Understand Radon Dangers in Your Home

Posted on: 13 December 2017

In many homes, radon is a real concern. This tasteless, odorless gas can lead to radon poisoning and an increased chance for certain types of cancer. Unfortunately, awareness of a radon issue isn't necessarily easy. The following guide can help you better understand the challenges radon poses in your home.

What are the signs of radon in the home?

Unlike other problematic gasses, there are no obvious signs of radon. The gas is completely odorless, tasteless, and invisible. There are also no signs that you and your family are being exposed to dangerous levels. Unlike some gasses, such as carbon monoxide, you won't suffer from any low-level symptoms. For many people, the first indication of exposure is a cancer diagnosis.

Where does radon come from?

Radon leaches into homes from the bedrock beneath your home or the soil surrounding it. The cause is uranium, which occurs naturally throughout the world. Uranium releases radon gas, which is radioactive but not immediately harmful. It is only when it builds up in your system that it becomes a problem.

How does radon get into the home?

The most obvious way in is through your home's basement. It can also leach in through slab foundations and crawlspaces, but this isn't as common. Cracks in the basement foundation, or gaps where pipes and conduits enter the basement, can increase the amount of radon that leaches in. You can still have a radon problem even without such entry points, however, because concrete is slightly porous so gasses can make their way in.

What methods are there for radon testing?

DIY kits are available. The simplest kits perform an immediate test and let you know the current radon level. Slightly better DIY kits are designed to be performed over several weeks or months. These provide a more accurate reading since radon levels can fluctuate, and you need to know the highest levels your home reaches over time. You can also seek out professional services for radon testing, and this is the most reliable option of the them all.

Can radon be mitigated?

If you have high radon levels, mitigation is possible. A radon mitigation company may use one or more methods to solve the issue. Generally, this includes a combination of ventilation so radon doesn't collect in the basement or other areas of the home. In some cases, the mitigation company may also seal the basement to further limit the amount of radon leaching in.