When it comes to caring for your home and keeping it in tip-top shape, it helps to know about radon and how it can affect your home foundation.
Never heard of radon? Heard of it but didn’t realize your home or you as a homeowner can be harmed by it? You’re not alone. While radon may occasionally make the news, it’s only in recent years that studies have been done to learn about its effects on homes and the people who live in them.
As it turns out, radon is a definite concern for homeowners. And it’s essential for you to know what it is, how to recognize its effects, and how to remedy your home — before it can damage your foundation and make you and your loved ones ill.
Here’s what you need to know to keep you, your family, and your home foundation safe from radon.
What is radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas created when uranium decays. While most people think of uranium as a fuel for nuclear reactors, it’s actually a common element found in soil all across the country. Radon is present in very small amounts in the air all around us.
Unlike the natural gas used to heat homes, radon gas is colorless and odorless, so it is difficult to detect without proper testing. And it can build up in your home, causing potential problems for you and your family.
How does radon affect our health?
While radon is common in soil and air, that doesn’t mean it’s harmless. In fact, radon can build up and get trapped in a home’s foundation and interior. The more this gas builds up, the more you and your family may breathe it in.
Over time, radon exposure can harm your health. It’s the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. According the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, radon exposure causes approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. So, it’s something you don’t want to ignore.
How does radon get into a home foundation?
Because radon is a gas, it can easily seep from the soil where you live into your home’s foundation. It can penetrate porous concrete. And it can flow into your home along with other air particles through gaps in your walls and floors.
The interaction between a home’s particular, unique foundation and the soil it sits in determines how much radon can leak into and get trapped in that home. Even your next-door neighbors’ homes may be more or less susceptible to trapping radon than your home is.
As a result, radon in unhealthy levels can build up in any home, of any age.
What can I do to ensure my home foundation stays safe from radon?
Fortunately, a radon problem is fixable. You don’t have to move or destroy your house; you just have to properly address the issue. Here’s how to handle radon issues in your home:
- Perform a home test. Radon test kits are easily available and inexpensive. Simply follow the instructions, then send off the results for analysis.
- Retest every few years. As soil breaks down over time, your home’s radon results can change. It’s a good idea to repeat your radon test every few years to ensure your home foundation is still resisting the penetration of radon.
- Respond quickly. If your home tests high for radon, don’t put off fixing the situation. The sooner you invest in a solution, the safer your home and family will be.
- Know what works—and what doesn’t. Even though radon can seep in through gaps in walls and floors, studies show that simply caulking the gaps is not a sufficient fix.
- Invest in a radon reduction system. The best solution is to reduce the penetration of radon into your home by installing a system that directs radon away from your foundation.
- Hire a professional radon mitigation company. It’s wise to get the help of experts to remedy a radon problem. Do your research, and ask the right questions to find a mitigation firm that is right for you.
Make sure you have a firm home foundation
A strong foundation is the key to a long-lasting, durable, attractive home or business you can be proud of. When your home needs foundational repairs, or if you have questions about the current quality and security of your foundation, Edens Structural Solutions can help.
Our foundation experts handle both residential and commercial properties in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas. Call us anytime at 918-366-3001 for a free foundation or slab repair consultation at your home or business location.