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What Are The Signs Your Home Has A Radon Problem?

Feb 11, 2019 10:59:52 AM

For the unfamiliar, radon is an invisible gas formed naturally in the Earth’s crust.

It impacts just about everyone on the planet as it's part of the air we breathe.

Some parts of the planet have high concentrations of radon, while others are lower.

However, nearly all parts of the planet have at least a little bit of radon in the air.

Luckily though, at low doses, radon is relatively harmless.

When the radon levels start to creep up is when you need to start worrying.

In all honesty, the safest level of radon is 0. 

The EPA says that radon gas at a level of 4 pCi/L or higher requires immediate corrective measures to reduce your exposure to radon gas.

When the radon levels get higher than 4 pCi/L is when the health of you and your family is at risk.

The most significant health risk caused by radon is lung cancer.

So, it's in your best interest to know if your home is safe from radon, or if it's time to take corrective action.

Below we'll talk about how it gets into your home, the warning signs, and how to get rid of it.

However, your home isn't the only place that can be in danger of radon poisoning. Read more about it in our blog post: "Can Commercial Properties Have Radon Gas?

Table of Contents 

  1. How Radon Enters your Home
  2. Signs and Symptoms 
  3. Lung Cancer
  4. 10 Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer
  5. Radon Detection
  6. Radon Mitigation
  7. Is your Home Safe?
  8. Get a Discounted Radon Test 

How Radon Enters Your Home

There are two main ways radon can make its way into your home.

The first is through the soil or rock that is under or surrounding your house.

As the uranium in the soil releases radon, the radon can seep into your house through cracks in the floors and the walls.

Because most houses have limited air circulation, once the radon gets in there it stays in there, leading to elevated levels.

The elevated levels are most common in the basement and lowest levels of the house.

The second-way radon enters your home is through the water.

Once the radon is in the soil, it can easily make its way into your well or groundwater. 

When you turn on your shower or any faucet, it releases the radon into the air. 

Signs And Symptoms

Okay, so now that we know how dangerous radon can be, and how it enters your home, the next question to ask is what are the signs that you have radon in your home.

Well, that's kind of a trick question.

It's a trick question because there warning signs that your house has elevated levels of radon.

It's virtually impossible to detect using just your senses.

It's colorless and odorless, making it impossible to see or smell.

There's no taste, so you can't taste it if it's in your tap water.

It leaves behind no stains or discolorations, and it leaves no marks or evidence of its presence whatsoever.

The only way you can tell that you might have radon in your house is looking for the entryways.

Finding cracks in your floor or walls might mean radon has made its way into your home, but there's still no way to know for sure.

And, to make things worse, radon may still be in your home even if you don't find any entryways.

Another common question we get is if there is a link to radon gas and head pain. Read our blog post: "What are the Signs Your Home Has a Radon Problem?"

Lung cancer is a real threat with elevated levels of radon present in your home

Lung Cancer

Unfortunately, one of the only natural ways to tell if your home has high levels of radon is if you've been diagnosed with lung cancer.

It's estimated that radon kills about 21,000 people a year due to lung cancer.

So if you aren't a smoker and you develop lung cancer, there's a good chance it was because of the radon levels in your home.

If you do smoke, the radon in your home will only amplify your risk of developing lung cancer.

Here is a list of 10 signs and symptoms from lung cancer due to radon exposure:

  1. Persistent cough
  2. Hoarseness
  3. Wheezing
  4. Shortness of breath
  5. Coughing up blood
  6. Chest pain
  7. Frequent infections like bronchitis and pneumonia
  8. Loss of appetite
  9. Weight loss
  10. Fatigue

Please be aware of the signs of lung cancer and see your doctor as soon as possible if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

Even if it's a false alarm, it's always better to be safe than sorry.

Unfortunately, many people only learn of the elevated levels of radon in their homes after a lung cancer diagnosis.

Radon Detection 

So we can't be completely helpless, right?

There has to be a way to know if there are elevated levels of radon in your home.

Luckily, there are, and they work very well.

The first thing you need to do is test your home for radon.

To do this, there are two tests you can do, a short term test and a long term test.

The short term tests generally last between 2 and 90 days, and the long term tests are longer than 90 days.

Start with a short term test.

Test the lowest level of your home that people spend time in.

If you have a finished basement that is used often, test the basement.

You can get radon tests at most hardware stores, or you can get a professional to test your home.

The results of the short term test will determine what to do moving forward.

If your level was uncomfortably close to 4 pCi/L, a long term test is in order.

Since radon levels can fluctuate, a long term test will give you the best idea of the levels of radon you're dealing with.

If the radon levels were higher than 4 pCi/L, then it's time to move on to mitigation.

You need to get the radon levels in your home tested

Radon Mitigation

If you've found high levels of radon in your home, you need a mitigation system.

For an immediate impact, open all of the windows on the lowest floors, and use fans to circulate the air in your house.

This will help lower the radon levels if you're in need of a quick fix, but it is not a long term solution.

The long term solution to high radon levels is a mitigation system.

A mitigation system cleanses the air in your home, lowering the radon levels back down to a safe level.

The mitigation system will have to be installed by a professional; this is not something you want to try on your own.

The most common type of radon mitigation system is an exterior mitigation system.

With an exterior mitigation system, the system is installed on the outside of your home.

The system will use a fan to continuously pull air from the soil, and exhaust it outdoors through a pipe away from all windows and openings.

When the mitigation is installed, they will also seal any cracks in your floors and walls to make the mitigation system more efficient.

Is Your Home Safe?

Do you know if your home has safe levels of radon, or is there a chance that you and your family are at risk of developing lung cancer?

If you aren't sure if your home is safe or not, it's time to find out.

There is not a second to spare when your families health and well-being on the line.

The good folks at Radon Eliminator are experts in the field, and they can test your home and install a mitigation system if necessary.

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Topics: Radon Questions