Radon, a naturally occurring gas, is formed from the breakdown of uranium. It can be found in soil, water, and rocks. Radon is a radioactive substance that is second in lung cancer deaths in the United States. It kills approximately 21,000 people each year. Routine inspections of your home for radon levels are a good idea, especially before you buy a new property. But, it is important to realize that outside factors can impact radon test results if they are not done at the right time. These are just a few of the factors.
Various factors impact radon test results, including:
- High Winds
- Barometric Pressure
- Home Construction
Inspectors could get false positives and negatives by not accounting for these factors when they perform a radon test. This may seem confusing at first.
Learn more about how these factors can impact your test results.
Your home’s radon levels can be affected by high winds in two ways. They may either increase or decrease. The direction that your levels move will depend on the wind direction.
High winds can cause indoor pressure to build up on the side of your home with the most windows and doors. The positive indoor pressure causes radon to be pushed out of your home and reduces the level.
High winds can create indoor pressure by hitting your home from the side with the fewest windows and doors. The negative pressure in your home will attract radon from below the ground into the house. Radon levels rise temporarily when there is more of it in the house.
Barometric pressure, like high winds, can alter the internal radon levels in your home. Radon levels can be increased by lowering barometric pressure.
The barometric pressure acts like a retaining barrier, keeping radon in the soil beneath your home. The wall weakens as the pressure drops and radon can seep into the surrounding areas. Radon can seep into your home through tiny cracks in the foundation. Inspection groups will need to take note of the barometric pressure during inspections, as it can fluctuate hourly.
Your radon levels can be affected by the outside temperature. Poor ventilation can cause radon levels to rise in winter. When you open your windows and let outside air circulate through your home, radon levels will be lower. It is less likely to open your windows and doors when the mercury drops than to keep them closed to retain heat.
You shouldn’t close your doors during the spring and summer months. The increased ventilation will reduce radon levels. This benefit is not to be overlooked. It is important that your home be tested for radon in the cooler months. These results will give you an idea of the worst-case scenario. This will help you decide how to best combat the problem.
The radon levels of your home can be affected by rain and humidity. A change is unlikely to occur if there is only a little rain. Heavy rain could raise internal levels slightly.
People close their doors when heavy rains are expected, just as they do with colder weather. Strong winds can accompany heavy rain, especially if it is coming from a direction with few windows or doors. A combination of wind and home closing can create a negative pressure that raises levels. The soil’s radon levels will rise as a result. The soil can seep into your house.
However, frozen precipitation like ice and snow can actually lower your home’s radon levels. Like higher barometric pressures, ice or snow can create a barrier to keep radon out of your home and in the soil.
The construction of your home can have an impact on how much radon you have in your home. New homes are designed to be more energy-efficient. To make your home easier to heat or cool, they seal it from the outside. To keep heat in the winter and out of the summer, windows have tight seals.
Radon levels can be affected by living close to radon sources. The EPA states that radon levels will be much higher if new homes are not built according to the Reducing Radon in New Construction code. There is no guarantee that homes built according to RRNC codes will be radon-safe.
It is possible that older homes still have high levels of radon depending on where they are located and how they were constructed. These houses are not as energy-efficient as newer constructions. This may mean that the ventilation is better to allow radon out of the home.
A false negative or false positive can be caused by many factors when radon testing is done. Your home’s construction, high winds, barometric pressures, and temperature all have an impact on radon readings.