Radon gas is a colourless and odourless radioactive gas caused by the decay of trace amounts of the element radium in the soil. Radon gas is a proven carcinogen, and the Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that perhaps as many as 1 in 15 American homes may have dangerous concentrations of radon gas. Because radon gas comes from the ground, basements and areas over crawlspaces are the most common areas to have dangerously high levels of radon gas. There are some common sense things that can be done to alleviate radon gas in your house, but it may be necessary to call on professional help as well.
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Test for radon gas to see if you have a problem. Do-it-yourself kits are available, or you can work with a contractor who specialises in radon alleviation.
Patch cracks in the floor and walls of your basement. Radon enters your home through cracks in the floors and walls and around junctions with pipes. Eliminating these openings can help reduce the influx of radon gas. Caulks or expanding foam sealants placed in these cracks and joints will help reduce the flow of radon gas. This is not a cure-all solution however. New cracks can develop as houses settle, and it can be difficult to get every possible source sealed.
Applying a waterproof sealant to the interior walls of the basement can help reduce the influx of radon gas. As in Step 2, this can help but should not be considered a cure-all solution.
Ventilate frequently. If possible, ventilate the basement when you're using it to reduce the concentration of radon gas by opening doors or windows. Depending on your basement design, this may be difficult or impossible, however, and this may put more stress on your heating and cooling systems.
Work with a radon reduction contractor to come up with a solution. Older houses can be fitted with active pressurisation and ventilation systems that keep out or force out radon gas. A certified contractor with experience in radon removal and prevention can help you make a decision of the best method to use to achieve your goal of a radon-free home.
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