Radon is a toxic radioactive gas that you cannot see, smell, or taste. It can be found in any home, regardless of its age. It comes from decomposed uranium that can be found in the soil and it is always moving from the ground into the air above. It leaks into homes through cracks in the foundation and is dangerous and cancerous if it builds up in the home. However, it can never be detected unless special procedures, including radon system testing, are used and without testing, you may not find out you need a radon reduction system until it’s too late.
Testing can take on many forms and is done for a variety of different purposes. If you are buying or selling a house, it is a good idea to hire professionals to inspect the property as they have specialized equipment that can be used to actively analyze the gas levels within a couple of days and officially report this information back to you.
According to the EPA, if the level of this gas reaches 4 pCi/L, then you have a hazardous amount of toxins in the air and should consider professional radon mitigation. This is due to the fact that it can come through the gaps, cracks, and fissures in your home’s foundation. The best form of radon abatement is to prevent the toxins from ever reaching your house in the first place and this can be done through an exhaust system.
The most common method of radon reduction is known as Sub-slab Depressurization. This approach uses pipes and fans that are installed below the basement to trap and vent the contaminated air to the outside before it has a chance to enter your home. Another popular method is that of soil-depressurization wherein the soil around your home in order to reduce hazardous gas levels. You can also choose to use heat-recovery ventilators that work by bringing fresh outdoor air into the home and thereby decrease the amount of indoor toxins. Bear in mind that in order to keep your thermostat stable when using this method, the outdoor air is heated or cooled before entering your house. This can increase your energy bills.
It is best to consult a professional contractor in order to make sure you get the right equipment to fit your house. Additionally, these contractors are trained to be able to install the equipment in order to ensure a quality performance. Moreover, while this project is not inexpensive, it is extremely important not to skimp on a good radon system, as its proper investment is priceless when it comes to proper prevention.
There are some people that believe paints and surface sealers, particularly epoxy or rubber-based, can stop radon. However, the EPA has tested all possible paints and surface sealers but concluded that they are not effective and a layer of paint has no chance of stopping radon atoms. Moreover, sheetrock, wallpaper, plaster, and polyethylene sheets do not stop radon. Neither does covering floors with carpeting or linoleum as even several inches of concrete cannot stop it.