Radon is a radioactive gas. It comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up.
Most people do radon testing when they’re buying a home. That’s a good first step. Testing by a licensed professional will let you know before you close whether the air is clear or if mitigation is necessary.
But radon isn’t a single-family-home issue. It can permeate condominiums, apartment buildings and other multi-unit residential properties as well. Property managers and owners can also have their properties tested for radon.
The EPA recommends that homes be tested every two years to make sure radon levels aren’t rising above 4 pCi/L.
In addition, if your water comes from an underground source such as a well, your water also may contain radon, according to the EPA.
Office buildings, warehouses, churches and schools also are vulnerable to radon penetration. Many of us spend 8 to 12 hours a day inside one of these buildings.
If you own or manage any commercial property, the EPA recommends that you test them every two years or so to make sure radon levels aren’t creeping up into danger zones.
Although it’s not required in the state of Nebraska, if you’re building a new home in a Level 1 radon zone, it’s a good idea to build a passive radon mitigation system into the home.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has posted instructions on how to build a soil gas ventilation system into your home. In addition, the EPA has guidelines for radon-resistant construction techniques.