Radon: The Radioactive Home Wrecker
Having a radon detector in your home is just as important as having a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. Most modern homes are built with one already installed, but many older homes are not. However, neither are safe from radon. Any home can be exposed to this gas and making sure there is a detector installed, as well as having a professional test for it regularly should be a priority.
What is Radon?
Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that is both colorless and odorless. It will typically form from the breakdown of radioactive elements such as uranium in soil and rock. Radon can also be found indoors and outdoors. It’s normally found at low levels in outdoor air and in drinking water from rivers and lakes. In houses and buildings, radon is found at higher levels in the air, which is why it’s so common in residential areas.
There are Many Access Points
Your home is exposed to radon through multiple access points. This is why it’s a common worry among homeowners. Essentially, your home acts like a vacuum that draws the gas inside through the foundation, cracks and other openings. Once the gas is inside, your home traps it where it can then begin to build up.
Major access points include:
· Cracks in concrete slabs
· Floor-wall joints
· Crawl spaces
· Loose fitting pipe penetrations
· Well water
· Brick, concrete and rock
· Uncapped hollow-block foundations
How to Get Rid of Radon
Luckily, there are a couple solutions. The preferred method is Active Soil Depressurization. This requires installing a 4” plastic pipe through the basement floor and having it exit through the roof or a wall- as long as the pipe leads to the outdoors. A fan is then used to push the air through the pipe to the outside. You can also seal the basement floor and walls. While this trick won’t decrease the amount of radon in your home, it will prevent more from entering.
Credits: Radon detector image