Radon gas comes from nature. It occurs naturally and is produced from uranium lying deep within the Earth’s crust. We all know that uranium is the source material for nuclear power stations, nuclear submarines and nuclear weapons. It is also used in medical equipment. We also know that uranium is radioactive and over the years, or should that be millennia, it breaks down. In this process of breaking down the naturally occurring gas of radon is released.
Radon gas has always been with us but it’s only been in the last hundred or so years that scientists have discovered radon gas. It’s now believed that this gas was the cause of sickness for people going back hundreds of years. Because we now know that radon can be dangerous, we can do two things.
- We can test for the presence of radon and
- We can develop a system to negate or mitigate the presence of radon.
One problem we’ve had in recent times is the ability to build houses which have become more airtight. This is great if we wish to heat or cool our homes but it also means that if radon gas enters our home, it is more likely to stay there and become concentrated.
How does radon get into our home?
Because our homes are built on or very close to the earth, minute traces of uranium in the ground under or around our home, will mean radon gas may be present. It’s possible that the gas can find its way into our home through tiny openings. If your home is built on a concrete slab and a small crack develops, then radon can find its way into the home that way. Also where there are pipes into the building, there may be again a small fissure through which the gas can enter.
How to test for radon in your home
It’s possible to obtain equipment which will test to see if radon is entering your home. You can even purchase a kit and do the testing yourself although there are many professionals who can do the job for you. The usual process is that the equipment will test for radon gas every hour over a period of two days – 48 hours.
It’s important to understand that the tests may prove negative or that if there is a trace of radon gas found to be entering your home that could be a minute amount. While it has been proved radon gas can contribute to serious health issues, it is believed that a significant amount over a long period of time is required to impact a person’s health. However, it should be understood that there is no such thing as a safe level of radon gas. Just how it impacts an individual varies from person to person but it is a topic which must be taken seriously.
Obviously you may wish to test for radon gas for your own peace of mind but it can also be a handy fact if you are thinking of buying or selling a property. Being able to certify that radon gas is not present can help in the property transfer.
How to prevent exposure to radon gas
While it’s possible to buy a simple kit to test for the presence of radon gas, it’s also possible to install a permanent system – a radon mitigation system. Basically they work beneath your property where they seek to create ventilation in the soil beneath the foundation of your home. Any radon gas which leaks from the soil is captured by the mitigation system, passes through a pipe or pipes, and then by use of a radon fan is sent into the air above the roof of your property. There the radon gas is dissipated and thus rendered harmless.
The thing about radon gas is that while it leaks into the atmosphere on open ground, it poses little if any problem. But when it is trapped beneath a building, it becomes concentrated. If from there it enters an enclosed space such as your home, it’s a potential to become harmful increases.
It’s important to understand that radon gas is a naturally occurring activity, has been around since the beginning of time and can be successfully managed by using the correct equipment and procedures.