Radon Myths Debunked

Radon gas icon

Many people lack awareness of what radon is, how it can enter our homes and how to mitigate the threat. And it’s not just homeowners who have faulty information about this dangerous gas found in our soil – builders, contractors, realtors, and others also hold problematic misconceptions.

Our radon mitigation experts are here to clear the air on some of the most common radon myths. Which of these have you heard?

Myth 1: Radon Isn’t Dangerous

In addition to the EPA, the Center for Disease Control, American Lung Association, and American Medical Association all agree that radon has a harmful effect on human health. 

Although some scientists dispute the precise number of deaths due to radon, all major health organizations agree with estimates that radon causes thousands of preventable lung cancer deaths every year. This is especially true among smokers since the risk to smokers is much greater than to non-smokers.

Myth 2: Radon Is Only An Issue In Certain Kinds Of Homes

Another myth is that only tight houses and houses with basements are susceptible to radon. The reality: All homes – old, new, drafty insulated, basement or no basement – can have radon problems. 

Why is this? Radon comes from the breakdown of uranium in the soil. If a house sits on soil, then it has the potential for radon infiltration.

Many homeowners also assume that radon is not an issue in new construction homes. After all, it’s the builder’s responsibility to test radon levels and includes the proper mitigation solutions, right? Not necessarily – because, as all pros know, building codes vary vastly from state to state.

In fact, only 9 states (California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington) have building codes that require radon-resistant new construction (RRNC). 

It’s not uncommon for builders to forgo proper radon testing and mitigation, viewing it as an added cost. Unless local building codes require RRNC, there’s no guarantee that new homes are properly protected.

Myth 3: Radon Is Only In The Basement

Its concentration is usually the highest in basements, simply because it emanates out of the soil through the basement. However, as your attic ventilation sucks the air out of your living area, that air needs to be refilled and basement air gets pulled into other living areas and can contaminate the whole house. The HVAC system also circulates the air when it runs. Therefore, there is no way to avoid pulling the basement air upstairs.

Myth 4: Once You Have A Radon Mitigation System, You Don’t Need To Test Again

Just like any appliance, radon mitigation systems will lose efficiency over time. The average lifespan of a radon fan is 5-10 years. If the system was not properly installed, the system can also be less effective.

On top of this, radon levels fluctuate seasonally, with higher levels during the winter months. Occupancy, or how residents live within the home, can also affect radon levels. With all of this in mind, it’s recommended to test a home’s radon levels every two years. 

All in all, education is the key to the fight against radon. People who don’t know or are misinformed about the risks of radon don’t do anything to prevent it; those who do know, test.

Myth 5: Never Trust A Short Term Test

While long-term testing is preferred, short-term tests can be used to decide whether to reduce a home’s high radon levels. 

 However, the closer the short-term testing result is to 4 pCi/L, the less certainty there is about whether the home’s year-round average is above or below that level. 

 Radon levels can change by the day, so the longer the test, the better idea you will have of your actual radon levels.

 However, don’t completely disregard your short-term test.

 Also, keep in mind that radon levels below 4 pCi/L still pose some risk and that radon levels can be reduced to 2 pCi/L or below in most homes.

Get Your Home Tested

Those are a few of the most famous radon myths debunked by the EPA.

Radon poisoning is a grave issue, and most people usually find out they have radon poisoning only after they’ve been diagnosed with lung cancer.

 If you’d like the peace of mind that comes with a radon test, give the team at Pine Breeze Radon Mitigation a call. The team of expert mitigators will perform a professional radon test, install a radon mitigation system and, if necessary, work with you to lower the radon levels in your home.