So the most common question is: What is Radon and can radon cause cancer? Yes high levels of radon are linked to lung cancer but there are things that can be done to help. If you have a concern about high radon levels in your home it is comforting to know that there are steps you can take today to minimise risk.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas which comes from the radioactive decay of uranium in soils and rocks. In the open air it dissipates harmlessly but in some buildings it can accumulate to dangerously high levels. The degree to which your building suffers from radon problems depends on the type of soil beneath the floor, the structural quality of the building and local weather conditions.
There is a simple solution to a radon problem in your home, firstly you need to test your home to find out what levels of radon you are exposed to. You can buy an inexpensive radon testing kit from our online shop. This kit is approved by the EPA, it can be posted to you and is the most reliable way to test radon in your home. It comes with clear instructions and after the test period it is then sent back to us for analyses.
So high levels of radon, what’s next? If the kits shows high levels of radon at home and you wish to address the problem, there are things you can do. At All Clear Radon we are EPA registered and have twenty years experience carrying out radon mitigation work in homes and business. The work usually takes a day and is clean, will not involve lifting floors or changing anything in your home or office. The work can be carried out for an average cost of €1000.
Some FAQ’s about Radon
Does Ireland have a particular problem with radon?
Because of our geology and how we build our houses, Ireland has a particular problem with radon gas. Our average radon levels are the 6th highest in the world and are approximately three times higher than in the UK. Despite this, and contrary to common perception most new homes in Ireland are not required to have radon protection measure incorporated. For this reason all homes including new homes should be tested for radon.
Radon and Lung Cancer.
Radon can cause lung cancer and is proven to be the second highest cause of lung cancer after smoking. The EPA estimates that approximately 200 people die each year in Ireland from lung cancer caused by radon.
Who is most at risk from Radon?
While high radon levels are a danger to everyone the people who are most at risk are smokers, ex-smokers and children.
How do I test my home for radon gas?
Testing is both simple and inexpensive. There is no need for anybody to visit you. You can purchase a radon home test kit online here Radon Home Test Kit. A home test kit includes two detectors with simple instructions. The testers are left in place for 3 months then returned to us for analyses.
We also have electronic radon monitors which are ideal for carrying out short term indicative tests.
If your radon levels are low then there is no need for further action. If your levels are high then you will be advised that radon mitigation work should be carried out. The work is typically carried out in a day. The work is clean and normally done from the outside so there is no damage to internal floors or walls.
Typically one house in ten will require some remedial work.
What is radon mitigation.
Radon mitigation simply refers to the process of reducing radon gas levels in buildings.
How is radon mitigation carried out.
There are a number of methods of reducing radon gas levels in buildings.
Buildings with slightly elevated radon levels can often be treated by simply improving the building ventilation. This can be a simple matter of putting air vents in the walls or in some cases installing a small mechanical ventilation unit in the attic which provides ventilation through vents in the ceiling.
Providing ventilation for a building always comes at an energy cost. All Clear has the experience and knowledge required to find the correct balance between providing ventilation and maintaining the energy efficiency of the building.
Buildings which have very high radon levels will usually require some form of sub-floor ventilation. A number of holes are drilled from the outside of the building into the sub-floor. Material is excavated through each hole and pipes are inserted into the voids (or sumps). Fans are then installed and these provide continuous ventilation of the sub-floor. This work is normally completed cleanly in a day with no damage to internal floors or walls.
Contrary to common belief most new homes in Ireland are not required to have any form of radon protection. The only requirement for most new buildings is to have an inactive radon sump installed in the sub-floor. This sump does not provide any level of radon protection and is merely a cost saving device to be used in the event of a radon extraction fan being installed in the future.
Based on a risk map 28% of the country is defined as being high radon risk. In high risk areas a radon barrier is required in addition to the radon sump. Barriers provide some level of protection but are by no means failsafe as it is almost impossible to make them airtight under building site conditions.
For these reasons the EPA(ORP) recommend that every new and existing house be tested for radon. Workplaces are also required by law to test and to take remedial action where necessary.
Radon protection is inexpensive to provide and should be incorporated into all new buildings. All Clear provide expertise and advise to architects and self-builders on radon barriers and other methods of protecting new buildings. We have a particular interest in and experience in providing passive radon protection solutions.