Does your home require radon pressure testing? Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and naturally occurring gas. Due to it being radioactive, it is considered to be the second leading environmental cause of lung cancer in the US. The first being cigarettes. Basic soil is the most common source, although, radon gas can also result from certain crushed rocks, or other sources under a home that allow radon gas to move.
Radon enters buildings through the ground via cracks and holes in concrete floors and foundation walls. The pressure of radon gas pushing up from the ground towards a structure can cause radon to enter buildings and homes. This is because the pressure of radon is greater than the pressure of the air in the structure (house, building, etc.) pushing down. Slight changes in air pressure, including barometric pressure and the action of exhaust fans, can affect radon levels; as a result, radon levels are always slightly changing. Once in the home, radon gas mixes with fresh air and is then distributed via the heating and cooling systems. Naturally, it mixes and flows with any typical air flow throughout the house as well.
According to the EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, radon mitigation should be done when radon levels in the lowest living space such as a basement (if it is used as playroom, office space, family room, etc.) equal or exceed 4 pCi/l (4 picoCuries per liter of air). Testing is recommended for the lowest living space for owner-occupied homes and the lowest space suitable for living in homes that are being sold. A basement can be considered living space if there is a playroom, exercise room or office in the basement. Again, the focus is livable space, a basement in a 19th century farm house with a dirt floor and five foot ceilings would not be considered livable space, given this example, radon tests would be conducted on the first floor of such a home.
Should a test conclude that radon levels exceed the acceptable amount, a mitigation system would be required. Radon Mitigation Systems consist of a type of vacuum under the home or building that pulls air away from living spaces and directs it up and outside. When installed properly, a mitigation system can reduce the amount of radon gas by 80-90%
The more you know, right?