Almost 50% of Colorado homes have increased radon levels exceeding the safety threshold defined by the EPA.
Colorado is the 9th most affected state regarding radon, mainly because of its soil composition. Uranium-rich soil produces radon that slowly seeps through cracks and enters homes and buildings.
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. As radon mitigation experts, we thus strongly advise all homeowners to test their homes for radon exposure.
Newly built constructions should follow simple guidelines to limit radon exposure. Older structures are at risk and should be checked for radon. If radon levels are high, call Valley Restoration and Construction, and our experts will be with you to mitigate the problem.
What Is Radon?
Radon is a gas that is produced from uranium-dense soils. When uranium breaks down, radon is produced and evaporates into the air. Radon slowly enters buildings through cracks in the foundation and the basement, posing a significant health risk.
Radon is odorless and colorless but radioactive. Radiation from radon can damage our cells and slowly degrade our health. When cells malfunction, the result is often cancer.
Radon in Nature
Wherever there is uranium lingering in the soil, radon is released. Out in the open, radon dissipates and doesn’t cause any health damage.
However, in closed environments such as homes, buildings, and offices, radon levels build up and can’t escape. Even worse, indoor spaces suck up radon from the soil because of the air pressure difference between the soil and the indoor space. Radon is trapped inside the house, where levels slowly amplify if there is no escape route.
Radon Safe Levels
The air quality in your home is crucial to your health. The EPA has defined the safety levels for radon exposure to 4 pCi/L. Levels above this threshold are dangerous to human health and should be reduced.
Even if your home tests below this threshold but is close to it, you should contact a radon mitigation specialist like Valley Restoration and Construction to lower radon exposure in your home. The lower the radon level, the healthier your family will be and the least the possibility of lung cancer for you and your loved ones.
Radon-Resistant Construction Basics
Prevention is better than mitigation, and it costs less for construction companies to adopt radon-resistant construction practices. A knowledgeable constructor will take preventative measures to limit the home’s exposure to radon. Prospective homeowners have the certainty that the house is safe and won’t have to mitigate radon exposure.
Construction companies have several ways to prevent radon issues, from very simple to more complex.
The first step in radon-resistant construction is installing a gravel layer below the foundation. If there is a basement or crawlspace, builders should place the gravel layer below it. Radon will circulate in this gravel layer and dissipate instead of entering your home.
A polyethylene sheet is placed on top of the gravel layer to trap the radon and stop it from evaporating into the house.
Once the two previous steps are completed, a vent pipe is installed. A plumber installs a vent pipe that directs the radon found in the foundation outside and away from home.
This vent pipe typically climbs up from the gravel layer to the roof. Once at roof level, radon can escape into the air, dissipating without posing any risk to human health.
How to Prevent Radon in Existing Constructions
What if your house is an older one, though, or your construction company hasn’t adopted radon-resistant practices while building it? Is your home a healthy living environment, then?
Interestingly, some radon mitigation techniques are the same as those for energy efficiency and moisture protection. A professional radon mitigation company like Valley Restoration and Construction can help you neutralize radon exposure inside your home.
Vent Pipe with a Fan
It may be impossible to install a layer of gravel under the foundation of your existing home. You can, however, install a vent pipe with a fan to suck up the radon from the soil and direct it outside of your house.
This technique, known as a soil depressurization system, stops radon from entering your home from the basement up.
Seal Cracks and Openings
Another way to mitigate a radon problem in an existing home is to seal all cracks in the basement. Since radon is gas, it can easily seep through even the smallest gap, crack, or broken surface. Because our homes are closed spaces, even a small but consistent gas flow will quickly create a considerable buildup.
Testing for Radon
Most states have radon issues, with Alaska being the most affected state with 10.7 pCi/L. Colorado comes 9th, with 6.8 pCi/L on average. This doesn’t mean all homes in Colorado have increased radon exposure. A radon test kit will tell you if your home is contaminated.
Test a Home for Radon Before Buying It
Before you buy a new home, you should test it for radon. There are radon test kits that are affordable and easy to use. While the safety threshold is 4 pCi/L, a reading that is only slightly lower is still cause for concern as radon can quickly build up beyond that level.
Radon in Existing Homes
A radon-free home will keep you and your family safe and offer you peace of mind. If you have any doubts about the safety of your existing home, you should have it checked. If the radon levels are worrying, you should immediately call radon mitigation specialists to solve your radon problem.
Once radon-mitigation measures are complete, measure the radon levels again. This will give you a baseline of what radon levels should be in your home.
Check for Radon Regularly
The fact that you don’t have a radon problem today is reassuring. To be safe, however, you should test your home regularly with a radon test kit.
For example, cracks in the basement can occur, letting radon seep through. In addition, radon could build up in your home if some of your radon-resistant measures are compromised due to unforeseen events. Even a small tremor can crack a basement seal and let radon into the house. It is best not to be complacent about radon levels in your home and monitor them routinely.
Valley Restoration and Construction
Radon issues are real, but with Valley Restoration and Construction, you have trusted radon professionals who will mitigate the problem.
Our technicians are skilled and have extensive experience in radon mitigation. We are available 24/7 and serve Montrose, Colorado, and all the surrounding areas. If radon testing shows that your home is exposed to radon, call Valley Restoration and Construction at 970-964-4437, and we will be with you immediately to start remediating the problem.