Radon, is a radioactive gas released from water, soil, and rocks, is invisible and has no odor. The gas can enter a home through cracks or holes in the foundation or siding, and since radon is invisible and has no smell, there is no way to detect it without performing a test.
Radon gas poses a serious health and safety threat. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), approximately 1 out of every 15 homes has an unsafe radon level – and, no level of exposure to radon gas is considered safe. Interior radon levels vary and can fluctuate over time.
Radon levels are typically highest during winter months. One reason why that snow and ice can form a temporary barrier over the ground, and as a result, seeping into a basement of a home is the easiest way for the gas to travel. Additionally, during winter the warm air inside a home rises and as the warmer air escapes the home, colder air is pulled into the home from below ground, meaning that any radon gas present below the home will also be pulled in with the colder air – this is known as the thermal stack effect.
Basement radon levels are typically the highest, but the gas can be present in the upper levels of a house. Solutions to addressing radon in a home include installing a radon mitigation system, increasing natural ventilation and airflow, sealing foundation and basement wall cracks, and installing an air purifier.
Learn about radon gas, common levels found in a home, and ways to mitigate the issue.