You may be asking yourself: why is radon testing important? How does radon get into my home? How do I get rid of it? No need to worry! We’ve answered those questions and more below!
What is Radon?
Radon is an inert, colorless, and odorless gas that can be found inside of homes and can cause health problems. This natural, radioactive gas comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil, rocks, and water. It moves through the ground into the air, sometimes entering homes, schools, workplaces, and other properties through cracks or holes in the structure. When radon enters through these cracks and holes, it becomes trapped inside the structure, which can lead to health problems. Basements and crawl spaces are common places where radon gets trapped because of the poor air circulation.
Any home can be exposed to radon, it doesn’t matter whether the house is old, new, well-sealed, has a basement, etc. According to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), “Pennsylvania has one of the most serious radon problems in the United States.” Approximately 4 out of 10 houses in Pennsylvania have very high levels of radon, meaning 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). Note: levels less than 4 pCi/L can still pose a risk and should be reduced; however, it is difficult to get levels below 2 pCi/L as it is impossible to have a radon level of zero.
The good news is that you can take the necessary steps to reduce and monitor the levels of radon in your home through long-term testing.
What Are The Health Implications of Radon Exposure?
When you breathe in high levels of radon, it becomes trapped in your lungs and can lead to lung cancer over time. According to the EPA, radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. If you are a smoker and have high levels of radon in your home, the risk of lung cancer is higher than non-smokers.
There are other health implications that are not as severe as lung cancer such as:
- Difficulty breathing
- Tightness in chest
- Trouble swallowing
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be exposed to high levels of radon. Whether you are experiencing these symptoms or not, it is necessary to do a radon test to prevent putting yourself at a high risk for lung cancer.
How Do I Test My Home for Radon?
You can’t see or smell radon, so the only way you’ll know if you have radon in your home is through a test, particularly a long-term test. Long-term radon tests allow you to measure levels of radon in your home over a minimum period of 90 days. This is the best and most accurate method to estimate the average amount of radon in your home over a longer period of time. Long-term tests are easy to use and require minimal set up.
You can hire an expert to test your home for high levels of radon and implement a long-term testing system. If a long term radon test shows that your home has high radon levels, meaning the level is 4 pCi/L or more, there are few methods to reduce the amount of radon. One method is through sub-slab depressurization radon mitigation systems, where PVC pipes are inserted through a floor slab into the soil. The pipe is connected to an external vent pipe through the ceiling or wall that releases radon outside. A radon mitigation vent fan is installed and mounted outside that runs continuously, pulling and routing the gas safely out of the building.
Other ways to reduce levels of radon in your home include continuously leaving windows open in your home to circulate the airflow. Air circulation can help prevent high levels of radon in your home. This is especially important in basements and crawl spaces where the airflow typically “sits” compared to other rooms in your home.
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Mold Medics is a trusted group of indoor allergen and mold remediation experts serving the Pittsburgh area. Our team of specialists are dedicated to making your home healthy and safe. Our services include mold removal, air duct cleaning, mold testing, and much more! Contact Mold Medics here to learn more!