radon in basement

Radon in Basement: Causes, Detection, and Prevention

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Use These Tips to Protect Your Home and Family from Basement Radon. Discover Safe Radon Levels, Radon Exposure Symptoms, and Radon Mitigation System Installation. Learn the Facts About Basement Radon and How to Get Rid of It. Find answers to frequently asked questions about basement radon. Now Read!


Radon is a radioactive gas that is colorless, odorless, and tasteless and is produced naturally when uranium decays in soil, rock, and water. No matter the age or type of the building, whether it has a basement or not, radon can seep inside. However, crawl spaces and basements are more likely to have high radon gas concentrations.

radon levels in different US cities home and basements

The second-leading cause of lung cancer after smoking is radon, which is a health risk. Approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths are attributed to radon each year in the US. For those who smoke and for those who have a family history of lung cancer, prolonged exposure to high levels of radon can increase their risk of developing lung cancer.

It’s critical to comprehend how radon enters the basement, the health effects of exposure, and the best ways to stop it from happening. This article’s goal is to offer a thorough overview of radon in basements, covering its causes, signs, symptoms, methods of prevention, and mitigation techniques to ensure a healthy living environment. Homeowners can take proactive measures to safeguard themselves and their families from the negative effects of radon exposure by being aware of the truth about radon in basements.

What Is Radon

The radioactive decay of uranium in soil, rocks, and water results in the formation of radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas. The gas can enter structures through openings and cracks in the foundation, walls, and floors. It has no color, smell, or taste. If the basement or crawl space isn’t properly ventilated, radon gas can build up there and reach dangerous levels.

The lung’s lining cells may become harmed when radon gas is inhaled. Lung cancer may develop as a result of this harm over time. According to estimates, radon causes about 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the US, ranking second only to smoking as a cause of the disease.

Testing for radon levels in the home is essential because radon poses a health risk. At least every two years, homeowners should test their homes for radon, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). If high radon levels are found, homeowners should take action to solve the issue and lower the radon levels in the house.

How Does Radon Enter the Basement

The natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rocks, and water results in the production of radon gas underground. Through cracks and openings in the walls, floors, and foundation, the gas can seep into a building’s foundation as it is released into the atmosphere and moves through the soil. These gaps are also present around drains, sump pumps, and pipes. Additionally, radon can disperse in groundwater and get into a structure through the water supply.

Radon may also be drawn into the building as a result of the difference in pressure between the inside and outside. Because they typically have lower air pressure than the rest of the house, crawl spaces and basements are particularly affected by this. Consequently, radon can enter through any openings in the foundation, walls, and floors, and can accumulate to dangerous levels over time.

It is significant to remember that radon levels can differ significantly depending on elements like soil type, location, and building materials. To ensure that levels are within safe ranges, homeowners should perform routine radon tests. In order to protect themselves and their families, homeowners should take action to mitigate the issue if radon levels are found to be high.

Radon in Finished Vs Unfinished Basement

Radon gas concentrations in finished and unfinished basements can be very high. However, because they are typically more enclosed and may have less ventilation than unfinished basements, finished basements may pose more of a problem. The risk of radon exposure may rise as a result of a buildup of radon gas in the finished basement.

Testing for radon should be done in both finished and unfinished basements. A radon mitigation system can be installed to lower the radon levels if high levels are discovered. Finished vs. unfinished basements may require different mitigation techniques, depending on the specific situation. It is advised to work with a qualified radon mitigation business to accurately assess the situation and install a suitable mitigation system.

Health Effects of Radon Exposure

Radioactive particles created by the decay of radon gas can be inhaled into the lungs. These particles have the potential to harm the lung’s lining cells, which could eventually result in lung cancer. Smokers have a higher risk of developing lung cancer from radon exposure than do non-smokers. In fact, radon exposure and smoking together significantly raise the risk of lung cancer.

Radon Level Table

Radon LevelRisk of Lung Cancer
Less than 2 pCi/LLow
2 to 4 pCi/LModerate
4 to 10 pCi/LHigh
Greater than 10 pCi/LVery High

Coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath are some additional side effects of radon exposure on health. These symptoms might not show up for many years after being exposed to high radon levels. As a result, it’s critical to lower radon levels in homes in order to safeguard residents’ health.

How To Test For Radon in Basement

Any type of building can contain the radioactive gas radon, so it’s crucial to test your home for it, especially if it has a basement or crawl space. It’s easy to test your home for radon, and you can do it yourself or hire a professional to do it for you.

Radon tests come in two varieties: short-term tests and long-term tests. Long-term tests are typically conducted for longer than 90 days, whereas short-term tests are typically conducted for two to seven days. While long-term tests give a more accurate picture of the typical radon levels in your home, short-term tests are a good way to quickly determine if you have a radon problem in your house.

Short Term Test

You must place a short-term test kit in your home’s lowest livable level in order to test for radon there. If you don’t have a basement, you could do this on the first floor of your home. It is crucial to carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions because they may change depending on the type of test kit you buy.

Long Term Test

A device that has been left in your home for more than 90 days is typically used for long-term tests. Given that radon levels can change over time, this kind of test gives a more accurate picture of the typical radon levels in your home. Additionally more expensive than short-term tests are long-term tests.

You can get in touch with a licensed radon measurement professional if you’d rather hire a professional to test for radon in your house. These experts can give you a thorough report on the radon levels in your home and test for radon using specialized equipment.

In conclusion, radon testing in your basement is an easy procedure that can be carried out by using a test kit or by hiring a specialist. Regular radon testing is necessary because high radon levels can pose a health risk, especially if you have a basement or crawl space.

Radon Mitigation System

Systems for reducing radon can also use other techniques, like installing a ventilation system and caulking holes and cracks in the walls and foundation. Depending on the type of system required and the size of the home, radon mitigation systems can range in price. To ensure that the mitigation system is installed correctly, it is crucial to hire a qualified professional.

To guarantee that the radon mitigation system continues to successfully lower the radon levels in the home, routine maintenance and monitoring are also crucial. After installing a mitigation system, it is advised to retest for radon levels to make sure the system is operating properly and successfully lowering radon levels.

Do It Yourself Radon Mitigation System

You can install a radon mitigation system by yourself, but you should proceed carefully and adhere to the instructions. To find out whether the levels of radon are high enough to require mitigation, a radon test must be performed in the first place. Gather the required supplies and equipment, such as a radon fan, PVC pipes, couplings, and sealants, once you have determined that you need to install a radon mitigation system.

Finding the ideal location for the radon mitigation system is the next step. In order to do this, a PVC pipe is typically installed through the basement floor and into the ground below. A radon fan is then connected to the pipe to draw the gas out of the ground and vent it outside. Make sure the pipe is properly sealed and that there are no leaks that might let radon gas get back into your house.

When installing a radon mitigation system, electrical safety must also be taken into account. To the radon fan, electrical wires must be run, and the system must be properly grounded. It is advised that you hire a specialist to help with the installation if you are uncomfortable working with electrical systems.

Overall, while DIY radon mitigation is possible, it is advised that you seek professional advice if you have any questions about any part of the procedure. An expert can ensure that your radon mitigation system is installed correctly and reduces the levels of radon in your home in an efficient manner.

Hiring Professional Radon Mitigation Company

For many homeowners, working with a professional business for radon mitigation is the best option. An experienced, well-equipped, and knowledgeable radon mitigation company can install a radon mitigation system that is both efficient and secure.

Research is the first step in selecting a radon mitigation company that is qualified. Choose businesses that have either National Environmental Health Association or National Radon Safety Board certification. These accreditations show that the business has the education and experience required to mitigate radon in your home effectively.

Once you have a shortlist of potential businesses, it’s critical to check their online reviews and ask for references. You can also inquire about the company’s credentials and experience. Verify their credentials, including their insurance coverage, reputation, and licensing.

The best kind of system for your needs will be identified during the installation process after a thorough evaluation of your home by a professional radon mitigation company. When they have finished, they will install the system, which usually entails making a suction point beneath the basement floor and venting the radon gas outside.

The business will carry out a post-mitigation test after the system is installed to make sure the radon levels in your home have been significantly reduced. Additionally, they might offer ongoing testing and upkeep to guarantee that the system keeps functioning properly.

Overall, having the assurance that your home is secure from the risks of radon gas comes from working with a reputable radon mitigation company.

Steps to Prevent Radon Entering in Basement

A radioactive gas called radon can enter homes, particularly through basements. It’s crucial to take precautions to stop radon from entering your home because prolonged exposure to high levels of radon can cause lung cancer. Here are some recommendations for radon mitigation in basements:

  1. Seal Cracks and Gaps: Fill in any openings or cracks in the basement’s foundation, floors, and walls. To seal these gaps, particularly those near pipes, drains, and sump pumps, use caulk or sealant. To stop radon from seeping in, make sure the windows and doors to the basement are tightly sealed.
  2. Improve Ventilation: Radon levels can be decreased in your basement by improving ventilation. Open the basement’s windows and doors to let fresh air in. By drawing in fresh air and exhausting stale air outside, installing a ventilation fan can also help lower radon levels.
  3. Use a Radon Mitigation System: If radon levels are high, consider using a radon mitigation system to reduce the amount of radon in your home. A professional radon mitigation company can install a system that draws radon from the soil beneath your home and vents it outside. There are also do-it-yourself kits available if you feel confident in your skills.
  4. Monitor Radon Levels: In order to make sure that the levels of radon are within acceptable ranges, it is crucial to routinely test your home. An expert can test your home for radon or you can buy a radon test kit from a hardware store. Immediately take action to reduce the issue if high levels are found.

By taking these preventative measures, you can help reduce the risk of exposure to radon in your home and protect your health and the health of your loved ones.


To sum up, radon is a radioactive gas that can result in lung cancer and is present in all types of structures. Through gaps and cracks in the foundation, walls, and floors, radon can enter a structure. It’s critical to test your home for radon because lung cancer can be brought on by prolonged exposure to high levels of radon. A radon mitigation system can be installed to lower the radon levels if high levels are discovered. It’s crucial to take precautions against radon entry into your home, including caulking cracks and openings and enhancing basement ventilation. Understanding the risks and taking the appropriate precautions are necessary to protect you and your family from radon exposure.


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