Although radon is a noble gas, it can be harmful for your body – especially if you’re exposed to it. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that’s found in various materials around you.
A little exposure to radon gas doesn’t hurt anybody, but continued radiation can be harmful for your health. You may not know it, but your home may have high levels of radon gas already.
Overexposure to radon gas is causing more than 20,000 deaths per year due to lung cancer, which is highly alarming.
To ensure that you and your family stay safe, I’ve come up with this well-researched article on radon tests and mitigation. It’ll help you understand how radon tests work and how they can reduce the risk of lung cancer.
Are you ready to learn more? Let’s dive in.
Is Radon Gas Dangerous?
Radon gas is colorless and odorless, which is why it’s impossible to detect it by seeing and smelling. It’s already present in minimal levels in the atmosphere, but that doesn’t cause any harm to your health.
Radon exposure has become quite common in homes, schools, industries, and offices. It penetrates the confines of any property through cracks or holes in the walls or ceiling. This leads to it getting trapped indoors.
After prolonged exposure, your lungs become weak and prone to lung cancer. The worst part is, you don’t know the severity of your illness until it’s too late. Majority of the cases of radon exposure aren’t identified on time.
According to global health organizations, a radon level of 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) or greater is considered high and harmful for human health. To mitigate the effects of radon exposure, its level must be reduced to below 2.7 pCi/L.
Therefore, it’s highly important for you to take certain steps to detect and control the amount of radon gas inside your home.
What is Radon Testing?
Radon testing is used to determine radon levels inside your home, school, or workplace. In most cases, testing can be done on your own, but it’s always best to involve a professional for this job.
There are various types of tests that you can choose from, based on a variety of factors.
Whichever test you choose, make sure to conduct in an area of your house that’s the least livable, and is used not more than 8-10 hours per week.
I’ll break down the types of tests into short-term, long-term, and continuous.
Short-Term Radon Testing
This type of testing is like a quick checkover. It helps you determine whether there’s any need for further testing in your home or not. You can easily find these tests at hardware stores or shops selling home goods.
Short-term testing is done using a radon sampler that uses charcoal or electret ion technology. It measures the radon levels in your home from two to seven days.
You note the results on a sheet that comes with the tester. You can mail this sheet to a lab to find out the results.
Long-Term Radon Testing
This type of testing measures radon levels from 90 days up to a year. It utilizes alpha particle tracking to give more accurate results over time.
It’s also responsive and provides you with precise daily readings.
Daily radon levels vary due to a number of factors, such as change in air pressure, wind speed, soil moisture, and others. Long-term radon testing devices are found through licensed radon agencies, as well as online.
Continuous Radon Testing
Continous testing includes the use of electric and digital monitors. They can be used for any period of time.
It gives you accurate and precise readings of radon levels daily. All you need to do is to buy it from a trusted online store and plug it into a standard wall socket.
This method of testing is much more effective. It can quickly detect how much radon exposure is in your house so you can take the necessary actions as quickly as possible.
Does Humidity Affect Radon Testing?
As I mentioned above, there are a number of factors that can affect the levels of radon gas. Humidity is also one of these factors.
This is why knowing the temperature and humidity of the test area is important.
Humidity tends to tamper with the sensitivity of the radon measurement device. In such cases, experts recommend shortening the testing time.
For instance, if you’re using a short-term radon testing method, then you should reduce the testing time to two days instead of seven.
Apart from this, rain and gusty winds can also affect the radon measurement system, as they greatly increase the moisture in any area.
Do You Need Radon Mitigation?
Once you’re done with the radon testing and notice high levels of radon gas in your home, what to do next?
Experts suggest if you’ve performed short-term testing and receive alarming results, carry out the test again, or use a long-term testing method this time.
This step will help double-check and validate the radon levels, and will also determine whether you need radon mitigation or not.
Radon mitigation refers to a set of processes or steps that are used to lower the radon concentration in a building.
These systems are specially designed to bring down the radon levels to as low as possible. They can help maintain the level at below 2 pCi/L throughout the year.
Consulting a professional will allow you to reduce the radon concentration inside your home.
This system consists of a fan that draws air from the soil inside a home’s foundation and pushes it out through the exhaust pipes. These pipes may be installed inside or outside the house, but also require sealing of any cracks or holes in your home.
Types of Radon Mitigation Methods
There are three different types of radon mitigation methods used in homes, and these are:
- Sub-slab suction: Drawing radon gas from the home’s foundation and pushes it outside through the vents.
- Drain tile suction: The pipe is pushed through the drain tile and the gas is pushed outside, with covers installed on sump baskets.
- Sub-membrane: This is used in crawl spaces, and involves a sealed plastic sheet that covers the soil and the walls. A radon pipe is pushed through the sheet and pushes the gas outside.
How Quickly Does Radon Mitigation Work?
After the radon mitigation system has been installed, you should wait at least three days before the radon concentration starts to decrease.
It’s advised that you shouldn’t perform any type of radon testing within 30 days of the installation.
When the radon mitigation system is installed, your family can safely live inside the house.
If you find that the levels are decreased after regular testing, you can still keep the radon mitigation system in place. This will prevent any more radon from entering your home.
How Much Does Radon Mitigation Cost?
There are varying factors when it comes to the cost of radon mitigation. These factors can be:
- The type of system
- The construction of your house
On average, the costs can go as high as $2,500, and can be as low as $1,500. You can also opt for financial assistance depending on where you live.
The cost might scare you a little, but don’t take any risks. These systems can be a lifesaver for you and your family.
Can you Reduce Radon by Opening Windows?
If the radon concentration in your home measures less than 4 pCi/L but is still high, then you can take certain steps to reduce it.
Once you have done so, you can also open all of the windows inside your home. This will generate a cross-breeze. When radon rises from the soil outside your home, it gets dissipated due to the fresh air.
Opening your windows has the same effect, and it’s an effective method to reduce radon levels in the house.
How do you Beat a Radon Test?
If you’re a homeowner and wish to sell your house in the near future, you might not want to spend a lot of money on repairs and maintenance.
If you’ve recently found out that there is a high concentration of radon gas in your home, you’d do anything to avoid spending $1,500 to $2,500 on a radon mitigation system.
Before you get any ideas, let me stop you right here!
While you can tip the scales in your favor while a radon test is being performed by home inspectors or your realtor, I’d strictly advise against it!
Not only will it be equivalent to committing fraud, but you’ll also put the lives of the new inhabitants at risk.
Be a responsible person and go for fair testing. And if the results show a higher concentration of radon gas, then spend the money. Mitigate the ill effects of radon exposure. It’ll help you greatly in the long run.
Although radon gas exists naturally in the atmosphere, its presence in your home can prove to be deadly, especially if it’s in a higher concentration.
Therefore, it’s important to get homes tested for radon exposure. Also, take the necessary steps to protect yourself from any likelihood of lung cancer.
I hope this article helps you understand the severity of having higher levels of radon gas and how radon mitigation works.
If you’d like to get more information like this, make sure to have a look at our other articles.
Thank you for reading, and have a wonderful day!