When we think of an invisible threat lurking in the air, we probably either think viruses, mold or carbon monoxide (CO). However, there is one other pollutant just as dangerous that needs to be monitored when it comes to indoor air quality (IAQ): radon. How dangerous? According to the EPA, Radon is the number one leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, which is why any indoor air strategy needs to be able to monitor this dangerous intruder in the home.
Where Does Radon Come From?
Short answer? The soil. Long answer: it’s a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is created as natural occurring uranium in the earth decays. And its everywhere. However, when it gets released into the open air, it can dissipate and become relatively harmless. The problem comes when it can become super concentrated in enclosed spaces.
When radon rises up from the ground and seeps in through cracks in the infrastructure, that’s how it gets concentrated in a buildings. New buildings, old buildings, it doesn’t matter. Unless the structure is completely airtight, radon can accumulate in homes and reach dangerously high levels, posing serious health risks for those who are continually exposed to it.
It can come in through floor drains, sump pumps, foundations, floor cracks and even the tiny gaps around pipes. It can also enter the home because of the difference between indoor and outdoor air pressure.
And there is no such thing as a ‘radon-free’ area of the world. Yes, radon levels can vary from place to place, but it’s always going to be ‘more radon’ or ‘less radon,’ meaning a radon monitoring solution will always be needed.
Why Is It So Dangerous?
Because radon gas is radioactive, we’re breathing in radioactive particles when we breathe in radon. As a result, our lungs receive direct exposure to this radiation, effectively breaking apart DNA where it hits. This is how lung cancer develops. Our bodies use instructions in the DNA to heal itself, and when the DNA gets damaged, this can lead to faulty healing, which could ultimately lead to cancer.
Minimal exposure isn’t terrible, but the issue is that levels can get fairly high in homes at times, with the risk of cancer increasing with the radon levels. The radiation from radon is also capable of staying in the body for up to 25 years until cancer shows up.
Adding Health, Safety and Value with Radon Monitoring Solutions
While there are services that conduct regular radon testing in a home, a smart radon monitor as a part of a full-house IAQ system strategy provides significantly more value to the health and function of a home. Not only can many monitors on the market provide accurate and up-to-date readings once installed, but they can also integrate with other IAQ monitoring and control solutions to further automate air quality in a home. Having smart radon monitoring systems in place have also been shown to potentially increase the overall resale value of a home as consumers place greater importance on radon control.
All it requires is placing the device at the lowest level of the home to get the most accurate reading. Once radon levels have been determined, removing it is as simple as installing a ventilation system beneath the basement floor. The radon is picked up before it enters the house and redirected outside where its hazardous properties are greatly reduced.
These systems are designed to run constantly once installed, effectively solving the issue of radon in the home, however, being able to monitor radon levels will continue to be key to ensure the continued function of mitigation systems.