You’ve heard about the dangers of radon, that it comes from the ground and causes serious health conditions when it builds up in your home. But perhaps you may be wondering how it can harm you when it’s down in the crawl space where no one in your family ever goes. On the rare occasion when someone goes down there, it’s never for very long. After all, it’s not a part of your living space and there’s a floor separating it from the rest of your home.
While the floor provides some resistance to free airflow, it’s not airtight. The crawl space and your living space are connected by holes in the floor that allow electrical cables, plumbing, and ducts into your walls or directly into living spaces. Radon in your home can build up to unhealthy levels particularly when windows and doors are shut tight to keep out the cold of winter. When you heat your home, the warm air rises which draws in air from the crawl space. Use of exhaust fans also draws in air from the crawl space.
Radon isn’t just a winter problem. During the hot summer months when you rely on air conditioning for cooling, your home is once again sealed off from the outside. Radon comes from the natural decay of uranium and permeates the soil. This process continues regardless of the seasons. When there is little fresh air coming in from the outside, the radon concentration builds up. It enters into your crawl space from the soil and cracks in the walls.
How do you protect yourself from radon? Detection is an important first step. Radon is colorless and odorless, so testing is the only way you can detect it. Test your home during the winter and summer seasons when there is little ventilation because of the outside cold or heat. Finally, get a crawlspace vapor barrier installed to inhibit radon migration. A crawl space vapor barrier also keeps out pests as well as moisture that causes mold and wood rot. If you have any questions on this, be sure to contact us.