We are accustomed to hearing about common household hazards that go hand in hand with the holiday season, such as fires associated with dry Christmas trees and unattended candles. But did you know there could be a hidden danger in your home that lingers all year long? The danger we’re talking about is radon, but it’s a problem that can easily be remedied.
What is radon?
Radon is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas that occurs naturally from the decay of radon and uranium in the soil beneath your home. Radon is a carcinogen and can lead to many health problems such as lung cancer. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that, according to the EPA, radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer, the first being smoking.
How does radon get into my home?
Radon is created in the soil and moves its way upwards. The most common way for radon to enter your home is through cracks in your foundation and basement walls. Once radon enters your home, it is usually trapped, leading to elevated levels in areas such as your basement and the ground level of your home. It is estimated that 1 out of every 15 homes has elevated radon levels.
How can I test the radon levels in my home?
There are two kinds of tests to choose from: short-term tests and long -term tests.
The short-term test: Depending on the device and directions of the test you buy, the short-term test remains in your home anywhere from two to 90 days. Since radon levels may vary from day to day, you will not be able to estimate your year-round radon levels.
The long-term test: This test will remain in your home for more than 90 days and will give you a more accurate year-round radon level. If you buy a short term test and the radon level is higher than 4 pCi/L*, then a long-term test may be required as a secondary test. If you are using a long-term test and the radon level is higher than 4 pCi/L, then it is time to make the appropriate fixes to your home.
How do I reduce the radon levels in my home?
Now that you’ve bought the test and read the results, it is time to take action. One of the easiest ways to reduce the level of radon is to repair any cracks in your home’s foundation or basement walls. Once those are fixed, it will be harder for the radon to enter your home.
A second method for reducing the amount of radon in your home is by installing a soil suction radon removal system. Though this method may seem complex, it is a simple vent pipe system with a fan that is installed to pull the radon from underneath your home and vent it outside.
Whichever method you choose, be sure to consult a professional for installation.
As the saying goes, home is where the heart is, so make sure your home remains a safe and happy place for you and your family. With the information provided above, you will be able to make important, educated decisions when it comes to radon, have information to detect if radon is an issue in your home, and take the appropriate measures to resolve any problems.
For more information on radon and radon testing please visit http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/citguide.html
* pCi/L or picocuries per liter is how radon levels are measured. Any level higher than 4 pCi/L is considered hazardous to your health.
With over 30 years of basement waterproofing experience, Ameri-Dry offers patented, permanently dry systems that are backed by a full lifetime warranty. Ameri-Dry presently serves Maryland, eastern Tennessee, northern Delaware and eastern Pennsylvania. For more information about Ameri-Dry and Ameri-Dry Guy, visit ameri-dry.com.
Photo credits: Top © Larry Malvin / Fotolia. Middle © Pavel Bolotov / Fotolia. Bottom © Andres Rodriguez / Fotolia.