Many people are aware that the winter is a more dangerous time of year for potential carbon monoxide poisoning. This is because people tend to shut up their homes with little ventilation, relying on furnaces that, if not properly maintained, could put carbon monoxide into the home’s environment.
However, not as many people are familiar with radon and its harmful effects, even though radon actually kills significantly more people each year than carbon monoxide. A study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency indicates radon is the nation’s second-leading cause of lung cancer, resulting in 22,000 deaths per year.
As with carbon monoxide, radon becomes more dangerous in the winter months. Here’s what you should know and why you should focus on radon testing and mitigation in Des Moines, IA this winter.
What you should know about radon
Radon is a natural element that commonly occurs in air and water, and there is no risk associated with radon found in those locations. However, if radon comes up through the soil into your home, that’s when it can be more harmful. It can enter through cracks in flooring or foundations, which means higher levels of radon tend to be found in the basement (or the first floor, if you do not have a basement). This is regardless of the age of your home—certain areas in particular are prone to higher levels of radon, meaning you need to take the proper precautions to protect yourself and ensure your radon levels are within normal range.
The best way to become aware of a radon problem and then begin taking steps to mitigate its potential damage is to have a radon inspection performed on your home. Many home inspectors have actually added these services onto their pre-sale home inspection services, as consumers become more aware of the potential hazards of radon.
However, it’s not just residential homes that can have radon exposure—any other type of building can also be at risk for high levels of radon, including offices, stores, schools, hospitals and more.
Fortunately, there are several testing methods you can employ to determine the radon levels in your home or building. You can purchase charcoal-based radon testing kits that will provide results after a few days. These are generally inexpensive, but may require you to mail them in for a lab reading. Long-term test kits are also available, and will collect information over the course of three to six months. These will be a little bit more expensive than those short-term testing kits.
If you have elevated levels of radon, there are methods that can be implemented to reduce them to acceptable conditions. For example, a soil suction system can be installed, with a small fan that takes air from under the home and pushes the radon gas up through an exterior pipe. This can cost anywhere from $800 to $3,000.
For more information about radon testing and mitigation in Des Moines, IA, we encourage you to contact the experts at Sir Build-a-Lot today.