Winter is here. During the winter months it is normal to spend more time in your home to avoid things like driving in the snow, ice, freezing temperatures, etc. But there may be some other dangers that come along with winter. Radon levels in homes tend to be higher during the winter. Why? Lets dive in.
What is Radon & Why is it a Concern?
First, let’s quickly cover what radon is and where it comes from. This is important to understand how radon is measured and why the weather can affect it. Radon is a radioactive gas that is produced when uranium in soil decays. When released outside, it is not a concern to your health. However, when it enters your home through the pores and cracks in your foundation, you begin to breathe it in. Long term exposure can begin to damage the DNA in your lungs. This is the reason that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.
Why is Radon More Of A Concern In Winter
During the winter months, a few things can happen that may cause radon levels inside your home to increase.
- Frozen and snow covered ground means less radon can escape into the air outside your home. This blanket effect traps the radon in the soil which can lead to higher concentrations being pulled into your home.
- Warm air within the house rises and escapes to the colder air outside. To equalize the air pressure, homes tend to pull more air from the soil in through the cracks in the concrete, plumbing, drains, crawlspaces etc. This is is called the stack effect.
- Closed house conditions – we tend to spend more time in the house with all the windows closed. Keep in mind that opening the windows during cold weather can increase what is called stack effect.
Why is this a concern and what can be done?
Obviously anytime we may exposed to high radon levels in our home, this is a concern. What can be worrisome is that if you tested our home in the summer and had low levels, that doesn’t always mean they are low in the winter.
The main thing that you should do is make sure you test your home in different times of the year to ensure a low average of radon levels. We generally recommend testing every 2 years. First maybe you test in the summer then 2 years later test in the winter. Of course it is important to understand how radon is measured and what action levels are. Learn more about that here.
To request a test, fill out the form on this page or call our experts at 801-871-0715.