What Are Unhealthy Levels Of Radon?

Why is radon inspection necessary for your home?

A common question, “How often should radon testing be done?” Conducting a radon test is the first step in understanding how much risk you have for radon exposure. If you have not yet tested your home for radon and live in or around St. Louis, MO, you should definitely schedule a radon inspection to protect yourself and your family. However, radon levels vary from season to season and are typically higher when we heat our homes artificially. It is important to understand the full picture of radon levels in your home all year round so that you can take necessary steps to reduce it.

Why should you test for radon?

Radon is a proven carcinogen and the main cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. This naturally occurring radioactive gas sneaks into buildings through tiny breaches in foundation or pipes and is produced by the decay of uranium naturally found in the soil. The only method to determine your risk of exposure is to get a radon inspection or test.

When exposed to it, radioactive radon particles damage your lungs. Its radioactive qualities can cause lung cells to break down or mutate, which can lead to cancer. With the right testing and mitigation in homes and businesses, radon exposure can be avoided.

When are the radon levels highest?

The colder months, sometimes known as the heating season, typically have the greatest radon levels. Seasonal variations, air pressure, and annual rainfall all have a natural impact on radon levels. However, because of the variations in pressure placed on the house, temperature changes have the biggest influence on interior radon levels.

Reasons for unhealthy levels of radon:

1. Varying weather conditions:

The quality of the air inside your home may be affected by the changing weather conditions. A change in atmospheric pressure can lead to a variety of weather patterns. This may have an effect on the air pressure in the soil as well, pushing soil gasses—like radon—up from the soil under and around the home’s foundation. Such circumstances could make it more likely for radon and other soil gasses to reach your home.

2. Snow barrier:

Snow may affect the amount of radon in your home, even if it has no effect on your normal activities. Snow on the ground near your home can result in a layer of water or ice on top of the soil, acting as a barrier and trapping radon underneath. It is possible that radon can be drawn into the soil beneath your home. Cracks and openings in the foundation are frequently the path of least resistance when a layer of snow and ice is covering your property.

3. Thermal/chimney effect:

The thermal stack effect is a fundamental concept in the field of building science. This phenomenon shows how the natural laws of pressure cause air to circulate both inside and outside the house. Because cold air is denser than warm air, it falls and warm air rises. 

Warm interior air rises naturally when a house or structure is heated in the winter. Warm air rises because it is less dense than cold air and leaves your home through the roof, vents, or other openings on the top. Similar to a hot air balloon, cold air is drawn in from below as warm air exits. The cooler air is drawn in from the outside and from below the foundation due to the difference in pressure, which also produces a vacuum-like effect.

Due to the thermal stack effect, dangerous soil gas, such as radioactive radon, can enter your homes and structures faster during the colder months making it an ideal reason to get a radon inspection more than once a year.

This is the reason why radon levels are nearly always higher in the winter. Simply said, in the winter, outdoor air is drawn into the residence more quickly than in the summer. Because of this, the risk of being exposed to higher radon levels in your house increases during the colder winter months.

4. Sealed homes:

Many of us are used to opening our windows at night during the summer to help cool down our homes. You can lessen the concentration of radon gas in your house by keeping your windows open. Additionally, radon gas in your house may grow more concentrated if you keep your windows sealed during the winter, increasing unhealthy levels of radon.

If you had a mitigation system installed during the summer, test it again during the winter to ensure that it will keep you safe when the temperature becomes colder. It’s possible that elevated radon levels still exist in your home or structure if your mitigation system was created at a lower pressure level during the warmer months. EnviroTech Radon solutions can help you from the radon test to the radon mitigation installation, so please call us at (636) 395-2701 if you have any questions.


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