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Radon Part III – When Radon Hits Home

radon at home; radon gas

In my recent blogs, I have written in some detail about radon and how it can affect your health.  But just recently, I had a call from my brother who was concerned about the possibility of radon in his home.  When talking with a next door neighbor who was selling his home, he discovered that the neighbor had elevated levels of radon.  Naturally, my brother was curious about his own home and called for my expertise.

The radon levels for a residential property should be under 4.0 pCi/L.  Picture both my brother’s and my surprise when we tested his home and discovered that it was between 26 and 27 pCi/L!!  Yikes!!

Needless to say, my brother called a professional to install a mitigation system.  A mitigation system usually involves drilling a hole through the basement floor and installing a perforated pipe which has a fan continuously sucking the radon gas from the ground before it has a chance to enter into the living space.  The gas travels through a pipe that exhausts it outdoors where the gas mixes with ambient air and no longer poses as a safety hazard.

It was interesting to note that my brother’s neighbors on each side of his house had radon levels measuring roughly 10 pCi/L, but his home had an elevated level of 27 pCi/L.  There are several possible explanations for this.  One is that there could have been a larger store of uranium directly underneath my brother’s home.  Another explanation could be that my brother had recently installed new windows and extensive insulation; this worked at making his home more airtight and therefore made it more difficult for radon gas to escape.

Regardless of the reason, my brother is feeling much better about his situation.  After having a mitigation system installed in his home, I had the chance to retest his property.  The radon level had dropped from 27 pCi/L to  0.9 pCi/L.  Significantly better and much safer.

Ian Cull

Ian Cull is a nationally recognized expert in the field of indoor air quality. He is the Chief Science Officer of Indoor Science, a company he started in 2004. He speaks around the world on air quality topics and is a training provider of the Indoor Air Quality Association. Mr. Cull is a Licensed Professional Engineer (PE) and Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH). His degree is in Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign. Mr. Cull has developed 50 air quality related courses for the IAQA University and is the author of the book, “Fundamentals of Mold Remediation”. In his words… “Besides being passionate about indoor air quality, I enjoy cycling, music, the Chicago Bulls, and having fun with my three kids.”