Basement cracks are a menace, especially when they allow water into your home. But what about harmful gases? Radon is a colorless, odorless gas. It is also radioactive and extremely harmful in large doses. A United Nations committee said radon gas in homes is directly linked to a small risk of lung cancer.
How does radon get into your home?
Very few homes are airtight, especially older homes — and especially if the foundation or any of the walls are built with concrete blocks, which are particularly porous to radon. But Radon can also seep in through basement floor drains, cracks in the floor or foundation, and under the furnace base. Radon can also become trapped in well water and released into the air when the water is used.
Steps you can take inside your home include:
- Repair basement cracks and openings in the walls and floors of your basement as well as around drains and pipes.
- If your basement floor has a sub-floor, make sure it is ventilated.
- Replace an earth floor with a concrete floor.
- Increase the ventilation in your basement or other enclosed space where radon may accumulate.
- Paint basement floors and walls. Use a sealant on top of the paint and add polyethylene sheets to basement walls.