What You Should Know About Radon
What is radon, where does it come from?
Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the soil. Exposure to radon gas is the second-leading cause of lung cancer (after smoking)in the United States. About 14,000 people die each year from radon-related lung cancer.
Radon is produced from the natural breakdown of the uranium found in most rocks and soils. As it further breaks down, radon emits atomic particles. These particles can alter cell DNA, thus increasing the risk of lung cancer. Radon usually does not present a health risk outdoors because it is diluted in the open air. Radon can, however, build up to dangerous levels inside the home.
Radon can enter your new house through cracks or openings in the foundation. the differences in air pressure between the inside of a building and the soil around it also play an important role in radon entry. If the air pressure of a house is greater than the soil beneath it, radon will remain outside. However, if the air pressure of a house is lower than the surrounding soil (which is usually the case), the house will act as a vacuum, sucking radon gas inside.
Because radon comes from the soil, the geology of an area can help to predict the potential for elevated indoor radon levels.
The only way to know if your new home has a radon problem is to test. The EPA recommends that average annual indoor radon levels do not exceed 4pCi/L. If your home is built with a passive radon system, you should test it immediately after moving in to make sure that radon levels are below the EPA guideline. Remember; if your radon level is 4pCi/L or above, a fan can be installed easily to lower radon levels well below this guideline.
Even if you must install a fan, adding a radon control system to a house under construction is much less expensive than installing one after the house is built. The average cost for a radon control system in an existing house is between $500 and $2500. Adding radon-resistant construction now will save you unnecessary expense and worry later.