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Identifying and Solving Radon Gas

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

Many homeowners don't know much about the harmful and deadly effects of radon gas. Usually forming first in the basement but capable of traveling throughout a home, Sunshine State residents are susceptible to excessive levels. Follow the questions and answers to learn what it is and how to protect your Florida home and family.

What is radon gas?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas with radioactive properties. It is created from the natural breakdown of uranium in soils.

Where is radon found?

Radon can be found anywhere. Concentrations of radon depend on geological formations where uranium is present. It is estimated that in some areas of Florida, 50% of the homes have excessive levels of radon gas. Radon gas has been prominently reported in excess in South Florida.

How does it get inside the home?

As radon is a gas, it seeps up through the soil and normally enters a home through cracks and other holes in the foundation making the ground floor of a home the most dangerous if radon is present. It can also enter the home through well water. Once inside the home, the gas gets trapped and builds up. Four picocuries per liter of air (or 4pCi/L) or higher is considered unacceptable and must be lowered for safety.

Can a homeowner get rid of radon?

Yes. Radon can be eliminated from an existing home with a radon mitigation system. The system, which can be installed by a properly licensed contractor, can bring excessive radon levels down and prevent levels from rising in the future. Many new homes in high-radon areas use radon-resistant building techniques. First, test the home to determine if radon gas is present and in what amounts. Low-cost testing can easily be done by the homeowner with a radon-testing kit purchased from a local hardware store or online. A professional radon tester can also be hired before purchasing a home.

Where can I go for more information on radon in Florida?

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