How Common is Radon In a Home? Learn the Facts

Radon is a radioactive, colorless gas that is often found in homes. When inhaled, radon can be harmful to our health. So how common is radon in a home?

How common radon is in a home depends on geographical factors, levels of uranium in the soil, and environmental conditions that can change these elements. Homes with basements tend to have higher levels of radon due to the home being close to underground soil, which can hold an elevated level of uranium.

How Common is Radon In a Home? Learn the Facts
Test for radon in your home if you are concerned.

How Common is Radon In a Home?

The EPA has estimated that radon exists in 1 out of every 15 homes in America.

Whether you have radon in your home depends on where you live, but radon is present in homes in many parts of the country.

Radon is an invisible, radioactive gas that comes from the ground. It can seep into buildings through cracks in foundations or basements and become trapped inside.

Radon occurs naturally in soil, rock, water, air, and even plants.

When it’s found indoors, it’s usually because structures are built over areas with higher-than-normal concentrations of radon.

A home’s foundation is usually a barrier between radon and the indoor air in a house.

However, construction practices and soil conditions that allow groundwater into the basement can increase the amount of radon that seeps into the house.

What is an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV)? Ultimate Resource Learn how an energy recovery ventilator helps capture indoor pollutants.

Each year radon gas seeps into homes through foundations, slabs, dirt around the house, and other gaps in the home.

The radon slowly builds up to higher concentrations over time without people noticing its presence.

It’s important to know if radon is present in your home so radon mitigation can be done if necessary.

What does this mean for you? It means you need to test your home or hire someone to do it for you if you are concerned about radon posing a health hazard.

Radon is a dangerous gas that can cause cancer. It comes from decaying uranium in rock, soil, water, and building materials.

Uranium has radiated the surrounding environment where it exists and is known to be harmful to those who live nearby radon deposits.

The decay of radon slowly builds radon gas that seeps into nearby homes.

The EPA says that radon is responsible for 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year. About 2 out of 3 radon-related deaths are from lung cancer, but radon can also cause other types of cancers.

Whether radon comes from the soil, water, or rock it’s still harmful to the lungs.

So what does this mean for you? It means radon testing should be a priority if you live in an area where radon is commonly found.

You can lower your risk of lung cancer by mitigating the amount of radon that enters your home.

The EPA recommends that homeowners have their homes tested for radon.

A radon test is the only true indicator of how much radon exists in a home, and if you should do something about it.

More About Radon

Radon is sometimes called Rn-222 and can be detected by an alpha emitter, which sends out tiny particles known as alpha rays.

These particles cause damage to the human body if they are inhaled or ingested into the bloodstream unfiltered. How common radon is in homes can depend on the geological factors of an area.

Radon concentration in the atmosphere has been reported to be around 9.73 Bq/m 3.

How common radon is in a home varies depending on geographical factors, levels of uranium found in the soil, and general environmental conditions that can change these elements.

Generally speaking, homes with basements tend to have increased levels of radon due to the home being very close to underground soil, which can hold an elevated level of uranium.

The likelihood of radon in a home varies by state and city, as some areas have been found to have higher concentrations than others.

The EPA has set a radon action level of 4.0 pCi/L (picocuries per liter).

The amount of radon in a home can be determined by the EPA Action Level for homes to be built.

This level is defined as when a person living in a building might be expected to receive an exposure amounting to four millirems (or 400 microrems) a year of gamma radiation from radon progeny.

Homes with levels above 4.0 pCi/L will likely require the owner to take steps to reduce it, though this action level has not been set as a federal regulation or law for states to abide by.

Where is radon most commonly found in houses?

If your home does have radon, it’s time to take action. But where is radon most commonly found in houses?

Radon is commonly found in a house’s basement through exposed dirt, such as sump wells, drains, or through the naturally porous concrete foundation of the basement. Radon can also seep into the air in all areas of the home through cracks in the foundation, and may be detected in a home’s drinking water.

The radon level in your basement might also be influenced by the conditions within.

The “stack-effect” occurs when the pressure within your basement differs significantly from the pressure outside.

This mechanism actually drags air more forcibly between the high and low-pressure zones, potentially increasing radon levels by drawing more air from the rock and soil beneath your home.

Radon enters your home through cracks and other flaws in the foundation as it rises through the earth to the air above.

Radon is trapped within your home, where it can build up. Radon gas has been found in both new and old homes, homes that are well-sealed and drafty, and homes that have or do not have basements.

The major source of radon contamination is soil gas. Radon may get into a property through well water.

The construction components in a limited percentage of dwellings can also emit radon.

Building materials, on the other hand, seldom generate radon problems on their own.

Should I worry about radon in my home?

When radon gases are inhaled into your lungs, they can break down into tiny radioactive particles, causing damage or cell death.

Exposure to high levels of radon over a long period of time may lead to lung cancer.

Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally and can cause lung cancer. Radon gas is odorless, colorless, and inactive.

Radon is found in tiny levels in the atmosphere. Outside, radon dissipates quickly and is typically not a health hazard.

The majority of radon exposure takes place in households, schools, and workplaces.

After entering buildings through cracks and other openings in the foundation, radon gas becomes trapped within.

Indoor radon may be regulated and managed using tried-and-true methods.

Breathing radon over an extended period of time raises your chance of lung cancer. In the United States, radon is the second biggest cause of lung cancer.

The EPA estimates that around 21,000 individuals die each year from radon-related lung cancer in the United States.

Only smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer mortality.

You may limit and regulate the quantity of radon in your house by doing the following measures.

Radon levels can only be determined by testing. Have your house checked, either by a professional or through a home test kit.

If your radon levels are excessive, have your house checked by a licensed radon service provider.

If values are at or above 148 Becquerels/meter3 (4 picocuries/liter), the EPA recommends mitigation. 

Installing an underground ventilation system may be something to check into to help control the radon gas and its airflow.

What is an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV)? Ultimate Resource


Trina Greenfield, Author
SmackDown Media LLC

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield, the owner of SmackDown Media LLC, is passionate about providing information to those interested in the air quality in and around their homes. Trina writes content about things she’s passionate about, such as safe, in-home air, educational platforms for children and adults, as well as all things family-related.