Whether you are planning to shift into a new house or staying on in your old house, it is more than likely that you have not really considered the aspect of radon. For the most part, our concerns are primarily environmental in nature, along with other choices like the number of bedrooms, the size of your kitchen, the requirement for a basement and so on.
Environment concerns are mainly things that we can see with our own eyes such as nearby rubbish and polluting elements that we should be concerned about. But one of the most dangerous aspects is a colourless and odourless gas called radon. And since it cannot be detected or seen by natural means, identifying it as a problem becomes all the more difficult in the bargain. It pretty much fits the textbook definition of a silent killer and this is precisely why before anything else is done or planned, the aspect of awareness is key. This is something you cannot afford to forget.
What is radon?
It is a radioactive gas that comes from the soil. After smoking, it is the second-leading cause of lung cancer worldwide. Studies have shown that 21,000 people die every single year from exposure to the gas. Unfortunately, this is not enough for some people to take the threat of this gas seriously enough.
Since the gas itself is produced due to the breakdown of uranium in the soil, those particles get released from the soil and into the atmosphere, quickly beginning to circulate in the air we breathe. This is when things really get alarming. Once they are deposited in our lungs, the radiation in these particles tends to alter cell DNA, just like increased exposure to radiation leads to cancer due to the mutation in the genetic makeup of our cells. This increases your chances of getting lung cancer in the future.
How it affects your building
The first thing that we need to do is clear all misconceptions about radon. This is simply because misconceptions can turn out to be a lot more dangerous in the long run, leading you to ignore all problems until it is too late to do anything. This has happened to more than enough people out there and there is no need to add your name to the list.
One of the most common misconceptions is that radon can only enter a building that has basements. There are also those who swear that it cannot enter a building through water, but this has been proven to be false, even though the occurrence of this is rare. It can enter both old and new buildings alike. The most common sources of infiltration are unsealed joints, open floor drains, floor and wall cracks, amongst many others.
Most importantly, the differences in air pressure when it comes to the interior of a building and the soil surrounding it is also a very important factor in radon entry. In the most dangerous scenario, the house can almost act as a vacuum sucking in all the surrounding radon gas from the soil, due to the air pressure of the house being lower.
How to make your home radon-resistant
Even though a bleak picture has been painted in your mind all this while, rest assured that all is not lost just yet. You and your builder can work together to make your home space radon-resistant. All it takes is a small fee from your end and the builder will take the following four steps:-
- The installation of a layer of clean granite below the flooring system
- Polyethylene sheeting on top of the layer
- A gas-tight venting pipe from the building to the roof through the gravel layer.
- The complete sealing and caulking of the foundation
The best part is that you don’t even have to hire a separate architect or contractor as all the above steps will be familiar to your builder.
Author Bio : Martin Freeman is the Co-founder and Managing Director of PropertECO, a company that offers a wide range of services that focus on making buildings stable, environmentally friendly and compliant to safety standards.