Dealing with Radon Gas in Your Home
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that results from the decomposition of Uranium in rocks and soils. It’s always present in the air in small quantities but in higher concentrations it has been scientifically linked to an increased risk of lung cancer (particularly among smokers). Radon gas can enter your home through cracks in your foundation or in your well you might have Radon in your home and wondering it anything can be done about it, here’s some ideas on how you can deal with it.
Start by testing for Radon
- In the United States Radon is measured in pico Curies per Liter (pCi/L) and according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), if you have a concentration level above 4 pCi/L you should take action to mitigate your Radon concentration.
- Inexpensive test kits are available at home and hardware stores and on line that will measure and give you a snap shot of the radon gas levels in your home and tell you what your home’s level actually is. You just install the kit as per the directions on the package, wait a few days then seal it up and send the kit’s sensor to the designated lab. You should get your results back in a couple of weeks.
Eliminating Radon in your home
- If the results indicate that your have a Radon problem the most effective (but most expensive) way to eliminate Radon in your home is to depressurize the soil around your home. This process involves drilling a hole through your basement floor (or slab on grade) and inserting a vent pipe directly into the underlying ground. Suction is then applied to the vent pipe, pulling the Radon gas up out of the soil and dispersing it into the outside air. As you can imagine this isn’t really a job for a Do-It- Yourselfer and professionals usually charge between $1,000 and $3,000.
Some other ways to deal with Radon
- Simply covering any earth walls in the basement with plastic sheets will help stop Radon infiltration. Similarly, sealing any cracks in your foundation and improving the ventilation in your basement will help minimize Radon buildup.
- “Radon Sealing paint” is available that you just paint onto your concrete basement walls. The paint seals any tiny cracks that provide radon gas entry points.
- Since Radon often enters a home through the water supply (not just through cracks in the foundation), you can remove it before the water carries the gas into your home by installing an aeration system or a charcoal filtration system on your water supply line.
The Environmental Protection Agency Website at http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/consguid.html, provides all kinds of consumer safety information. So, if you are concerned with the potential of Radon gas in your home and want to learn more about your options for dealing with it, searching at the website will give you some answers. There is also a section called "state radon contacts" that will provide specific information on Radon gas detection and mitigation in your own state.