You've probably seen in on the periodic table when you were in high school. No big deal, right? Wrong! Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer next to smoking! So, exactly what is radon? Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that is a product of the radioactive decay of Uranium. It comes up out of the soil beneath us. The air we all breath contains diluted amounts of radon in it. The EPA has determined that the acceptable level for radon levels within a residence to be 4pCi/L (Pico Curries per Liter) or lower.
How is it dangerous?
Back to high school again, do you remember talking briefly about the half-life of a radioactive element? These elements are constantly "decomposing" into different elements. While doing so they emit radiation. As we breathe, we are inhaling radon progeny (radioactive decay products) into the soft tissue of our lungs. Our lungs are then exposed to radioactive material which in turn presents an opportunity for cancer.
How does radon enter my home?
As mentioned briefly in a previous topic, radon enters your home from the ground. Imagine your home as a large vacuum. As your HVAC system is heating and cooling your home it is circulating the air within it. Your home is sealed from the outside thus this circulation causes a "sucking" effect though cracks and crevices that are not sealed from the outside; particularly the ground (ie. concrete floor or subfloor). Some homes have sump pumps to prevent water from entering the lower level. Sump pumps are a great entry point for radon if they are not sealed properly. All in all radon comes into your home from below.
Does my home have radon?
We have discussed what radon is and how it affects us; how do we determine our home's radon concentrations? The only way to know is to test for radon. There are many different types of testing equipment. These include charcoal canisters, alpha track detectors, electret ion chambers and continuous radon monitors (CRM) among others. Some of this equipment provides results in a couple of weeks while others can produce results relatively quickly. For example, a charcoal canister must be sent to to a lab after a 48 to 96 hour "collection" period. It takes about 1 week after it has been mailed to get results. A continuous radon monitor (CRM) can provide results just hours after the device has been picked up.
We at River City Radon utilize the AirCAt device by Radalink to measure radon levels. We can typically provide test results one hour after the testing device has been retrieved. Our report will provide an hourly radon reading and also provide a 48hr average radon result.
My home has Radon!
So, your home has elevated radon levels. Don't panic! We at River City Radon can install a radon mitigation system in your home. A system can typically be installed in one day. After installation we will test your home for air quality at no additional charge.
How does the system work?
If you recall the previous topic of how radon enters your home and the vacuum analogy; radon is expelled from your home in the same fashion. A radon mitigation system places a negative pressure on the soils below your home which draw the radon laden air up and out to the outside air. Visit the photo gallery for examples.
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer next to smoking! Radon levels can easily be reduced with a radon mitigation system.