Indoor air quality is quite a concern for many homeowners. Harmful pollutants in high concentrations pose serious health risks to anyone in the home. However, a very common indoor air pollutant that most people ignore is radon.
That’s why most homeowners will invest in an air purifier that eliminates most air pollutants and odors. But how effectively are they eliminating the highly toxic radon in the air?
Unfortunately, the best way to get rid of radon is to hire a radon mitigation expert to test radon levels and install a radon-reduction system in your home.
To supplement the radon reduction system, you need to improve ventilation in your home and seal cracks, gaps, and openings on the floor and walls of your home. For daily usage, you can also consider air purifiers with carbon filters. This article will explain how to remove radon from your home effectively.
What is radon?
Radon(chemical symbol is Rn) is an odorless, tasteless, colorless, and naturally occurring gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium, radium, or thorium in the soil or rocks. Radon usually gets into the house through cracks in the walls, windows, foundation, and construction joints because it moves up through the ground.
It contains radioactive byproducts and is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Though it takes years, any radon exposure has some risk of causing lung cancer. There is also an increased lung cancer risk for smokers exposed to elevated radon levels. Children also have an increased risk due to their lung shape and faster respiration rate.
It’s best to install a radon detector to monitor your home’s radon levels. Some even back up that data, and you can see the progress of radon levels in your home.
How many microns is radon?
Radon is an inert gas, but its decay product is solid and acts as an airborne particle. The radon progeny are so small that they easily attach to dust particles. It is also a radionuclide, meaning it undergoes radioactive decay over time. The particle size of the radon decay product ranges from 0.0005 microns(µm) to about 0.003 microns.
How to remove radon from home
Due to its high toxicity, it’s imperative to test radon levels in your home and work to reduce them if the radon levels are 4pCi/L or higher. Though radon can get trapped in enclosed spaces, the levels any areas closest to the ground, such as basements and crawlspaces. There are several ways you can reduce radon levels in your home; they include:
Radon reduction system
The EPA recommends hiring a qualified radon mitigation professional is the best way to deal with radon in your home. This is because reducing high radon levels requires technical knowledge, skills, and proper equipment to test and install a suitable radon reduction system. In addition, the system your contractor recommends depends on the design of your home and other factors.
There are a number of proven methods professionals use to reduce radon in your home, but the most popular one is the soil depressurization system. This system involves a vent pipe and fan, which draws radon from beneath the house and vents it outside. It also involves sealing foundation cracks and other openings, making it more cost-efficient and effective.
After the radon reduction system installation, you must test your home every two years to ensure the radon levels are minimal.
The second-best way to reduce radon levels is to improve ventilation in your home. Increase airflow in your home by opening windows and using fans and vents to circulate air around the home. It’s also important to ventilate the lowest level of the house, such as a basement, crawlspace, or slab foundation, as this is where the radon enters the home. Ventilation helps the trapped radon gas to dissipate in the outdoor air.
Installing fans also improves home pressurization. The fans create pressure that creates a vacuum that prevents radon from entering the home.
Seal your cracks
Radon enters your home through cracks and gaps in your foundation, basement, and flooring. You should locate all the cracks and breaks and seal them with caulk or epoxy sealant. Finding all the cracks in your house may be difficult, but sealing some of them will significantly reduce radon levels.
Prevent house depressurization
Exhaust fans and combustion units like wood stoves and fireplaces can lower the air pressure inside your home. The lower the indoor air pressure compared to the ground beneath, the more radon gas enters the house.
If you have these devices in your home, you should open the windows near them or install a permanent system to deliver outdoor air to the units. If you have an HVAC with cold-air return registers in the basement, seal them off to reduce leakage of basement air into your air ducts.
Do air purifiers remove radon?
Although it is difficult to pick radon out of the air through chemical reactions, only air purifiers with an activated carbon filter can eliminate radon gas from the surrounding air. Carbon-activated filters contain porous carbon that traps odors and gases passing through the filter.
But the extent of reducing radon in the air depends on the brand quality. Some brands have quality filters that are powerful enough to remove volatile organic compounds and larger particles too.
Does the HEPA filter get rid of radon?
High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are efficient at removing most particles from indoor air, but they can’t eliminate radon. This is because HEPA filters are designed to trap solids, but radon is a gas. However, radon air purifiers also have HEPA filters to ensure you get the most out of your money by removing solid and gaseous waste from the indoor air.
Does a dehumidifier help with radon?
No, installing a dehumidifier will not reduce radon levels in your home. To reduce radon, you’ll need a powerful fan and a closed and unidirectional vent system that will push the radon out. But a dehumidifier is not powerful enough to do this. A dehumidifier draws in indoor air and runs it through cold coils.
The cold coils condense the moisture in the air, and it collects into a water hose or container. The air is reheated and blown back into the room. Radon is gas, so it won’t end up in the water hose or container. Nevertheless, the dehumidifier will still push it back into the same air.
On the other hand, studies by US Environmental Protection Agency prove that radon removal requires methods like active soil depressurization(ASD), which not only lowers radon levels but also dehumidifies the home. A dehumidifier removes about 8% to 25% of the moisture capacity that the ASD did.
Does activated carbon remove radon in the air?
Activated carbon is excellent at absorbing chemical impurities in the air. It can also reduce radon levels, but it won’t remove it completely. Activated carbon or charcoal has a slight electro-positive charge, making it more attractive to negatively charged particles and chemicals. Activated carbon will remove radon and other contaminants by two mechanisms; absorption and catalytic reduction.
Does a Dyson air purifier remove radon?
Dyson makes a variety of air purifiers. Any Dyson air purifier model with carbon activated HEPA filter can reduce radon levels in your home. Dyson claims to trap 99.7% of airborne particles as small as 0.1 microns. Some of the models you may want to consider include:
Radon removal can be quite a task, but radon mitigation experts recommend using air filtration as the most effective way to remove radon. Air purifiers with carbon filters will also reduce radon levels, but you will need to install several units to get rid of significant radon levels in your home.
You can also incorporate ventilation and sealing cracks on the flooring and walls of your home to help reduce radon levels. Ensure you take frequent radon tests to keep the levels low enough to reduce health risks.