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Do Crawl Spaces Have Radon? (And Is Testing Necessary?)

Do Crawl Spaces Have Radon? (And Is Testing Necessary?)
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Prospective homeowners have probably heard of radon protocols before purchasing their dream house. These safeguards are a particular concern for those who are considering a basement or crawl space in their future home.

So, do crawl spaces have radon? If so, what effects can it have on home occupants, and what’s the best way to address the situation?

Read on to learn more about the effects of radon and how to manage crawl spaces.

What Is Radon?

Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the overtime breakdown of rocks that contain traces of uranium, which is a radioactive metal.

When these rocks disintegrate to become soil, the present uranium element breaks down to form radium, which then decays to release radon gas.

In other words, radon is found in the ground where houses and other establishments are built.

Do Crawl Spaces Have Radon?

Unfortunately, they do. Crawl spaces and basements are built closer to the ground where there are high levels of radon.

Moreso, crawl spaces are directly exposed to it because of the dirt floor beneath them, trapping the radioactive gas within its confinement.

The composition of construction materials utilized in building crawl spaces may also emit radon gas, though usually at low levels.

What Are the Effects of Radon?

Radon is a carcinogen that discharges radioactive particles contaminating the atmosphere. It’s an odorless and invisible gas,

One is at risk of radiation when surrounded by high levels of radon gas in the air, which can be extremely risky.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), overexposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Even more at risk are those who smoke while exposed to radon.

Radon accumulated in indoor spaces has a high concentration, which prevalently causes health hazards to occupants. Radon exposure is also high in places where it naturally occurs, such as caves, mines, and bodies of water.

Effects of Radon in Crawl Spaces

Crawl spaces are conveniently designed to access utility systems, but they can also be disadvantageous to home dwellers.

One such disadvantage is the direct exposure of crawl spaces to radon because of the ground beneath them.

Without a proper ventilation system, radon can build up to hazardous levels in a crawl space. Moreover, poorly-ventilated crawl spaces can breed molds, fungi, and other pests that are unwelcome at any home.

A combination of these two health hazards will deem your house a toxic place to live in if not managed immediately.

Effects of Radon in Your Home

Radon can still seep into your home despite you not being physically present in a crawl space.

How exactly does this happen? In this case, any unintentional opening or gaps in your first floor can allow radon gas from below to come through.

Even the pipeworks connected from your crawl space to the rest of your house can emit radon gas from beneath. Radon gas can also contaminate your water supply.

Because of these health hazards, it’s crucial to comply with radon protocols by having radon tests and enlisting professional help.

Do I Need a Radon Test If I Have a Crawl Space?

The answer is a definite yes, especially if you live in a house with a crawl space. If you’re a buyer, seller, or builder, radon testing should be a priority before proceeding with any transactions.

Tests will help you inspect the level of radon present not only in your crawl space but also in your entire home. This is to check if your space needs further protection against radon.

Radon Tests

To run radon tests, you can resort to professional help or do it yourself. Do note that both options have their advantages and disadvantages.

Although expensive, professional radon testers will provide expert advice, solutions, and accurate tests. Prevention is better than cure, as they say. So, investing in a professional service can give you long-term benefits for your home.

On the other hand, home test kits are inexpensive and offer convenience to self-testers. If you’re not well-prepared to do this, however, you could risk inaccuracy and become clueless about what to do next.

Radon Mitigation

There are various mitigation techniques that can help reduce radon levels. The right methods for your situation will be determined by your home evaluation.

Expert mitigators will offer you a number of solutions, including:

  1. Crawl space encapsulation using a vapor barrier to seal the space.
  2. Sealing cracks and openings in your basement or crawl spaces.
  3. Room pressurization using a type of fan to blow air from above, enough to create pressure preventing radon to seep into your home.
  4. Installing proper ventilation in crawl spaces to air out radon away from your home.

When Do You Need Radon Mitigation?

EPA recommends radon mitigation for radon levels beginning at 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) and higher.

If radon levels at home start below 4 pCi/L, necessary steps should still be taken in order to reduce potential health risks.

Final Thoughts

So, do crawl spaces have radon gas? The answer is yes. This is because the ground where houses are standing has high levels of radon, especially accumulating in the crawl space air.

The radiation found in radon gas can pose serious health hazards. Therefore, it’s vital to call professional radon testers and mitigators to help you mitigate the situation.

If you’re on a tight budget, you can opt for a self-test kit, but you might run the risk of inaccurate readings. On that account, we recommend resorting to professionals.

Stay safe!

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