Radon is an extremely dangerous radioactive gas that is formed by uranium breaking down in rock, soil and water. It can be slowly released from the ground and is very dangerous as it cannot be detected by any means other than through radon testing. The gas doesn’t smell or taste of anything and is completely colorless. When it’s released into the outside air the concentrations are often so small that there is no risk to human health, but problems can arise when it enters into a home, for example through the basement as it can quickly accumulate to reach dangerously high levels.
Radon Levels Can Fluctuate
The concentrations of radon in a home can fluctuate quite a bit throughout the year and generally tend to be higher during the winter months and in the summer. This is due to the fact that homes are more likely to be closed up tightly during the winter to help conserve energy. Radon levels can also increase the nighttime when people close their doors and windows, reducing the amount of fresh outdoors air that can enter the home. In spite of the fact that radon does tend to be more prevalent during the winter months, it’s still important to test during the summer months.
How Does Radon Get into the Home?
It may seem strange but your home it is much like a vacuum as the air pressure tends to be lower inside compared with the outside soil or foundations of your home. The reason for this is that use of things such as air exchangers can change the pressure in the home. When air is removed from your house then outside air will be pulled back in to try to equalize the pressure, and it’s likely this air will come from the ground surrounding your property, potentially raising the levels of radon. In addition radon is able to enter the home through tiny cracks in the foundations, gaps in the joints and around service pipes, and through floor drains and sumps.
Testing for Radon and Radon Mitigation
The only way to find out if your home has high levels of radon is to have it tested. Although you can buy radon tests quite cheaply it’s always best to consult a professional as they will know exactly where and how to test for this dangerous gas. The problem with buying do-it-yourself kits is that you do have to send off the kit for analysis once the testing period is over, and sometimes this can incur an extra fee. In addition it may be necessary to carry out tests over an extended period of time to get a true value. Long-time detection can be carried out over a period of anything from one month to 12 months and this will allow you to gain a more accurate picture of radon levels within your home. It’s generally recommended that a home is tested for at least a few months, especially if this testing is carried out during the summer months. If the levels are found to be dangerously high then your home will need radon mitigation. Once again this is something that’s best carried out by a professional and is not really something that can be done by the average homeowner.