Radon gas is a by-product of the breakdown of radium, a radioactive element that naturally occurs in trace amounts in the soil. Although we can’t see, smell, or taste it, exposure to radon in the home poses a significant health hazard. Breathing high radon levels over a long period exposes the lungs to radiation, which can result in lung cancer.
Exposure to Radon in the Home
Most of the time, radon seeps up through the soil and is diffused harmlessly into the atmosphere. The problem with radon exposure occurs when it is present in buildings and accumulates over time. The gas can seep into your home through cracks in the foundation and walls, broken pipes, and poorly sealed utility openings.
Basements and crawl spaces are particularly prone to radon build-up. These areas are closer to the ground and tend to be poorly ventilated, which can lead to dangerous levels of radon gas over time.
Protecting Your Family From Exposure to Radon Gas
Because radon gas is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, it’s essential to test your home using specialized equipment. A radon professional will conduct a test in areas where the gas is most likely to accumulate. A reading over four picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L) is hazardous.
The easiest way to decrease the chance of radon buildup is to make sure your home is well-ventilated. Opening windows and improving airflow reduces the likelihood of radon accumulating inside.
If you haven’t already, fill cracks or gaps in your home’s foundation where radon can seep in. Some contractors specialize in sealing homes against radon. This relatively easy fix can go a long way to keep you and your family safe from exposure.
What if Your Home Has Radon?
If the air in your home contains more than four picocuries of radon gas per liter, hire a professional trained in radon mitigation. Reducing the level of radon gas requires specialized knowledge, and trying to fix the problem yourself may only worsen it.
If you are concerned about the danger of radon, call a professional for testing. A mitigation specialist will work with you to determine the best way to reduce hazardous radon levels in your home.
Sherlock Homes Inspection & Property Management provides inspections to homebuyers and sellers in Tolland, Hartford, New Haven, Windham, New London, & Middlesex Counties. Contact us to request an appointment.