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How to get rid of radon

Most homeowners never hear much talk about radon unless you happen to own or are buying a home in an area affected by radon. In which case, you might become more familiar with the topic of how to get rid of radon gas in your home.

Most homeowners never hear much talk about radon unless you happen to own or are buying a home in an area affected by radon. In which case, you might become more familiar with the topic of how to get rid of radon gas in your home.

One of the searches that solicitors will often conduct when preparing a house purchase is checking whether the property is located in an area affected by radon. If it does, there’s no need to panic, but you might want to keep reading.

How to get rid of radon gas in your home

If you’ve carried out a test and are living with elevated levels of radon in your home, here are some of the most common ways to get rid of radon in your home.

General remedial work

Although remedial works won’t eradicate radon gas on their own, they are very helpful when combined with other effective measures. Here are some of these fairly simple remedial measures you can take on the road to reducing radon levels in your home:

  • Improve sealing around loft hatches
  • Seal any large openings in the floor
  • Increase the amount of ventilation

Radon sump

Installing a radon sump with a built-in fan is the most effective way to reduce the levels of radon inside your home. To achieve the best results, a radon sump is most often installed under solid floors or under suspended flooring.

Effective ventilation

Increasing the amount of fresh air that circulates in your home is a good way to reduce the concentration of radon gas in the air. Under-floor ventilation is commonly used in homes that want to reduce the presence of radon gas.

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Diagram showing source of radon gasWhat is radon gas?

Radon is a natural radioactive gas that is the product of the process of decaying uranium, which occurs naturally in rocks and soil. It’s a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas – making it hard to detect without professional testing.

Outdoors, levels of radon in the air are generally low but higher concentrations can collect in enclosed spaces, such as houses and other buildings.

The amount of radon in the air is measured in ‘becquerels per cubic metre of air’ (Bq m-3). An average level of radon in UK homes is around 20 Bq m-3, and any level below 100 Bq m-3 doesn’t pose any particular risk.

If there is a radon level of over 100 Bq m-3 then it’s recommended that you seek professional advice and take action to actively remove radon gas from your home.

Where does radon gas come from?

The ground is the main source of radon, although it can be found everywhere – usually in low concentrations. In most areas, radon levels are so low that they don’t pose any kind of health risk. Although there are certain identified areas that are particularly affected by higher radon levels.

How to get rid of radon gas in your basement

If you have a basement and are worried about the level of radon in the air, here are a few tips on how to get rid of radon gas in your basement.

  • For basements used as a living space it’s important to install a radon sump or positive ventilation system, as well as sealing around doors and other access points to the main house, and ventilating any underfloor spaces.
  • For vented basements used for storage you’ll want to increase the amount of ventilation overall, clear existing vents, potentially install additional vents, add a fan to circulate air, and/or install a radon sump.
  • For unventilated basements used for storage it’s a good idea to install a radon sump or positive ventilation system, seal around doors, and ventilate any underfloor spaces.

Why is radon gas dangerous?

Being a radioactive gas, exposure to elevated levels of radon come with a health risk with possible damage to living tissues and increasing the risk of cancer. Inhaling radon gas from the air poses a particular threat to our lungs and damage from radon can lead to lung cancer.

Also, the higher the levels of radon and the longer the period of exposure, the greater the health risk. Sadly radon causes over 1,000 deaths from lung cancer each year in the UK.

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How to test for radon

There are three simple steps you can follow to test for radon and reduce levels in your home:

Test kit for radon gas1. Check if your property is in a radon Affected Area?

Public Health England (PHE) has published reports containing maps that show the radon Affected Areas for the whole of the UK – check UK radon maps.

2. Order a test kit for radon gas

You can order a radon measurement pack, which includes a test kit for radon gas that you can use to measure the levels of radon in your home.

The radon test kit currently costs £52.80 and will include two detectors, placement instructions and a prepaid envelope to return the kit for analysis. To find out more about costs, check out our guide to radon test costs.

Order a radon test kit.

3. Take action to reduce radon levels

If you discover that there are high levels of radon gas in your home, it’s time to take action and be proactive in reducing the levels – in one or more of the ways detailed above.

Should I test for radon?

Official advice from the UK Radon Association is that all properties should be tested for radon, regardless of whether they’re located in a known affected area or not. They also recommend that any property that is built into a hillside or has a basement or cellar should actively test radon levels.

How to prevent radon in your home

Radon is everywhere so it’s almost impossible to completely eradicate it or prevent radon in your home. But you can reduce the concentration levels of radon in your home in the following ways:

  • Improve ventilation and the circulation of fresh air in your home
  • Seal access points such as doors and any openings in the floor
  • Ventilate any underfloor spaces
  • Install a radon sump with built-in fan
  • Test regularly to monitor levels of radon in your home

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