“If radon can’t be seen or smelled, how do I know if it’s in my home?” We get this question a lot. Even if there’s no physical sign or smell of radon in your home, it can still be a problem. The only way to know if it’s in your home is through long term testing.
In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the basics of radon, how to test your home, and how to reduce radon levels.
What is Radon?
Radon is an inert, colorless, and odorless gas that forms when uranium breaks down into the soil. This naturally occurring gas enters homes through cracks in the floors or walls, gaps in floors and pipes, and even through water supply. When radon enters a home and there’s high levels present (above 4 pCi/L), it can lead to health implications such as difficulty breathing, tightness in chest, radon poisoning, and lung cancer.
It is important to note that all homes contain some levels of radon (and even the outdoors has minimal levels). According to the EPA, safe levels of radon in homes should be between 2 and 4 pCi/L. However, if your home is between these levels, it could still pose a risk — there are ways you can reduce it closer to 2 pCi/L just to be safe. (Note: you can’t fully remove radon from your home, but you can reduce it to safer levels). When levels go above 4 pCi/L, it is important that you have a radon professional install a mitigation system to reduce levels.
To give a general idea of how many homes have a high level of radon, the EPA estimates that 1 in every 15 homes have levels of radon in their home above 4 pCi/L. Looking particularly at Pennsylvania, it’s estimated that 40% of homes are believed to have elevated levels. To see the average levels of radon in your area, click here for an interactive map.
Now that you have a general understanding of radon and its presence, let’s move onto radon testing.
The only way to know if you have radon in your home is through testing. The good news is that it is easy and inexpensive to test your home for radon! For starters, both the EPA and Pennsylvania DEP recommend that you test your home every two years and perform retests after any major home renovation (especially if you had any major structural changes). While every two years is recommended, it is best to be safe and install a long term testing system. Long term testing systems provide the most accurate levels of radon in your home over the course of 90 days. All you have to do is call radon experts, like Mold Medics, and to install a long term testing system in your home.
Ways to Reduce Radon in Your Home
If you want to reduce the level of radon in your home, hire an expert to install a mitigation system. A radon mitigation system uses PVC piping, which runs from a sub-slab radon collection point installed to a fan on the exterior of your home. This creates negative pressure under your home and forms a radon collection point that is continually vented by the system. From there, the radon gas is expelled from your home through the exterior stack that extends past your roof line to reduce overall levels.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how Mold Medics inserts a mitigation system into your home:
- Step 1: One of our technicians will assess the location and run a pressure test.
- Step 2: On the lowest level of your home, we’ll drill a hole through the floor slab into the soil.
- Step 3: A small area of soil is dug out under the slab to gather and reduce radon and other soil gases.
- Step 4: PVC piping is installed into the slab.
- Step 5: A radon mitigation fan is installed that is mounted to the exterior of your home.
- Step 6: We seal the piping.
- Step 7: The vent pipe is exited through the wall or ceiling, above the roof line.
- Step 8: We conduct a post-test 24 hours after the system is installed to ensure levels are below 4 PCi/L.
For a graphical representation of the steps we take to make your home safe, check out our infographic.
Additionally, to make sure levels don’t become elevated in your home, it is important to improve air circulation in rooms where air “sits”, such as your basement or any crawl spaces. You can do this by opening windows in your home or installing a fan to create good ventilation.
Contact Mold Medics
Contact Mold Medics today! We protect homeowners by mitigating radon gas and reducing it to acceptable levels. We provide professionally installed Sub Slab Depressurization Radon Mitigation Systems, following the standards of both the EPA and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). We are fully certified by the DEP and have up-to-date DEP-issued photo identification cards.