Do New Homes Have Higher Radon Levels?
Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the earth's crust. It is formed by the decay of uranium and radium in the soil and rocks. Radon can seep into homes and buildings through cracks and gaps in the foundation and walls, and exposure to high levels of radon can be a significant health hazard. Modern building practices can increase radon levels in buildings, which can lead to serious health risks.
One factor that can increase radon levels in buildings is the use of air-tight construction methods. Many modern buildings are designed to be air-tight to reduce energy consumption and improve indoor air quality. However, this can also trap radon gas inside the building, leading to higher levels of radon exposure for occupants. In addition, buildings that are tightly sealed may not have adequate ventilation, which can exacerbate the problem by trapping radon gas in the building.
Another way that radon levels can be increased is through the installation of sump pumps and basement waterproofing. For example a couple of new houses in Streetsboro, OH had sump pumps with exterior footer drains, and we have found the same thing in almost every new construction home that we go into. Anytime there is a sump pump without a sealed lid, radon comes through the drain tile and up into the home.
Finally, modern building practices can contribute to higher radon levels by creating negative air pressure inside the building. Negative air pressure occurs when there is a greater amount of air being expelled from the building than is being drawn in, which can cause radon gas to be drawn into the building from the surrounding soil. This can occur in buildings that have powerful exhaust fans or in buildings that are located in areas with high wind speeds.
In conclusion, modern building practices can increase radon levels in buildings, which can pose a serious health risk to occupants. To reduce the risk of radon exposure, it is important to take steps to minimize radon entry into the building and to ensure adequate ventilation and air flow. This can include sealing cracks and gaps in the foundation and walls, installing a radon mitigation system, or using ventilation systems that draw fresh air into the building, and testing for radon levels regularly to ensure that they are within safe limits. By taking these steps, it is possible to reduce the risk of radon exposure in modern buildings and to create a safe and healthy indoor environment for occupants.