How Does Radon Get into Homes?
Radon is a radioactive gas that you can’t see, smell, or taste. It comes from uranium, which is naturally decaying in almost all soils. It goes through cracks and other flaws in the foundation as it rises through the ground to the air above. It’s an invisible villain that lurks beneath our floors which could lead to serious health concerns if left unattended. Radon can be easily trapped within your living area – its typical path is usually in basements or crawlspaces, where it can build up.
Nevertheless, all types of houses can have radon problems: old homes, new homes, drafty homes, insulated homes, and homes with or without basements.
New Home, New Renovation. What's to worry about?
You might be thinking if your home is newly renovated, constructed or even spotless, you are exempted from radon’s effects. That’s untrue. Breathing in radon unconsciously does not cause any acute symptoms or indicators instantly. Approximately 20 years of repeated exposure can result in the development of lung cancer, quicker if you also smoke. Once you breathe in radon, it goes into your lungs, exposing them to insignificant amounts of radiation which damages the cells in the lining of the lungs and causes an elevated risk of getting lung cancer.
Radon has no ifs and buts. If it has a path going into your home, it will go through. Radon levels can spike depending on the weather too. This is determined by temperature changes, and the wind may impact the pressure differential between inside and outside air. This is significant because ground air typically allows radon to enter homes. Indoor radon levels are likely to rise if temperature changes and wind produce negative pressure inside the home.
First Step to Prevention
You should take radon seriously, but you really don’t need to leave home as prevention. The only reliable way to find out if you and your family are at elevated risk of radon exposure is to have your house tested by contacting your local radon professional as soon as possible.