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Radon Mitigation

In low concentrations, radon is harmless. However, in highly-insulated homes, radon can grow to high levels. So, what exactly is radon, how dangerous is it, and how do you mitigate it? Let's delve into these questions.

Radon is a naturally present radioactive gas. In large concentrations, radon can be extremely toxic. According to the National Cancer Institute, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, making it a health hazard. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that one in 15 homes in the U.S. are estimated to have high levels of radon. The amount of radon gas that emits from the soil into a home depends on a number of factors including weather, soil moisture, soil porosity and suction in the house itself. Because of these reasons, radon levels can vary widely from one house to the next.

Radon develops from the natural decay of uranium, which is found in most soils. Through cracks, holes, and construction joints in your homes' foundation, radon moves up through the ground and into the air in your home. Radon can also escape from gaps in service pipes and be detected in your water supply. All things considered, radon entering your home through the soil offers a greater risk of higher levels than radon in the water supply.

Because radon is colorless and odorless, you may not know itís in your home unless you test for it. Do-it-yourself test kits can be purchased in hardware stores or retail stores or can be found as a mail order kit online. If you have trouble locating a radon kit, contact your local EPA office to help you obtain one. Alternatively, you can hire a professional radon inspector to test your home's radon levels. Once you've tested your home for radon and find that you have dangerous, or even elevated, levels of radon present in your home, you'll need to seriously consider radon mitigation.

How to Mitigate Your Radon Risk

Although the EPA considers no level of radon safe, you can reduce your risk by lowering your radon levels. The US EPA recommends radon mitigation if your radon test reads equal to or higher than 4 pCi/L, and consider mitigation if your radon level is greater than 2 pCi/L. The U.S. Congress has recommended a longer-term goal that indoor radon should be no higher than outdoor levels, which is about 0.4 pCi/L. The estimated average indoor radon level for homes in the U.S. is about 1.3 pCi/L.

Fortunately, there are a few proven effective methods to mitigate your radon risk. One of the most common ways to reduce radon in your home is to use a radon fan connected to a suction pipe, which draws radon from beneath your home and vents it outdoors. Radon mitigation fans can be installed in such areas as the crawl space of a home, attic, and garage. Radon mitigation fans are an effective method to reduce radon associated health risks to you and your loved ones. According to the EPA, for homes that have slab-on-grade foundation or basement, subslab depressurization using a radon fan connected suction pipe is the generally the most common and reliable radon mitigation technique.

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