Radon may be something that occurs naturally in the world, but that doesn’t mean you want the radioactive gas getting into your home. It can be dangerous at high levels, even leading to cancer, according to the Minnesota Dept. of Health (MDH).
The frightening part is that radon is found at some level in nearly every home, because it gets created as uranium breaks down in the soil. So what can you do to reduce radon levels? We’ve got 5 ways to start.
Perform Radon Testing
Before you do anything, make sure to test your home for radon first. There’s no need to be scared, because although there are no safe levels of radon, the risk for cancer only really increases if found at high, concentrated levels and you have long-term exposure.
“A test should be performed in the lowest occupied level, typically basement bedrooms or other low-level areas that are occupied for extended periods of time,” says Keith Hill, technical support manager at Minnesota Air.
There are two types of tests you can do. The first is a short-term test that takes 3-7 days and is accurate enough to let you know if you need to take further action. The second test takes three months to a year, and is a very accurate predictor if your home has a radon problem.
“Test to see if any action is needed and then test again after action is taken to ensure success,” says Keith.
Seal Up Cracks And Openings In Your Foundation
If you’ve learned that you have higher levels of radon in your home, then it’s important to stop more of the gas from entering. Sealing the cracks and openings in your foundation limits the flow of radon into your home, making other radon reduction techniques more effective and cost-efficient. However, it’s important to note that sealing cracks is not a stand-alone fix to radon problems.
Ventilation is the easiest and least expensive way to reduce radon in a home, according to Keith.
“By diluting the tainted indoor air with fresh outside air, the concentration of radon is decreased,” he says.
Not only will exchanging air more often be better for reducing radon, but it also helps reduce other pollutants and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in your home. Keith says if you have questions on a simple ventilation system, contact your local HVAC pro and ask about ventilation options.
And if you are worried about heat loss with a better ventilation system, using Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRVs), or air exchangers, is another great way to bring in fresh air in a very energy efficient manner.
Hire A Pro For A Full Radon Abatement System
If testing shows that a simple ventilation system is not adequate enough, Keith says you need to hire a pro to evaluate your home and get them to prescribe a more comprehensive remediation system. That may mean getting an even better ventilation system, sealing, or using other technology.
Active Sub-Slab Suction
Finally, another great way to reduce radon is with active sub-slab suction, which also happens to be one of the most common and most reliable radon reduction methods. It works by having one or more suction pipes inserted through the floor slab and into the crushed rock or soil underneath. Then a radon vent fan is connected to the suction pipes and draws the gas from below the home and releases it into the outdoor air.
If you need help reducing radon, the MDH has a list of radon contractors and mitigation service providers here.
You can also learn more about radon, by checking out our articles below: