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Is Radon Only in Basements?

Thursday, February 28th


Basements aren't the only place you can find radon.

This is a common assumption since radon is most commonly found in basements. Unfortunately, it's also very wrong. Radon gas can be found anywhere in any home, not just in the basement.

Why are basements more commonly associated with radon then?

First, let us review what radon is. Radon is a naturally occurring gas resulting from the decay of trace amounts of uranium found within the earth. It is odorless, invisible and a serious health hazard since it’s also the leading cause of cancer among nonsmokers.

Because radon comes from the earth’s crust it is more commonly found in basements which are lower in the ground. Basements often also have porous walls or other access points that make it even easier for radon to slip in. You can learn more about radon here.

Then what other kinds of homes can radon enter?

Any kind. Just because its easier for radon to enter a home through the basement doesn’t mean it’s the only way

Crawl spaces often provide a particularly easy entrance. Even lined crawl spaces are easy enough for radon to slip into. Homes built on a slab are also at high risk for radon infiltration. In fact, the lack of a basement can actually be a problem since it means that radon slips right into your living quarters and has no chance to dissipate into the basement first.

Even homes made from radon resistant materials are not necessarily safe. While radon resistant materials certainly help, they are resistant, not immune. Radon can still get past these materials and the home will likely still need occasional testing.

But radon can only come from the ground right?

Unfortunately, that’s not quite true either. While radon does come from the earth’s crust, some building materials may already contain a trace amount of radon when placed in your home. Stone countertops and fireplace mantels are particularly common examples.

While it should be noted that the amount of trace radon contained in these building materials is generally not particularly dangerous, this is not always the case. This is particularly true if you already have radon infiltrating your home from another source. The combination could be far more dangerous than the individual elements. That’s another reason you should generally test these materials just to be sure.

So what can I do?

The safest way to deal with any radon concern is to enlist the help of a professional. A professional radon inspector will know just what to look for and can thoroughly inspect your home for even minute traces of radon. They can evaluate if there is radon, if the level of radon is dangerous and then, if necessary, suggest and implement the optimal radon mitigation solution for your home.

As a network of leading radon professionals, NRD works with a variety of certified radon experts throughout North America. Contact us today to find a qualified radon inspector near you!