Radon is a radioactive gas that is the second most common cause of lung cancer in the United States. It is odorless and tasteless but may be present in soil, groundwater, building materials, water or homes and businesses. Radon services help measure, detect and remove radon gas to prevent inhalation and future health issues.
One of the most common radon services is the radon test. The two tests usually performed use either a passive testing device or an active testing device. The passive testing device does not require power and typically involves a charcoal canister being placed in an area suspected having high levels of radon for 48 to 96 hours. The canister is then sent to a laboratory for radon measurement.
Active testing devices require a power source and measure the air quality continuously. This test can provide a graphical output of the radon levels over a given time period. Since radon is more often found in groundwater or soil, the tests are normally performed on the bottom level of the structure to capture the largest possible radon detection.
If the radon levels in the structure are higher than 4.0 pCi/L, then actions should be taken to reduce the amount of radon present to safer levels. Radon services such as radon mitigation can be used. Radon mitigation is the process of reducing the amount of radon seeping into a structure. Sealing the structure's concrete slab is one way to do this.
Other services used in radon removal are employing active soil depressurization (ASD) and mechanical ventilation (MV). Active soil depressurization involves making drywall airtight then removing the contaminated air using a blower. This prevents the radon in the soil beneath a structure from contaminating the building. Mechanical ventilation works in a similar manner by having fans continually pull the air from areas such as crawl spaces and basements and vent it outside.
For more severe radon contamination, additional radon services are needed. A radon abatement specialist should be hired to ensure all areas of contamination are addressed. The specialist will use radon testing devices to determine the level of radon present and do a thorough search of the structure to find areas where radon contamination has occurred. The specialist may use active soil depressurization and mechanical ventilation in addition to possible structural changes to the building. This may include adding additional heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) units and installing capped pipes to prevent further contamination.