Radon is a gas that is created when uranium breaks down into rock, water and soil. It seeps into cracks in foundations into your home and can be present in water you use in your home.
The EPA recommends testing for radon. Radon levels of 4 picocuries or more are considered dangerous.
Lower levels are still risky, but are manageable. Reduce the radon levels in your home with a combination of methods.
- Take the appropriate training courses and get copies of the EPA technical guidelines. If you do not use the proper materials and equipment, you could make the radon level worse.
- Seal all cracks in the foundation, as well as any other openings. Inspect and seal regularly, as house settlement can open up new cracks and fissures and reopen sealed ones.
- Install a fan that blows air from the outside or upstairs into the basement, which creates air pressure that keeps radon from leaking in.
- Install a heat-to-air exchanger to increase ventilation in the home and to lower the radon levels. You can also install this in only the basement.
- Open windows, doors and vents on the lower floor whenever possible to increase the amount of outside air in the home and reduce radon levels. This is only effective for about 12 hours, so it is not a permanent fix.
- Test your well water or local water supply for radon. Install a point-of-entry filter in your main water pipe into your home. This carbon filter will remove the radon from your water.
Get a Contractor
- Find a qualified radon mitigation contractor who is versed in the special knowledge and skills needed to fix a home with high levels of radon. Contact your state’s radon office to get the names of professionals with the proper licensing or certifications.
- Look for the contractor to recommend the right system based on your home type. Basement and slab homes are typically fixed with active subslab suction in which suction pipes are installed from the house through the slab to drain into the rocks and soil below the house.
- Ask about systems for crawl spaces that use a vent pipe and fan that sucks the air under the house to the outside, with a plastic barrier placed over the dirt floor.