The airflow in your home is crucial to the overall well-being of you and your loved ones. If there are small spaces for air to come in and out, your home is more likely to have an atmosphere more conducive to healthy breathing. Often, homeowners try to seal all cracks in an attempt to optimize their home’s heating and cooling efficiency. However, if everything is sealed up, harmful gasses can get trapped inside.
Think of a sealed home like a hot air balloon with its opening directly over the ground. Any gasses that float up need a place to escape. Otherwise, you will be stuck breathing them in. Radon gas is one of the more harmful substances that can seep into your home. In fact, it is one of the leading causes of lung cancer.
Where Does Radon Come From?
Radon is a byproduct of the radioactive breakdown that occurs inside rocks containing uranium. As the uranium decays, it releases radon. If there are rocks underneath your home that contain uranium, eventually the radon is going to seep up and into your house.
When the ground shifts of cracks under your home, you may not even notice it. It may occur over the course of several months or even years. However, if this happens, radon trapped beneath the crack or rupture in the ground may be suddenly free to flow into your home. This could result in a sudden spike in the radon concentration and serious health issues.
Why Doesn’t Radon Harm Everyone All the Time?
Radon, although toxic, needs to be inhaled at a high concentration. It’s very likely you have stood above an area from which radon is slowly seeping. However, you may have been outside or only exposed to the radon for a short period of time. This reduced the concentration of the radon, making it possible for you to escape without any ill health effects.
On the other hand, if your home is sealed up, it may become a “radon balloon,” holding a concentration of radon that’s too high for healthy living. Even if your home isn’t tightly sealed, there still exists the danger of radon concentrations getting too high.
Do You Have Radon in Your Home?
Even though radon can’t be smelled or seen, you can still detect it. There are kits you can purchase, but they have varying levels of success and accuracy. Some take three months—or longer—to produce results.
The best way to test for radon is to hire a professional who can do a thorough investigation. Because radon is a harmful, radioactive substance, it’s best to not take chances. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seconds this advice because it’s easy to get a radon test wrong, particularly if you’re not familiar with radon, where it tends to gather, and likely points of entry into your home.
The good news is, even if you do have elevated levels of radon in your home, you can fix the problem. Radon mitigation can help your radon levels drop—not just to acceptable levels—but as much as 99% lower than current levels. Don’t wait; contact a professional to have your home inspected to help ensure your air is fresh and clean.