Simple Ways to Reduce Radon Gas
Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas the is caused by a breakdown of uranium contained in the soil, water, or rocks. Ordinarily, homes have a lower air pressure than the air pressure in the foundation of the home. Therefore, your home tends to act as a vacuum that draws radon through the cracks found in the foundation. In some cases, radon may be contained in well water and can also find its way into the air as the water gets used in showers, kitchens, and other household uses. Experts say that radon that gets into your home via the water poses a lower risk than that which enters from the soil.
Radon is known as one of the leading causes of lung cancer not only for smokers but also for non-smokers. The EPA recommends that households test for radon to help reduce risks associated with it. When should you worry about radon in your home? If you find out that the radon levels are equal or higher than 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L), then you are required to fix it or reduce it to minimize the health risks.
While radon is a dangerous gas that is present in nearly every place, it is found in concentrated levels in homes. Because it is composed of radioactive components, inhaling air filled with radon can damage your lung linings, increasing the risks of lung cancer. Today, health experts warn that radon is the world’s second-leading cause of lung cancer.
A Guide on How to Reduce Radon Levels in Your Home
There are various home remedies for controlling or reducing the amount of radon in your home. Depending on the test results, you will need to inquire from an expert to know which method suits your particular situation. Here are some of the ways you can reduce radon:
By sealing the cracks, you minimize the flow of radon into your home through the foundation. Perhaps this is the easiest and one of the most cost-effective methods of reducing radon from entering your home. In addition, sealing the cracks helps to prevent loss of conditioned air. While it is a fairly good method, the EPA recommends a combination of sealing with other methods since sealing alone has not shown to significantly reduce the levels of radon. What’s more, it is not easy to identify and seal the cracks completely and permanently since new openings and cracks are likely to occur as the house settles.
This method reduces radon by blowing air into the basement, outdoors, living area, or upstairs so as to create sufficient pressure at the lowest levels such as the basement. This helps to prevent the entry of radon into the home by eliminating the vacuum that is created by a pressure difference. However, homeowners should note that the success of this method depends upon the climate, home construction, and the kind of appliances in the home. It is worth noting that to effectively keep radon at low levels, low-level openings such as doors should be closed. The shortcoming of this method is that allowing outdoor air into the house introduces moisture into the house, which can cause energy penalties.
Using a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV)
Also called an air-to-air heat exchanger, a heat recovery ventilator can be used to allow for greater ventilation to reduce the amount of radon entering your home. It increases ventilation by allowing outdoor air to enter the home while at the same time cooling or heating the incoming air. Depending on the affected spaces, you can design the HRV to ventilate a section or the entire of your home although this method has shown to improve radon levels when used in basements alone. When properly installed, HRVs can ensure consistent ventilation all year round. In addition, they can improve the quality of air thus ensuring good health. The only downside of this method is that it can increase utility costs because of the constant heating and cooling processes.
Should You go the DIY Route or Hire a Licensed Radon Mitigation service?
While using DIY approaches to test and rid radon of your home can be an easy and less costly way of mitigating radon in your home, hiring an experienced radon mitigation contractor is the most reliable and sure way of significantly reducing the levels of radon in your home. Riding your home of radon requires a skilled and specialized person since a wrong approach can aggravate the problem even further and lead to loss of money.
Therefore, if you are a hands-on person determined to handle the radon problem by yourself, it is advisable to take short courses or training from your state radon office. On the whole, it is advisable to research the most qualified radon mitigation company trained specifically to deal with radon issuess. To know if the contractor is qualified and licensed, check with your state radon office since most states would expect that these professionals are certified or licensed to deploy radon mitigation systems. If you are not sure which contractor to hire, you may liaise with the state radon office to give you a list of knowledgeable and reputable radon service providers near you.