Radon (Rn) is a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless gas that comes from deposits of Uranium in the soil, rock and water. It is naturally dispersed in the air, but when trapped in buildings can be harmful, especially at elevated levels. It is a radioactive decay product of radium, which is itself a decay product of uranium. Uranium and radium are both common elements in the soil.
Why Should I Care?
Over 21,000 people will die this year as a result of exposure to indoor Rn gas. That is one person every 20 minutes which is more than will die from fire, hand guns and carbon monoxide combined.
Where is It Found?
The primary source of high levels in homes is from the soil containing uranium that is under and close to the home. It has been found in elevated levels in homes in every state, and the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that as many as one in 15 homes across the U.S. have elevated levels.
How Does It Get Into My House?
Warm air rises. When this happens in your home, it creates a vacuum in the lower areas of the house. Nature abhors a vacuum, so something must rush to fill it. In the case of your home, air seeps in from the around and under your house, and some air is sucked in through openings on the lowest level. Rn gas enters the same way air and other soil gases enter the home; through cracks in the foundation floor or walls, hollow-block walls, openings around floor drains, pipes and sump pumps, or from the bare earth in a crawlspace.
How Can I Find Out The Levels In My House?
I do a short-term passive radon test, that includes two charcoal canisters. The test takes a period of at least 48 hours, and requires that the test be done in a “closed-house” condition. Prior to the test, the house should be closed up for at least 12 hours.
If your buying or currently live in a home and you would like to get it tested for radon gas please feel free to reach out and I would be happy to do a radon test to ensure the safety of you and your family.
Bill Cooper, CPI
NY Home Authority Property Inspections