houses have high radon levels.
Radon Mitigation Costs and Savings
Radon mitigation costs can be $1,000 or more but are usually a one-time expense. You can offset these costs by reducing energy use, which means less money is spent on heating and cooling your home.
In addition to saving money on utilities, some states offer tax credits for radon mitigation systems installed in homes with high radon levels.
Suppose you’re concerned about your family’s health and want to reduce the risk of developing lung cancer from radon exposure. In that case, there are several things you can do:
1.Test for radon using EPA-certified test kits and fix any problems before installing an airtight system if necessary
2.Choose an appropriate method based on how much space needs protection from infiltration
3.Hire a professional radon mitigation service firm
Although radon can cause serious health problems, the good news is that there are many ways to reduce your radon levels and protect yourself from this harmful substance.
The most effective solution is to install a mitigation system in your home that removes excess radon before entering indoor air through the foundation walls and floors.
However, other methods can help reduce radon exposure, such as improving ventilation or lifestyle changes like smoking cessation programs which may require little investment for homeowners who want to protect themselves from this dangerous substance.