Is Radon gas an issue that homeowners should be concerned about? Since recent Alabama state surveys show that 2 homes in 5 have elevated radon levels, perhaps we should get more familiar with it!
- Radon is a radioactive gas.
- It is produced by the natural breakdown (radioactive decay) of uranium.
- You cannot see, smell or taste it, but it may be in your home, nonetheless.
- It is the second leading cause of cancer in the United States (behind cigarette smoke).
- Current state surveys show that 2 homes in 5 have elevated radon levels.
- Radon enters the home through cracks in foundations or slabs, joints, underground service penetrations, untrapped floor drains, sumps, exposed soil/crawl space areas, and other openings.
- It can also enter a home through the water supply.
- It is nine times heavier than air, and thus tends to stay close to ground level.
Radon levels in a home’s basement can be two to five times greater than the level of upper floors.
How to Reduce the Level of Radon Gas in Your Home
For existing homes…
- Seal all cracks in the walls, basement floor, and joints between the concrete slab and basement walls.
Cover crawl space floors and/or areas where the soil is exposed, with a polyethylene ground sheet (moisture barrier).
- Ensure proper crawl space ventilation.
- Provide tightly sealed covers for sumps or use a submersible pump.
- Floor drains should have water traps installed.
- Vent the space under the floor slab where possible.
- Increase your home’s ventilation rate by using a balanced, mechanical ventilation system such as a heat recovery ventilator. Unbalanced systems (exhaust only) can create negative pressure in the home and draw more outside air and radon through cracks or holes.
For new home construction…
- Check with your builder to ensure that concrete walls and floors are designed to withstand soil pressures and minimize cracking.
- Place a polyethylene barrier under the concrete slab before it is poured.
- Caulk/seal all joints between the slab and the concrete walls.
- Avoid open air flow paths between the weeping tile and the floor drain.
JADE Engineering and Home Inspections offers Radon Testing to its customers. Call us today at 256-318-0982 or click to contact us to set up an appointment!