What is Radon and Why do we Test for it?

Radon testing is one of the key components of a home inspection, but what exactly is radon? And why is testing for its presence in your home so important? Let’s find out!

What is Radon and Why do we Test for it?

What is Radon?

Radon is a type of gas that was discovered in 1899. It is odorless, colorless, and radioactive. It’s known to be the second leading cause of lung cancer in the USA, and the number one cause of this type of cancer in non-smokers. Radon is not commercially produced, as it occurs naturally during the breakdown (radioactive decay) of uranium.

Traces of this gas are found most commonly in igneous rock, soil, and well water. Radon levels fluctuate over time, which is why it’s so important to have a reliable radon monitoring system or detector in your home. When you are selling your home or purchasing a new one, it’s essential to have a professional test for radon gas to ensure the health and safety of you and your family.

Here’s a recent video we put together to help explain Radon, what dangers it can cause in the human body, and why we strongly advise clients to perform radon testing in Maryland.

How Does Radon Enter a Home?

If you have radon in your home, it is likely that it came in through the basement. The gas is exhausted from rock that is far beneath the ground and moves through the soil surrounding your home’s lowest level. Radon gas slips easily through holes and gaps in your basement walls or floors. Even more discreetly, it can seep through pores in concrete. Additional ways radon can enter the home are through:

  • The spaces around pipes that enter the foundation
  • Warm indoor air rising
  • Fireplaces and furnaces
  • Well water
  • Open areas inside your walls

How Can I Reduce Radon Levels in my Home?

  1. Install a radon removal system. This allows for the immediate venting of radon gas from the inside of your home to the outside. These devices are commonly known as Soil-Suction Radon Reduction Systems.
  2. Seal open spaces in floors and walls. Sealing cracks in the foundation, walls, and floors of your lower level will give radon gas less points of entry into your home.
  3. Install a heat recovery ventilation (HRV) system. These systems are designed to increase ventilation in your home and are most effective against radon when installed only in the basement.

Highland Homes Inspections is a Maryland home inspector with over 27 years of experience in the industry. To learn more about radon testing, or to have your home tested for radon gas, contact us today!

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