Radon mitigation is basically any method used to lower radon concentrations in underground water sources, or radon in the living breathing zones of already occupied buildings. Radon is an important contributor to airborne radioactivity. It occurs naturally in the earth’s crust and is present in soil, rocks, and coal. The natural concentration of radon is approximately 0.3 milligrams per square inch, although this varies considerably depending on where you live. If radon concentration in your home exceeds the maximum concentration of 0.3 milligrams per square inch, then you will need to invest in a radon mitigation system to remedy the problem.
Most homes built today have some type of passive soil depressurization (SAD) system in place. This basically involves placing a layer of soil directly under the foundation. As soil is lowered into the foundation, it retains radon content. Basements that are located below the surface have higher levels of radon because this is where the soil is usually located. Radon gases can easily escape from the home, even during times of excavation. This is why radon mitigation systems are so very important.
If you are considering purchasing a home or a piece of property and are unsure whether or not there is a radon mitigation system in place, it is best to consult with a home inspector or a licensed professional to determine if there is an issue. You can also ask your local licensing board to find out if any complaints have been lodged against any company in your area. If you feel comfortable with your decision and have determined that a radon mitigation system is needed in your home, you can search for a licensed contractor in your area to install the system. Be sure to find a licensed and insured contractor that has past experience installing the system.
A radon mitigation systems system works by two main functions; one to decrease radon levels and the other to vent the home away from the basement. One of the easiest ways to vent the home away from the basement is by opening up all windows and doors in the house. This allows natural ventilation to get to all areas of the house, including the basement. If the foundation of the home has been built with slabs that have exposed radon, these need to be sealed to keep elevated radon levels from accumulating.
Indoor humidity can also contribute to radon levels being present in the home. Many people underestimate just how much water and humid air can actually penetrate into the home from the outside. Over time, the amount of humidity can become high enough to make radon levels in the air over time become extremely dangerous. For this reason, installing a new air conditioner that has built-in mechanical ventilation will greatly improve the indoor humidity levels in a home. Mechanical ventilation includes ductwork, but it is best to use a fan that can run from the outside of the house to the inside of the home.
Other ways to help radon mitigation include making sure that the exterior of houses are well-maintained. This can be achieved by painting or staining the outside of houses on a regular basis. It can also mean that there are cracks between the siding and the house, especially in areas of high winds or rain. In these conditions, it would be wise to have the house sealed to avoid infiltration of air conditioners, heaters, and other forms of artificial heat. Finally, it may also be a good idea to regularly clean the grout between floors and walls in homes in areas prone to radon contamination.