Across the United States, approximately one in fifteen homes have elevated levels of radon. Unfortunately, many of them will never realize it, as this gas is odorless, colorless, and virtually impossible to detect. Radon in the home is hazardous and increases your chance of developing lung cancer. Here are a few things homeowners should know.
What is Radon?
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that is a byproduct of uranium and other radioactive elements decaying in the soil. When these substances break down, radon gas is released.
Outdoors, it is not as dangerous because it is harmlessly dispersed throughout the air. However, radon indoors can be very dangerous. It can accumulate and become concentrated due to a lack of air ventilation in the home.
Dangers of Radon in the Home
While radon is not a concern in nature due to the very low concentrations of it in the air, at home, this gas is a serious issue. It settles in crawl spaces and basements, but HVAC systems can recirculate that air throughout the home. It is a leading cause of lung cancer, second only to cigarette smoking.
If you are concerned that you have been exposed to radon and might have developed breathing issues or lung cancer, have professional testing performed and visit your doctor as soon as possible.
How Does Radon Get Inside?
Because radon is a gas, it can seep through tiny cracks and gaps in walls, floors, foundations, and other small openings. In parts of your home like the basement, the air is often stagnant, which can cause radon to linger and accumulate.
Testing for Radon in the Home
The only way to know for certain if there is radon in your home is by having testing performed. A professional can conduct a test to measure short-term and long-term levels of the gas. If high levels of radon are found, they can also assist you in determining how the gas might be getting into your home and the best ways to remove it. A mitigation system will ventilate the gas out of the house and improve indoor air quality.