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Are Radon Levels Higher in the Winter?

Snow-covered Trees

During the winter months, homeowners must worry about a higher concentration of radon in the home.

Radon levels can vary but tend to be highest during the winter when homes are being heated and the air is stagnant. Since most people don't open their windows during the winter, there's nowhere for radon to escape too which causes it to build up in the home. This makes winter the best time for radon testing.

Why are radon levels higher during the winter?

There are several factors that contribute to a higher concentration of radon gas in the winter. Three of the main ones are:

  1. Stagnant trapped air. While opening your windows is no alternative to proper radon mitigation, it does help to dilute radon gas. While you open your windows during the spring and summer, it's unlikely you'd want to keep your windows open during the cold of winter. This means that the radon gas is sealed in your home and thus becomes more concentrated.
  2. Frozen Soil. Radon gas flows upward through soil into the atmosphere and unfortunately that often makes it flow right through your home. The problem becomes more severe during the winter since the ground around your home freezes, often redirecting the radon gas towards an easier path, the path right through your home.
  3. Stack effect. During cold weather warm air escapes from your house through vents, drafty windows, and other openings at the top of your house. This airflow causes a vacuum effect that can pull air from lower levels, air that is more likely to contain radon gas.

What does this mean for me?

All this means that the winter is the best time to test your home for radon gas. Since radon levels are likely to be higher during the winter you can expect the level to not rise much higher during the rest of the year. You are also most vulnerable to radon during the winter since you will be inside for much of it and breathing the same reheated, recirculated air.

If you're interested in testing your home for radon, then you'll want the help of qualified radon professionals. 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!