CDC: Reduce Radon Levels in Your Home

Radon is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer deaths in the U.S. after cigarette smoke. This #NationalRadonActionMonth, get the facts to protect yourself and your loved ones from radon:

Radon is a radioactive gas that is naturally released in the air from rocks and soil. It can be found in the air outside and can get inside buildings and homes, where it can build up. There is no known safe level of radon. Aiming for the lowest radon level you can achieve in your home will reduce your risk of harmful health effects, including lung cancer.

When You Should Take Action

First, test your home radon level. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends contacting a qualified professional to install a radon reduction (also called radon mitigation) system if your home radon level is at or above 4 pCi/L of air. These are fixes to your home to lower the radon level. EPA also recommends taking action to reduce radon if your home radon level is from 2 pCi/L through 4 pCi/L.

If you are buying a new home, ask about including radon-resistant features to help prevent or minimize radon entering your home and the need  to install a more costly system in the future.

Radon Reduction System

Contact your state radon office or one of EPA’s national radon proficiency programs to find a qualified professional to fix your home. Lowering high radon levels requires technical knowledge and special skills. Contractors who do not specialize in radon reduction could make the problem worse.

There are several proven methods to reduce radon in your home, but the one most used has a vent pipe system and fan, which pulls radon from beneath the house and vents it to the outside. This system, known as a soil depressurization system, does not require major changes to your home. Sealing foundation cracks and other openings makes this kind of system more effective and cost-efficient. Similar systems can also be installed in houses with crawl spaces. The right system depends on the design of your home and other factors like whether your home has a basement.

After installing a radon reduction system, test your home again to make sure it is working and consider retesting your home every two years to be sure radon levels remain low. Also retest your home after any remodeling.

Other Ways to Reduce Radon

If your radon levels are not above 4 pCi/L here are a few things you can do to keep radon levels as low as possible in your home:

  • Increase air flow in your house by opening windows and using fans and vents to circulate air.
    • Natural ventilation in any type of house should not be considered radon mitigation since it is only a temporary strategy to reduce radon.
  • Seal cracks in floors and walls with plaster, caulk, or other mate­rials designed for this purpose.

Always test radon levels again after you’ve made any of these changes.

Costs to Reduce Radon

The cost of reducing radon in your home depends on how your home was built and the extent of the radon problem, so the cost to fix it can vary widely. However, most homes can be fixed for about the same cost as other common home repairs. Contact your state radon office for more information, or get one or more estimates from qualified contractors.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/radon/radon-action.html