Radon is an odorless, colorless, radioactive gas that forms when uranium breaks down underground. It is found in nearly all soils, in water, and in the air outdoors, where it harmlessly dissipates. When radon accumulates to high levels inside a building, it is unhealthy to breathe. Here are the dangers of radon in the home and how to deal with it.

How to Detect Radon

Radon in the home is a problem when the concentration is above 4 picocuries per liter of air, according to the EPA. Levels this high can cause lung cancer. This risk is highest after prolonged exposure and many people do not show any symptoms until the disease is advanced. This makes it one of the most deadly types of cancer. Because radon cannot be smelled or seen, specialized testing is required to learn the levels of radon. Hire a professional instead of using a DIY kit for the most accurate results.

How Can I Reduce Radon in the Home?

For low levels of radon, the following measures can be taken to mitigate the gas in your home.

  • Use caulk to seal cracks and joints in your concrete foundation.
  • Install an airtight cover over your sump pit if you have a sump pump.
  • Cover the soil in your crawl spaces with 6 mil plastic. Seal the plastic tight against all of the walls.
  • Seal the concrete.

How Can I Solve the Problem?

High levels of radon are a problem and should be continuously monitored long-term. For levels of radon beyond 4 pCi/L, have a radon mitigation system installed by a professional. This system includes piping to ventilate radon gas from the home to the outdoors. A special inline fan is used to draw air up through the venting pipe.

The cost of having a contractor install this system for you will run from several hundred to a few thousand dollars. Re-test for radon levels periodically after the radon mitigation system is installed to ensure that your home remains safe for your family.

Radon in the Home and Lung Cancer

The EPA shows that radon gas is associated with 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year. This includes both smokers and non-smokers. They also estimate that 2,900 of these deaths were people who never smoked. Any home can have high levels of radon, so get it tested to protect your family.

360° Home Inspections offers radon testing and home inspections to Northern Colorado. Contact us to schedule testing.