When we’re at home, we’re at peace because we’re safe and sound in our own space. We often take for granted that the air we’re breathing inside is also safe and free of harmful toxins. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. There are certain instances where the air quality in our homes can be significantly compromised, and one of those is when there’s radon present.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at radon, what it is, where it comes from, and why it’s so dangerous. We’ll also provide some tips on how you can test for radon in your home and what to do if you find that you have elevated levels.
What is Radon?
Radon is a gas that is naturally present in the environment. It’s colorless, odorless, and tasteless, so you would never know it was there unless you tested for it specifically. Radon comes from the natural decay of uranium in rocks and soil. As the uranium breaks down, radon gas is released into the air.
Outdoors, radon is diluted and poses little risk to human health. However, when radon gas is trapped in an enclosed space like a home, it can build up to high levels and become a serious health hazard.
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, and it’s estimated that it contributes to about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. Smokers who are exposed to high levels of radon gas are at an even greater risk of developing lung cancer.
How Does Radon Get into My Home?
Radon gas can enter your home through cracks in the foundation or other openings. Once it’s inside, it can become trapped and build up to high levels. Radon is also released from water sources like wells, and it can be present in both new and old homes.
It’s important to note that not all homes are equally at risk for radon exposure. Homes that are located in areas with high levels of uranium in the soil are more likely to have elevated levels of radon gas. However, any home can have a radon problem, so it’s important to test regardless of where you live.
How Do I Test for Radon?
Testing for radon is the only way to know for sure if it’s present in your home. There are do-it-yourself test kits that you can purchase, or you can hire a professional to test for you.
If you decide to test on your own, be sure to follow the instructions carefully and send the kit to a lab for analysis. It’s also important to test more than once because radon levels can fluctuate over time.
If you find that you have elevated levels of radon in your home, don’t panic. There are ways to reduce the level of radon gas and protect your family’s health.
How Do I Reduce Radon Levels?
If you find that you have elevated radon levels in your home, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk to your health. These steps include:
- Sealing cracks and other openings in your foundation.
You can do this yourself with a do-it-yourself foundation sealing kit, or you can hire a professional. This way, radon gas will be less likely to enter your home.
- Installing a radon mitigation system.
This system will help to reduce the level of radon gas in your home by drawing it out of the soil and venting it to the outside. You can hire a professional to install this system for you. If you have a well, you may also need to have it treated for radon.
- Moving your family out of the home until the problem is fixed.
If you have elevated radon levels and can’t or don’t want to install a mitigation system, you may need to move your family out of the home until the problem is fixed. This is often not possible or desirable, so it’s important to consult with a professional to find the best solution for your situation.
Radon gas is a serious health hazard, but it’s important to remember that it’s also something that you can do something about. By taking steps to test for radon and reduce the level of radon in your home, you can protect your family’s health.