Illustration for article entitled What Is Radon and How Do You Get Rid of It?Photo: sommart sombutwanitkul (Shutterstock)

If you’ve put off testing your home for radon for months (or even years), it’s time to put it (back) on your to-do list. It’s one of those things you know you should, but it’s often brushed aside in favor of more exciting home projects where you notice an immediate difference – like hanging curtains or painting a room. But you will likely be able to enjoy the space and the curtains better knowing that you are safe from radon. Here’s how to test, remove, and prevent radon.

Illustration for article entitled What Is Radon and How Do You Get Rid of It?

What is radon

First of all, it’s sneaky. Radon is a colorless, odorless, invisible, naturally occurring radioactive gas that results from the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). From there, it gets into the air we breathe – including the air in houses, offices, and schools.

But because we spend much of our time at home (or at least now), there is concern about undetected radon in our communities. In addition, elevated radon levels are not limited to one geographic region: this gas can be anywhere.

All of this is important because radon is bad for our health. As in, the EPA appreciates This radon can cause thousands of deaths each year Surgeon general says This radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the country after smoking.

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How to test for radon

Fortunately, testing your home for radon is easy and relatively quick. All you have to do is pick one up Accu-Star certified radon test at your local hardware store or directly from the company’s website.

There you will see options for short and long term radon test kits. Short-term test kits measure the radon level between two and seven days. If this is your first time doing a radon test in your home, Start with a short-term testSo it will take less time to find out if you have a radon problem. After that, you may want to opt for a long term test kit that measures radon levels for at least 90 days.

On the Accu-Star websiteTests range from $ 25 for a short-term kit to $ 30 for a long-term kit. You can also purchase discounted kits over the National Radon Program Services at Kansas State University, Which costs $ 15 for $ 15 for a short term kit and $ 25 for a long term kit.

Illustration for article entitled What Is Radon and How Do You Get Rid of It?

How to get rid of radon

If the results of your radon test indicate that there is a lot of gas in your home – that’s more than 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCI / L) – it is time to seek help as this is no longer a home improvement job. Contact yours EPA state office Here is a list of qualified Mitigation Companies in your area.

Here is what they do by Natalie Rodriguez in that old house::

A Radon reduction The contractor can tell you what type of radon control system (active or passive and sub-floor, boghole or log wall suction) will be most effective for you, depending on where you live and what type of foundation you have. You should also be able to offer tips on how to keep your home safe, such as: B. the constant checking and sealing of cracks in your foundation.

Rodriguez also notes that it is important to retest your home after the work is done – and regularly thereafter – to make sure everything is working properly.

How to prevent radon

There is one thing you can do to protect your home (and the people who live in it) from radon: Install a passive radon control. Here’s how it works, courtesy of Rodriguez:

  • Install a layer of gas-permeable aggregate, e.g. B. 4 inches of gravel, under the slab or flooring system of your home if you don’t have a crawl space. Cover this layer or your crawl space floor with plastic wrap to prevent radon gas from entering your home beyond this level.
  • Seal and caulk any cracks in your foundation and walls. Not only does this prevent radon from entering, but it also helps make your home more energy efficient.
  • Run three to four inches of gas-tight pipe from the first layer or crawl space to the roof. This will safely discharge gases from the ground to the outside.
  • Connect an additional circuit to the attic so that a fan can be installed that will turn the pipe into a vacuum cleaner or active radon control system that will direct the gas out of your home.

Sure, it will take a little time and effort, but it’s worth it not to breathe harmful gas.