It might be hard to imagine ever having to worry about radiation in your home, but it is a very real threat. Radon gas, which is created when uranium found in soil, rocks, and water breaks down, can be found in homes all over the country. Furthermore, around 1 in 15 homes are believed to have radon levels at or above the EPA action level of 4pCi/L. Prolonged exposure to radon gas can severely impact your health over a lengthy period of time (even a brief exposure can be risky); the EPA estimates that almost 20,000 lung cancer deaths are caused each year by exposure to radon. However, there are ways to protect your home. Here are several ways you can protect your home from radon gas.
The first step is to contact a residential radon testing service or radon testing contractor to come out to your home and test your home’s radon levels. Testing for radon is generally conducted in a regularly occupied room on the lowest level of your home. Anything under 4pCi/L is generally considered to be within safe limits, but if it is a higher amount, preventative measures are definitely needed. Given that radon comes from the soil, it would seem like it would be better to test the soil in and around the area before the home is even built. However, it is practically impossible to predict how much radon will develop in a given area until the home is built, this is why it’s just easier to test in the home and see what the levels are.
Once testing is completed by the radon testing contractor, and it is determined that your radon level is too high, you need to choose radon mitigation services that work best for you. If your home has a sump pump, one solution involves installing a special sump pump cover that seals in such a way to prevent radon from entering the home. Another solution involves installing a special vapor barrier in the crawlspace of your home, which will seal your home from outside contaminants. The ideal material to use for this is polyolefin resin, which works particularly well in keeping out radon. Another solution is to have a layer of crushed gravel placed under the slab floor of your basement (or whichever level is the ground floor of your home). This also serves to block the radon from entering your home.
In conclusion, while radon gas is dangerous, there are ways to protect your home and keep any exposure within safe levels. First, you should have your home tested for radon by a radon testing contractor to see if you have high levels of radon in your home. Special covers can be installed with your sump pump; vapor barriers can be placed in the crawlspace to seal out radon as well. You can also have a layer of crushed gravel placed under the slab on the bottom level of the house. All of these methods can help keep your home safe from radon gas.