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Can I Have Radon In My Basement Even If It's Finished?

Thursday, March 3rd by Shannon Brelsford


Renovated Basement Space

Finished basements are a wonderful place to spend time with the family, but could there be a danger that you can't see?

 

Radon gas exists around us at all times--a naturally occurring, odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas, radon emanates up from the soil, passing barriers to find the open air, where it then dissipates harmlessly into the atmosphere. The trouble begins when the gas encounters a structure, such as your home. 

 

As radon rises through the soil, it works its way around and through impediments to its path, finding any gap or weakness and seeping through. When the gas encounters the walls and floors of your basement--finished or unfinished, it behaves the same and will work its way through the path of least resistance. Once inside of the home, however, the gas doesn’t have an easy way to escape and disperse. 

 

Why is this such an issue? Well, radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the USA. Without the ability to escape the confines of your home, the gas will continue to build up over time, but without any way to detect its presence. 

The Dangers Of Radon Gas

Radon in Elemental Table

Radon is a silent threat to your health, undetectable until symptoms arise.

Radon is formed deep underground when radioactive elements within the earth's crust such as radium, thorium, and uranium begin to break down and decompose. Normally, when rising out and into the open air, radon poses no threat to our health--but when trapped in a confined space without an easy way to dissipate, Radon becomes a definite danger. 

 

Over time, prolonged exposure to Radon can lead to a variety of troublesome symptoms and exacerbate or even cause respiratory illnesses.

 

Symptoms of Radon Exposure include:

 

  • Persistent coughing,
  • Hoarseness of voice,
  • Wheezing and shortness of breath,
  • Coughing up blood,
  • Chest pains,
  • Frequent infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia,
  • Loss of appetite,
  • Weight loss,
  • Persistent fatigue,
  • And more.

 

Of course, without testing, there’s no way to know for sure that Radon is present in the home, being totally undetectable with human senses. Often, the only way that a problem is noticed at all, is because of increasing negative effects on the health of the members of the household. 

 

Even as radon percolates around in your home, it has a very high decay rate, and when inhaled the gas breaks down into thousands of particulates that negatively impact the lining of the lungs and throat. It’s estimated by the EPA that up to 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States are attributed to prolonged exposure to Radon gas. Radon has been listed as the second leading cause of lung cancer within the US, and the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, with children and young teens being the most susceptible, as their cells divide at a faster rate during the developing years. 

How Common Is Radon In The Home?

Being a natural gas, radon is commonly found lingering in basements and crawl spaces, unable to find its way out into the atmosphere to disperse. It’s estimated that 1 in every 15 homes in the United States suffers from radon gas exposure. By that measure, it’s very common--making the need for widespread radon testing and mitigation so important. 

 

Regardless of whether a home’s basement is finished or unfinished, Radon will find its way inside. In recent years, new construction has been able to incorporate this knowledge into their building techniques. Radon-resistant construction includes a passive radon mitigation system within the structure of the home, however, it is still strongly recommended that the home be tested for high radon levels after the home has been occupied. 

 

Radon is measured in units known as “pCi/L”. By professional and environmental standards, the level of radon gas within the home should never surpass 4 pCi/L. At this level, mitigation should be performed, as well as repeat testing. 

Unfinished Basements VS Finished Basements 

don’t forget alt tag!

Finished or unfinished, it makes little difference--if there's a way in, radon will find it.

Though it may seem as though finishing your dark, dank basement could help to block radon gas from entering your home, finishing the space won't make much of a difference one way or another. Though it may be slightly harder for the gas to seep in, gaps and cracks will still exist and radon will still find its way inside. Sealing and adding proper ventilation may help to alleviate the problem somewhat, but proper testing and mitigation is the only way to be truly safe from radon gas exposure. 

 

If you’re looking to finish your basement, don’t be deterred by the presence of radon. Once mitigation occurs, the space can be safely used once more! 

How To Reduce Radon Levels In The Home

So, you’ve tested for radon and found that your home needs radon gas mitigation. What now? 

 

Being such a danger to our health, it’s not recommended that DIY-ers try to tackle the task of radon mitigation and removal. Radon mitigation specialists are rigorously, extensively trained to work around the radioactive carcinogen to be as safe as possible while redirecting the gas from within the home, out to where its dangers are neutralized. 

 

Upon hiring a radon mitigation contractor, the consultation will go over several points of interest, such as further testing, structural layout concerns, aesthetic options, cost, and warranties. With some radon mitigation systems proven to have a 99% success rate, your specialist will go over the best options for you and ensure that you’re well informed through each step of the process. 

Finding A Radon Mitigation Contractor Near You

Mitigation Contractor

Whether you're thinking of investing in a finished basement or not, testing for radon is always a good idea! Reach out to a local mitigation contractor near you!

Here at National Radon Defense, we are dedicated to protecting families from the dangers of radon gas. That’s why we’ve formed the nation's largest radon mitigation contracting network, to provide highly trained mitigation to homes and families across the country. 

 

Being a natural, radioactive gas, radon causes thousands of cases of cancer each year as it sneaks into our homes and workplaces. It’s recommended that your home be tested regularly for radon by a professional radon mitigation contractor to ensure that you, your family, and loved ones are safe and living in a healthy home—reach out today!

 

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