Posts Tagged ‘north carolina radon’
Radon in Raleigh: What You Should Know About Radon Gas Risks
Raleigh, North Carolina is a historic city with a modern edge. Founded in 1792, Raleigh is North Carolina’s state capital. It began to urbanize in the early nineteenth century, and it survived the Civil War relatively unscathed. The city of Raleigh today is a modern, ethnically diverse and rapidly expanding city with strong business and research sectors. However, many Raleigh residents are completely unaware of a potentially deadly problem in both the business and residential areas of the city — radon gas contamination.
What is Radon Gas and why is Radon Abatement Necessary?
Radon is a gas that rises out of the ground and can sometimes penetrate floor slabs and foundation walls, potentially becoming trapped inside and negatively affecting the air quality in a home. Radon is a byproduct of the decay of naturally occurring radioactive uranium; prolonged exposure to elevated levels of the gas can cause serious respiratory problems, up to and including lung cancer.
Radon can build up to dangerous levels in any house, but newer, more energy efficient homes are at especially high risk. Because air leakage means heat leakage, better insulated modern homes with air barriers and detailing that minimizes drafts have fewer air changes per hour than older, leakier houses. The details that minimize air leakage out of the house can also help to prevent air leakage into the house, which means that once radon gas enters, it will take longer to clear. It is important to test newer homes for radon gas regularly, especially if they are in a high risk area like that in and around Raleigh.
What is Radon Abatement?
Since radon diffuses through porous concrete slabs and foundation walls, sealing the inside surfaces of the walls can slow it down. However, the most effective way to prevent radon from entering a home is to relieve the pressure that pushes the gas from the soil, through the walls and into the air supply. SWAT Environmental’s experts can accomplish this through the installation of a specialized ventilation or pressurization system.
Do Many Homes in Raleigh Require Radon Abatement?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) places Raleigh in a zone two area for radon, which means it is at a moderately elevated radon gas risk. The average indoor level of radon in Raleigh is between 2.0 and 4.0 pCi/L. Levels over 4.0 pCi/L require radon abatement, and the EPA recommends that homeowners with radon levels between 2.0 and 4.0 pCi/L consider radon abatement. Only levels below 2.0 pCi/L are considered completely safe.
Raleigh contains historic neighborhoods, brand new residential developments and everything in between. Older houses were not constructed with radon abatement in mind. Houses that are no longer new may have cracked and settled enough to let radon past the safeguards that were meant to keep it out. Very new houses are closer than ever to airtight and may not give radon enough of an opportunity to escape through natural ventilation. Therefore, no matter what the age of your home, you should monitor its radon levels closely through regular testing.
- Raleigh, NC, 27601 USA
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