radon remediation cut-away house

What exactly is radon?

Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas. It forms naturally from the decay (breaking down) of radioactive elements, such as uranium, which are found in soil and rock throughout the world. Radon gas in the soil and rock can naturally move into the air and underground water sources such as wells and make its way into homes and buildings.Radon is present inside and outside, but homes and buildings can effectively trap radon and cause it to become concentrated. Once in the home, radon breaks down into solid radioactive elements called radon progeny (such as polonium-218, polonium-214, and lead-214). Radon progeny can attach to dust and other particles and can be breathed into the lungs. As radon and radon progeny in the air break down, they give off radiation that can damage the DNA inside the body’s cells.

What are the effects of radon exposure?

Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to EPA estimates.  Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.  Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year.  About 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked.

How do I test for radon?

Testing is easy and inexpensive.  You can conduct a short term test for a period of 2 days to as long as 90 days to find your average radon level.  Alternatively, for a more accurate yearly average you can conduct a long term test for a period of more than 90 days.

What does radon remediation or mitigation mean?

These terms describe the process of developing a plan for a home or building and effectively reducing indoor airborne radon levels to below the EPA guidelines of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L).  This is accomplished by stopping radon gas from entering the home through any areas with soil contact such as a basement, crawlspace or slab-on-grade.  Generally, a sub-slab depressurization method is used to draw the radon and soil gases away from the contact area and to the exterior where it is vented.

Should I have my home remediated?

First, it’s always a great idea to test for radon in your home if you haven’t recently, it’s easy and inexpensive.  The EPA recommends to remediate your home if your radon level is 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher. There is NO safe level of radon and levels less than 4 pCi/L still pose a risk, and in many cases may be reduced.

Is radon remediation complicated?

Every home or building will have its own unique set of challenges.  Generally speaking, remediation is not complicated and with most homes can be completed within half a day, with very little alterations to the home or building.