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Do Crawl Spaces Have Radon? (Plus Tips to Prevent It)

Do Crawl Spaces Have Radon? (Plus Tips to Prevent It)

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Crawl spaces are often the most neglected part of the house. Many homeowners forget that they’re even there due to their out-of-sight, out-of-mind nature.

If this is you, you may be wondering: Do crawl spaces have radon?

Radon gas can easily get into a crawl space that isn’t sheltered from the soil beneath it. This odorless gas is a silent killer that’s one of the leading causes of lung cancer in the United States.

Therefore, all homeowners should have their crawl space tested for radon.

Read on to learn more about how radon gets into your crawl space and why that is a major concern. We’ve also included tips on how to protect your crawl space, and in turn, yourself and your family from this dangerous gas.

Does My Crawl Space Have Radon?

Radon can definitely seep into your crawl space.

Since your crawl space is in direct contact with the ground, the dirt underneath it can transmit significant quantities of radon gas into it.

This odorless gas moves through the dirt into the air in your crawl space. As a result, having radon leaking through the floorboards into your home is a real issue.

Why Is Radon a Problem?

So, is radon dangerous?

The answer to that question lies in the characteristics of radon.

Most soil types contain naturally decaying uranium. This decay process produces radon gas in the soil.

The radioactivity of radon is a severe health hazard. The danger is that inhaling radon gas can have a carcinogenic effect.

It puts you at a significantly higher risk of developing lung cancer. Additionally, radon is a silent killer since it can take years for any health issues to arise.

By the time you notice, it may be too late.

To put the dangers of radon into perspective, it’s estimated that radon inhalation is the cause of over 20,000 cancer deaths annually. As a result, radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer, topped only by smoking tobacco.

How Can You Stop Radon From Getting Into Your Crawl Space?

The issue of radon in crawl spaces is hardly new.

Don’t worry, there are several ways in which you can limit the quantity of radon that your crawl space contains.

Crawl Space Encapsulation

Crawl space encapsulation is probably the most effective method.

This process involves lining your crawl space with heavy-duty polyethylene.

This protective layer creates a buffer between your crawl space and the soil it’s built over. In turn, it stops the radon from seeping through.

An added perk of crawl space encapsulation is that it’s a great way of stopping mold and pests from infesting your crawl space. It creates a physical barrier that closes up any openings these pests can crawl through.

Additionally, it helps regulate the level of moisture in your crawl space. The golden rule here is that less moisture equals fewer pests.

The issue with encapsulation is that it can be quite expensive.

Equipping your crawl space with this protective measure can cost up to $10,000. This figure can vary quite a lot depending on the overall area you’re encapsulating

However, this is a small price to pay, considering the risks involved if you don’t do it.

Other Preventive Measures

If crawl space encapsulation simply isn’t an option, there are other measures to limit the radon levels in your home.

Here are some of them:

Good Ventilation

A good way to lower radon levels in your house is to improve airflow. You can do so by opening windows and using fans to generate a breeze.

However, you should note that this is only a temporary solution.

Close Off Any Cracks in Floors and Walls

Another protective measure is to seal off any cracks in your floors and walls with plaster or other suitable materials.

This measure mitigates the risk of radon in your crawl space seeping up into your living area.

Equip Your Home With Radon-Resistant Construction

This option is best reserved for those buying a new home. If this is the case, inquire about these features with your contractor.

For those with existing homes, these features may be more expensive than encapsulation.

Is Crawl Space Ventilation a Good Option?

While ventilating your crawl space will help improve the area’s airflow and prevent radon build-up, it can also have adverse effects.

Crawl space ventilation makes it difficult to regulate your crawl space’s moisture levels. Therefore, it can increase the risk of pest and mold infestations.

Do You Need a Radon Test if You Have a Crawl Space?

We highly advise that you test your crawl space for radon if you haven’t done so recently.

Testing is the only way to gauge the level of radon gas in your crawl space, and in turn, your home. The reason is that the human senses can’t detect radon due to its odorless nature.

When testing your crawl space for radon, you have two choices.

Your first option is to purchase a radon test kit online.

Are you not confident in the efficacy of such kits? Then, you can hire a professional to conduct the test for you.

To find people that offer this service, you should search for radon mitigation contractors in your area.

So, what should you do if the test results show that you have dangerously high radon levels in your home? Don’t panic, your radon mitigation contractor will recommend procedures that’ll help bring those levels down.

Once this is done, we recommend encapsulating your crawl space immediately.

Final Thoughts

Are you wondering if crawl spaces have radon?

The answer is that they definitely can. In fact, they often do because of their close proximity to the soil underneath your house.

Due to the severe health hazard that radon poses, you should test your crawl space for it.

Once you’ve ensured that the radon level in there is acceptable, we highly recommend that you encapsulate your crawl space immediately.

This may be expensive, but your safety and that of your loved ones are priceless!

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