Are You Breathing Radon Gas Without Knowing It?

Are you breathing radon gas without knowing it?

What is Radon Gas?

Radon gas is a radioactive gas produced from decaying uranium in the igneous rock below the earth’s surface. Exposure to radon gas over an extended period of time has been linked to some forms of lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have linked over 20,000 cases of lung cancer to elevated radon levels.

Should I be concerned?

Radon is present in all U.S. regions, but areas that have igneous rock layers are especially prone to elevated radon levels. You might see elevated radon levels in homes with basements and wells for water supply.

How do I know if the radon levels in my house are elevated?

Radon test kits can be purchased at a reasonable price through an HVAC contractor or on the Internet. There are short-term and long-term kits available.

Short-term kits typically run through a 30 to 90 day period. The sample is then delivered to the lab for analysis, and the results are sent back to the consumer.

Long-term kits last for an entire year. Long-term testing is often preferred because radon levels can shift as the seasons change whereas a short-term test may not capture the most accurate results.

What do I do if my radon levels are elevated?

Call your local HVAC contractor to have an analysis completed and install a radon mitigation system. These systems are simple, inexpensive and easy to have installed.

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20 thoughts on “Are You Breathing Radon Gas Without Knowing It?

  1. If a basement has insulated, fully finished walls and floors, no sump pump, and all the plumbing is new and sealed properly, is it likely that radon could or would deep into the basement? Also if a window is cracked open and a ceiling fan is left on I heard that, that would also dramatically reduce radon concentrations. Any truth to that?

    • Radon gas is mainly linked with decaying radioactive elements like uranium. Radon gas is not likely found in landfills unless shillings from oil and natural gas wells have been deposited. At which time Radon gas has been detected, but not from other sources of decaying matter.

      • Matt, your info is scary. I live in a house for 13 years now.The house was built in 1999, Connecticut. When we moved in, that house was 6 years old.So far, a radon test has never been performed in the basement where there is a crack( line) in the laundry room floor. And I am concerned about ever more because the house is built in a former landfill.

        • Joseph, you are correct. Matt’s info is quite scary. What is even more scary is the crack in your laundry room floor. The idea that the radon gas is venting directly into your home because your foundation is failing is terrifying. If I were you, I would get my family out of there immediately! Find another home now!

  2. We are buying a house, and just had a Radon Test come back with a high elevation. Our question is, if we pay to have the Radon removed, will it come back? We really like the house, and are willing to pay for the removal of the Radon, but are wondering if it’s presence is likely to return. Thank you.

    • Radon gas typically enters the home through a sump pump in the basement, cracks in the floor, or floor drains. When high levels are indicated, the treatment is not to just remove the radon gas, but to control. Most times the radon gas is entering through the sump pump. A typical solution is to install a vent system that seals off the sump pump and vents the area.

    • The effects on pets like dogs and cats is the same as people – lung cancer. What we have to realize is that our pets have a higher exposure. Pets typically remain in the home when the owners are off to work. Pets are often in the basement of the home with the owners are away. Pets also have smaller lungs which increase the effects of breathing radon gas.

    • There are various test mediums and types. Based on the timeframe for the test, the number of particles collected in 48 hours, for this example, indicate the number of particles present in the air to XX. Based on the results, you will be instructed to further test or look into a mitigation system.

  3. I live in a housing authority in South Peabody, ma. What are the chances I’m breathing Radon gas?

    • Radon gas is present in many homes and buildings across the US. Some areas are more prone to elevated levels of radon gas. The only way to know for sure is to have a radon test completed. There are several ways to have the test completed. Radon test kits are offered at different time intervals depending on the reason for testing. If you want a true radon level test, I would recommend a year-long test as radon levels vary with seasons and weather.

  4. We have installed a radon mitigation system at the corner of our smaller basement which has been placed independently about 5 feets lower than the main basement. I am concerned if that system is able to absorb radon from the other side of basement which is not in the same level and I am using it as my office. I appreciate your time to answer my concern. Thanks.

    • The answer to this depends on the type of mitigation system you have installed. I would verify the radon levels in the office portion of your basement with a new test kit to verify. If radon levels are of concern, then a further analysis should be completed for the mitigation system or if another system may be required.

    • Until reading your comment, I was unaware of any detection alarm for radon gas! Thank you for letting me know!

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