Did you recently have a radon test? Did the levels come back over 4 pCi/L? Well, as the EPA recommends it's time to take action and reduce the levels in your home!
How Radon Enters Your Home
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock,
and water. Air pressure inside your home is usually lower than pressure in the soil around your home’s foundation. Because of this difference in pressure, your home acts like a vacuum, drawing radon in through foundation cracks and other openings.
Radon also may be present in well water and can be released into the air in your home when water is used for showering and other household uses. In most cases, radon entering the home through water is a small risk compared with radon entering your home from the soil. In a small number of homes, the building materials such as granite and certain concrete products can give off radon, although building materials rarely cause radon problems by themselves. In the United States, radon gas in soils is the principal source of elevated radon levels in homes.
Why Hire A Contractor?
EPA recommends that you have a qualified radon mitigation contractor fix your home because lowering high radon levels requires specific technical knowledge and special skills. Without the proper equipment or technical knowledge, you could actually increase your radon level or create other potential hazards and additional costs.
Radon Reduction Techniques Work!
Radon reduction systems work. Some radon reduction systems can reduce radon levels in your home by up to 99 percent. Most homes can be fixed for about the same cost as other common home repairs. Your costs may vary depending on the size and design of your home and which radon reduction methods are needed.
Radon Reduction Techniques
There are several methods a contractor can use to lower radon levels in your home. Some techniques prevent radon
from entering your home while others reduce radon levels after it has entered. EPA generally recommends methods that prevent the entry of radon. Soil suction, for example, prevents radon from entering your home by drawing the radon from below the home and venting it through a pipe, or pipes, to the air above the home where it is quickly diluted.
Any information that you may have about the construction of your home could help your contractor choose the best system. Your contractor will perform a visual inspection of your home and design a system that considers specific features of your home. If this inspection fails to provide enough information, the contractor may need to perform diagnostic tests during the initial phase of the installation to help develop the best radon reduction system for your home. For instance, your contractor can use chemical smoke to find the source and direction of air movement. A contractor can learn air flow sources and directions by watching a small amount of smoke that he or she shot into holes, drains, sumps or along cracks. The sources of air flow show possible radon routes. A contractor may have concerns about backdrafting of combustion appliances when considering radon mitigation options, and may recommend that the homeowner have the appliances checked by a qualified inspector.
Another type of diagnostic test is a soil communication test. This test uses a vacuum cleaner and chemical smoke to determine how easily air can move from one point to another under the foundation. By inserting a vacuum cleaner hose in one small hole and using chemical smoke in a second small hole, a contractor can see if the smoke is pulled down into the second hole by the force of the vacuum cleaner’s suction. Watching the smoke during a soil communication test helps a contractor decide if certain radon reduction systems would work well in your home.
Whether diagnostic tests are needed is decided by details specific to your home, such as the foundation design, what kind of material is under your home, and by the contractor’s experience with similar homes and similar radon test results.