What is Radon Remediation?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Radon remediation is a procedure in which a structure's radon levels are reduced. Also known as radon mitigation or radon reduction, radon remediation is designed to reduce radon exposure levels for people who use the structure. Contracting firms which specialize in radon removal can be hired to perform this procedure, or people can install radon reduction systems on their own, depending on the levels of radon in the home and their level of skill when it comes to construction tasks.

Radon can work its way up through the floors and walls of a basement.
Radon can work its way up through the floors and walls of a basement.

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas which forms naturally inside the Earth's crust as a byproduct of the uranium breakdown process. The gas seeps towards the surface, and can enter structures through their foundations and subfloor levels. Once inside, the radon may become trapped, causing levels to rise indoors and exposing people to significant health risks. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that radon levels higher than four picocuries per liter are considered dangerous, and should be addressed with radon remediation.

Radon detectors may be used to monitor rarely-used areas that are known to have low levels of contamination.
Radon detectors may be used to monitor rarely-used areas that are known to have low levels of contamination.

If people inhale radon, it puts them at an increased risk for lung cancer. Radon exposure is one of the leading sources of exposure to ionizing radiation for many people, and this gas has been linked with numerous cancer deaths. Radon levels can accumulate in a wide variety of structures of any age, and many people are not aware of dangerous radon levels until radon testing is conducted to check on the levels of this gas.

If radon testing reveals an unacceptable level of radon, radon remediation may be initiated. This process often includes venting the structure to dissipate the gas, and installing radon resistant systems so that the gas cannot accumulate again. These systems include ventilation underneath a structure which routes the gas to the outside, rather than allowing it to drift into the structure. It can also include ventilation in the house to push the gas out of the air, along with sealing and the installation of impermeable membranes around the foundations.

It is a good idea to test a structure for radon before purchasing it. If a structure requires radon remediation, this could be used as an argument to lower the price, or radon remediation could be incorporated into an offer as a condition of sale. People who want to get higher prices for structures they want to sell may want to consider radon testing and remediation before putting the structure on the market.

Difficulty breathing is a symptom of radon poisoning.
Difficulty breathing is a symptom of radon poisoning.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


@everetra - It’s terrible to think that you can be a non smoker and think that your lungs are fine, only to suffer radon lung cancer later because you had this gas seeping in your home.

I think there’s no reason not to buy a kit just to be sure. One thing that can open the door for radon gas is cracks in your home as a result of settling.

Be sure to seal those cracks as soon as possible so as to prevent possible exposure to radon.


@David09 - I think that landscaping is a good idea; however I’m not sure about your claims. I had always heard that radon gases outside the home dissipate into the atmosphere and so pose little threat to the home.

It certainly doesn’t hurt to landscape properly but it’s inside where the real dangers come. You should just buy a radon gas kit test kit and check.

There are different kits you can buy but at our home improvement store they sell a long term kit; it measures gases over a three month period, which I think will give you more accurate results.


Every house that I’ve bought has been tested for radon and been found to be free of it. However this does not mean that radon could not become a problem in the future.

You see, it’s not just in the house where radon can arise. It’s from your soil outside. If you have improper or weak landscaping then you are basically creating a hole in the earth from which external radon vapors may arise.

They could seep into your house too eventually. So I would recommend that you keep your landscaping up to date. Landscaping is not just there for aesthetics. It provides a barrier of protection in many ways around your house; in essence, proper landscaping becomes a natural radon mitigation system on its own.

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