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New Infographic: How Does Radon Get into Homes?

Thursday, November 6th


Radon is an invisible, senseless gas that naturally comes from soil, rock, and groundwater. In fact, radon is in the outside air we breathe every day. Radon is only deemed dangerous when you’re exposed to high amounts at once, which most commonly occurs when it becomes trapped in places such as buildings and homes. So, how does radon get into homes? Read more to uncover the truth about radon.

Ways radon creeps inside homes

Good news: high levels of radon can be removed from your home. Before explaining how radon can be mitigated, it’s important to understand how it got into your home. Any of the issues below could be the reason why radon has entered your home.

  • Unsealed cracks in the foundation

Cracked concrete in your foundation is, in actuality, very common. Radon can enter homes through horizontal cracks in the foundation, suspended floors, construction joints, cracks in basement walls, sump holes, plumbing penetrations, and even small holes in the foundation. Vertical cracks found on foundation walls can also let in water, moisture, and dangerous soil gasses, like radon, into your basement or crawl space. Once in your home, radon has no difficulty finding its way into the upstairs/main living area.

  • Soil under and around the house

Radon is released into the air as uranium-laden soil. Radon has the potential to maximize its exposure if a home has a dirt floor crawl space. Our homes and buildings attract the gas from the soil and trap it inside.

  • Contaminated drinking water

Although not as common, radon gas can dissolve in water from underground sources like groundwater. When radon-contaminated water in your home is used for everyday tasks such as bathing and cooking, this water will evaporate into the air, therefore contaminating the indoor air around you. The number of deaths caused by radon contaminated water is about 92% less than the number of deaths caused by airborne radon, but since this water can evaporate into the air, it is a cause for concern. Water supplies are still strongly encouraged to get tested regularly to ensure safety.

  • Drafts through windows

Radon gas can enter through drafty windows and air leaks. The natural rise of air in the home can cause suction of windows, doors, floors, and perimeter walls, allowing radon to enter from the soil. The more windows and doors left open, the bigger the chance radon can sneak into your home.

Infographics are such a great, easy way to tell a story. This one, from the John Stoddard Cancer Center in Iowa, illustrates how radon seeps into homes

New Infographic How Does Radon Get into Homes - Image 1

Lowering radon levels through radon mitigation

Radon mitigation systems are the best way to reduce and manage radon levels. Each system proves to reduce radon levels, but finding the right option will determine how efficient the system will be. Many building codes now require a passive mitigation system to be installed in new homes, but a house may require a specific system- which is why it is imperative to use professionals to determine the correct option for you.

Different Types of Radon Mitigation Systems

  • Active

Active radon systems use a fan to run constantly without using too much power or making a lot of noise. It relies on an in-line fan to move the radon gas from under the foundation to the outside through a plastic pipe.

  • Passive

These systems are designed to remove radon without the use of a fan. It contains the same ventilation pipes as an active system, except without fans to remove the radon gas beneath the foundation. Learn more about passive radon mitigation systems here.

  • Abatement System

“A radon mitigation (or abatement) system uses a fan and a plastic pipe system to extract radon gas from under-house areas and expel this gas harmlessly into the atmosphere.” These systems need occasional maintenance checks. A system warning device will verify if it works correctly. It can last five years before needing a repair or replacement. Be sure to keep the fan on all the time for it to work correctly.

  • Heat recovery ventilation

This system requires periodic cleaning as well as vent inspections. The ventilator should be checked annually and make sure the flow remains balanced.

Radon solutions for homes with basements or slab foundations

Radon usually gets reduced in homes with basements or slab-on-grade foundations by soil suction. The four main types include drain tiles, sump hole suction, block wall suction, and subslab suction.

  • Active subslab suction

Suction pipes are inserted through the floor slab into the crushed rock/soil underneath or outside the house. The number and location of the pipes depending on how the air will move under the slab depends on the strength of the source.

  • Passive subslab suction

Active sub-slab suction relies on natural pressure differentials and air currents instead of a fan to redirect the radon under the home. They correlate with radon resistance which is found in newly constructed homes.

  • Drain tiles

Direct water away from the foundation of the house. The suction on these tiles or pipes is often effective in reducing radon levels.

  • Sump hole suction

When using a radon suction pipe, unwanted water can be removed.

  • Block wall suction

Used in basements with hollow block foundation removes radon and depressurizes the block wall, similar to sub slab suction.

Radon solutions for homes with crawl spaces

Submembrane suction- most effective radon reduction system used in homes with crawl spaces. Your radon mitigation system will cover the earth floor with a high-density plastic sheet if your home has a crawl space. Then a vent pipe will direct the radon from beneath the sheet, and then a pushed it outside

Radon mitigation systems and radon inspections are essential to understand fully. Each system is unique, and every house’s foundation is different. National Radon Defense’s contractors can inspect your home and decide which system is the perfect match for you! Discover more information on techniques to reduce radon in homes!

How an expert can help find the right radon mitigation system for you

Radon is always around us, but high levels of this natural gas can be minimized with radon mitigation systems. It’s best to contact a local radon mitigation contractor to learn what your house needs and manage the radon levels. Trained & licensed radon contractors will analyze the house’s structure. Radon specialists will choose the correct mitigation system you need.

With National Radon Defense, finding the correct radon solution is simple! Schedule a free estimate with your local radon mitigation contractors to find a solution today!

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