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  • Writer's picturegdevarshi

Breathing Easy: Next Steps When Your Home Fails a Radon Test

Radon mitigation system installed on a home
Radon mitigation system installed on a home. Image provided by

Whether you've gone through the professionals or used a DIY kit, testing for radon gas is a common step incoming and local residents of Tennessee should take when moving into a home. With unpredictable levels of radon from home to home across Tennessee, read on for next steps to identify and mitigate radon levels in your home.

What is Radon Gas?

Radon is a naturally occurring gas that forms from the decay of uranium, a radioactive element found in the soil. It is radioactive, colorless, odorless, and tasteless, making it undetectable by human senses. Radon is released from the ground into the air and can accumulate to higher concentrations indoors. 

When radon is inhaled, it can damage lung tissue and increase the risk of developing lung cancer. Radon exposure is considered a significant health risk, and it is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking or exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke. Radon gas decays into radioactive particles called radon progeny, which can become trapped in the lungs when inhaled, emitting radiation that can damage lung cells and increase the risk of developing cancer over time.

Radon levels vary due to a variety of factors like soil composition, wind, weather, the materials used in a structure and structural ventilation. Testing is the only way to know if radon levels are above or below actionable levels. If high levels of radon are detected, mitigation measures can be implemented to reduce exposure and minimize health risks.

Soil where radon gas naturally occurs
Radon gas, naturally occurring in soil, is odorless, colorless, and cannot be seen.

Crucial Steps for Identifying Radon in Your Home

  • Confirm the results: This is necessary for those who have used a DIY radon testing kit. If you conducted the test yourself, it's advised to confirm the results with a professional radon testing service. They can provide a more accurate assessment of radon levels in your home using professional and specifically designed equipment.

  • Consult with a radon mitigation professional: Consulting with a professional who specializes in mitigation. They can assess your home's specific situation and recommend appropriate mitigation measures. 

  • Mitigation options: There are various radon mitigation techniques available, depending on how severe the radon problem is and the construction of your home. Common mitigation methods include sub-slab depressurization. This way of mitigation works by installing a vent pipe and fan system under the home. This draws radon gas from beneath the foundation and vents it outside. This can be aided by sealing cracks and gaps in the foundation to prevent  as much entry as possible.

  • Get multiple quotes: It's advised to get quotes from multiple radon mitigation contractors to compare prices and suggested mitigation methods. Choosing a reputable contractor with experience in radon mitigation can be beneficial to both your home and specific needs. 

  • Implement mitigation measures: After you've selected a mitigation method, schedule the mitigation system installation to be done as soon as possible to reduce your exposure to radon gas.

  • Retest after mitigation: After the mitigation system is installed, it's important to re-test your home to ensure that radon levels have been effectively reduced to safe levels. The level of radon in the home after re-testing can determine how many years to wait between testing to ensure the mitigation system is still effective.  

  • Maintain the mitigation system: Regular maintenance of your radon mitigation system is crucial to ensure its continued effectiveness. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations and schedule any necessary periodic inspections by a qualified professional.

  • Educate yourself: Take the time to learn more about radon and its health effects. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other health organizations provide valuable resources and information on radon mitigation and prevention.

A family viewing a home, possibly discussing a radon test
Having a radon test done can have long term benefits, especially when moving to to a new location.

Benefits of Radon Mitigation

  • Reduces health risks: Radon exposure is a significant health risk, increasing the likelihood of developing lung cancer, especially for those who are exposed to elevated levels of radon over a long period. Mitigating radon can lower the concentration of radon gas indoors, benefiting those especially susceptible to respiratory illness.

  • Protects occupants' health: By reducing radon levels in indoor air, mitigation measures protect the health of all occupants in homes and buildings. Lowering radon exposure levels can lead to improved respiratory health and overall long term well-being.

  • Preserves property value: High radon levels can be a concern for property buyers and may impact the value of a home or building. By mitigating radon, property owners can demonstrate that their property is safe and reduce potential concerns for buyers, helping to preserve property value.

  • Peace of mind: Radon is impossible to detect without testing. Mitigating radon can provide peace of mind for occupants.

  • Long-term cost savings: While radon mitigation may involve upfront costs, it can result in long-term savings by preventing potential health problems associated with radon exposure. Investing in radon mitigation is more cost-effective than having to endure the consequences of radon-related health issues later on.

Overall, mitigating radon is beneficial for protecting human health, preserving property value, and providing peace of mind for families. It's an essential step in creating safer indoor environments and reducing the risks associated with radon exposure.

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