Guest blog from Ben Hoffman of Hoffman Home Inspections in Wichita, KS
Everyone’s home is important to them, but what some homeowners often overlook is whether their home is actually safe. One of those safety concerns is the presence of radon. If you are unsure of what radon is or what to do if it’s present inside your house, take a moment to learn more about it and how to protect your home from this invasive and harmful gas.
What is Radon and Why is it Dangerous?
Radon is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas that can sneak unnoticed into your home. The gas originates from uranium that is broken down in soil, water, and rocks. There is no specified geographical location in which radon can’t be found.
In recent years, there were elevated amounts of radon detected in homes nationwide, but many homeowners don’t know it’s inside their house until it’s too late. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that radon contamination causes 20,000 deaths every year. For this reason it is important to have your home tested for radon and to educate yourself on the best way to protect your home from future radon leaks.
Can You Test for Radon Yourself?
Yes, a radon testing kit is cheap and can usually be found in most home improvement stores. If radon is detected at levels above 4 picocuries per liter (PCI/L), the State EPA office should be contacted immediately. They will find a contractor who is licensed to mitigate radon in the area. Since radon is a dangerous gas, mitigating it yourself is not recommended. Attempting to do so could cause more radon to seep inside the home.
How to Reduce Radon in Your Home
The safest way to protect your home from current and future radon leaks is by working with a licensed home inspector or contractor. The methods used will depend on your home’s foundation and geographical location. A professional can also give you tips on how to routinely check for cracks where radon could be entering your home and how to seal them properly. The bottom line is that you should never treat your home for radon yourself.
If you are currently building a house, you should have a plan in place to prevent any radon from coming in. This will save not only a lot of money and hassle, but it will also save your life. Here are some ways to radon-proof your home:
- Install a gas permeable layer: This should be done before the concrete slab is poured. Use a layer of gravel that is measured anywhere between 4 to 6 inches. Since gravel is very porous, it will allow air movement beneath the concrete slab.
- Cover the layer: This can be done by using plastic sheeting. This should be enough to stop radon from moving any further into the home.
- Seal or caulk any cracks: Some of the places to look for cracks are concrete floors and where the floor meets the foundation, as these are typical entry points for radon gas.
- Install a vent pipe: This pipe should be about 3 or 4 inches. Be sure that this pipe is built within an interior wall. As the home warms up the pipe, it will be able to pull air through the pipe and allow radon gas to be pulled out of the soil.
- Install an electrical box: This should be installed inside the home’s attic and as close to the vent pipe as possible.
Radon is something that should be taken seriously. As a homeowner, you should routinely check your home for radon leakages and deal with them as soon as possible, as well as test your home for any contamination. In doing so, you can ensure your home is a safe haven for both you and your family.