Radon gas is a hazard that many homeowners live with and have no idea. The effects of radon can be devastating. Over many years, exposure to radon can lead to problems like lung cancer and respiratory trouble. Knowing what radon gas is, how you can mitigate the effects of radon and what you can do to protect members of your household can help you avoid a potentially devastating condition. Here's what you need to know.
What Is Radon Gas?
Radon definition: Radon is an odorless gas that occurs when uranium in the earth decays.
Is radon dangerous? Radon is radioactive. Exposure to radon over a long period can cause cancer. Although radon is not found everywhere, it can be especially problematic in homes with basements.
Radon symptoms include:
- Hoarse voice
- Shortness of breath and wheezing
- Persistent unexplained cough
- Chest pain
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Coughing up blood
- Frequent respiratory infections or conditions like pneumonia and bronchitis
Radon effects may be different for different individuals and depending on how much time they spend in the part of the house where they're being exposed to radon.
How To Test Your Home For Radon?
What is radon testing? Radon in homes can be tested through standard kits that are available for sale through online vendors and through state agencies, municipalities and county offices. Radon testing kits are left in place for a specified period of time and then the kit is sent to the lab for the results.
For best (most accurate) results, testing is done in winter when the windows are closed. You can also use a professional radon testing contractor to test the radon levels in your home. Working with a professional helps ensure that you'll have best and most accurate results.
Is radon testing necessary? Since radon is an odorless gas, radon testing is the only way to find out whether you and other members of your household are being exposed to radon.
What Do You Do If Your Radon Levels Are High?
How to fix high radon levels. Any home with high levels of radon should go through mitigation measures to protect the people in the house.
What is radon mitigation? Radon mitigation is a method of collecting radon and directing it away from the house. Radon mitigation usually involves sealing the house against radon, although these measures alone are not enough to protect the people living in the house.
The first step to mitigating high radon levels is to determine where the radon is strongest in the house, and where the radon is coming from. Once this is determined, then the radon mitigation efforts can begin.
- Install a radon barrier in your uninsulated crawl space. This consists of eco-friendly spray foam and installation of an evacuation stack.
- Installation of a sub-slab depressurization system in your finished basement.
- Installation of additional concrete in your unfinished basement is also an option, as is sub-slab depressurization (as described above).
Because there are so many ways to get rid of radon, and there are so many ways that a home can be constructed, the method used to get rid of the radon in your home may be different from the method used to get rid of radon in your neighbor's home. Working with radon contractors can help you find the best, most effective way to get rid of radon on your property.
What Are the Benefits of Lowering Radon Levels In Your Basement?
Lowering radon in basement can help protect you and members of your household from the potentially devastating effects of exposure to high radon levels in house.
What Can Be Done to Reduce Radon Levels in Your Basement?
Working with a radon mitigation company is the best way to reduce radon in your basement. Radon mitigation varies depending on the state of your basement.
Details like whether your basement is finished or unfinished, and whether the radon is in a crawl space instead of a basement, will affect the ways that the radon must be mitigated. Working with a professional company helps ensure that the work is done properly.
How Much Does It Cost to Reduce Radon Levels In Your Basement?
The average cost to reduce radon levels in a basement varies. The national average is $800 to $1500 depending on the house. The average cost is $1,200.
How Do I Find Qualified Radon Mitigation Contractors?
The best way to find a qualified radon contractor is to contact your state radon program to get a referral for certified radon contractors in your area. Some states maintain a list while others do not.
If your state does not maintain a list, there are two national certification programs. You can check with these programs to find individuals in your area that are certified. When choosing a contractor, always check references and read the contract before hiring a contractor.
What DIY Radon Mitigation Solutions Are Available?
Many of the radon mitigation solutions that are performed by contractors can also be performed by homeowners. Doing the work yourself can save as much as $1,000, but you'll need to ensure that the work is done properly.
One way to help mitigate your radon problems is to seal your basement cracks with an epoxy. You should also seal your basement concrete with a penetrating sealer. To do this, start by removing any paints, efflorescence and sealers already on the concrete. Next, remove any loose mortar. Finally, seal the concrete according to the manufacturer's instructions. This should all be done before installing your own DIY radon mitigation system.
To install your own DIY radon mitigation system, you'll need to install a pipe into the soil under the basement floor. The pipe will include a radon fan that will suck radon up once it gathers in the area around the pipe. There are many steps to installing a radon pipe and fan, so this isn't something you should do without learning how. Radon mitigation DIY is only effective if done properly.
Can Radon Levels Be Lowered In Any Basement?
Although different basements require different radon solutions, radon mitigation is possible. Your radon contractors can suggest different methods for getting rid of radon in your basement.
What Are the Key Elements to Radon Mitigation?
Key elements to successful radon mitigation include:
- Fans should not be located inside the crawl space or in the home. The fan can be in the attic, in the garage (if there is no apartment above the garage) or outside.
- Piping that gets rid of radon in the home should be routed up at least 10 feet above grade and above or at the eave of the roof. The piping may be routed up the outside of the house.
- The system should come with an instruction manual and warranties.
- The system should have an indicator that will show whether the system is working properly. The system should be installed according to local electric codes.
- Homes with radon mitigation systems should be retested no later than 30 days after the system is installed to verify that the system is working.
What Impacts the Cost of Radon Mitigation?
The cost of installing a radon mitigation system depends on the size of the house, the type of construction, what the house is made from and what the local climate is like.
How Long Does It Take to Lower Radon Levels?
Radon levels may start dropping as soon as the radon system is installed. Once the system is functioning, the homeowner can test for radon within 24 hours of turning on the system.
Can Radon Levels Be Reduced to Zero?
Radon levels cannot be permanently reduced to zero. They may be reduced significantly and may even for a while show that there is no more radon in the house, but this is not sustainable over the long term. Any company that claims they can eliminate radon from the property should be scrutinized carefully.
Does Finishing a Basement Reduce Radon?
Installing a concrete floor in your basement can help reduce radon, but only if the floor is non-porous, isn't cracked and has no hole in the floor. If you've installed a drainage pipe or a sump pump, this creates a potential entry for radon into your basement.
How Do I Make my Basement Safe from Radon?
The best way to make your basement safe from radon is to test your basement for presence of radon, and if the radon levels are high, hire a radon mitigation company. Working with a radon professional can help ensure that you'll get rid of the worst of the radon in your home. By hiring a reputable professional, you can help ensure the work is done right.
Radon Mitigation Products by ENDUR-O-SEAL® USA
Please consider our radon mitigation products when you are ready to start your project. Each one is specially formulated for concrete age, texture, and basement moisture levels. To get help choosing the right products for sealing your basement, call 1-800-259-8855.