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Radon gas is an undesirable tenant in homes. If you haven’t heard about it, in today’s post we will give you some information about this gas which can be found in some buildings. Radon gas could be more dangerous than we think and has not always been taken into account.

First of all, we need to know what radon is. It is a gas that is generated due to the radioactive disintegration of minerals and elements such as uranium. Radon is present in the subsoil, especially in granites. That is why not all areas of Spain are as exposed to this gas as others. According to the Nuclear Safety Council, the most affected areas are Galicia, Castilla y León, Extremadura, the Community of Madrid and certain areas of Castilla La Mancha.




How does radon gas reach homes?  

As we said, uranium is found naturally in soils and rocks, and can also appear in water. Therefore, it is easy for radon to emanate from the ground and pass quickly into the air where it disintegrates and generates radioactive particles. If this happens in any kind of external environment, it doesn´t suppose any danger as it doesn´t concentrate and dissipates easily. However, this is very different in enclosed places and is especially harmful in mines and caves. Even so, it must be borne in mind that the concentration of radon in homes and buildings can cause health problems. In this type of spaces, radon arises from cracks, porous walls, wiring areas and pipes, sinks and drains. Therefore, we can say that the greater or lesser presence of this gas in your home definitely depends, on the type of subsoil in which it is built (that is, whether it is a granite subsoil or not), as well as the ventilation of the building (if the air is constantly renewed or stagnant), and, of course, the canals found by radon to filter in.



Obviously, areas such as basements, much closer to the subsoil, are much more prone to radon concentration. In order you can know the level of radon in your home and make sure it is not too high, there are some methods that allow you to measure it:


  • Instant methods. It is about checking and identifying which routes radon follows to enter the house from the ground.
  • Methods of continuous reading. They study the concentration levels over time and the evolution of them.
  • Integrated methods. These types of methods are perfect for this purpose. Thanks to them you can inspect and recognize the area effectively and even make decisions about what to do to improve the situation.


In any case, in the same way that nowadays it is mandatory to get an energy performance certificate (EPC), it is essential that before making the decision to buy a new house, we demand a radon measurement from the seller. This can be done through a chemical process, something more complex, provided by the Radon Laboratory of the University of Santiago de Compostela (whose results take approximately 3 months to be issued); or through a digital measurement that is carried out thanks to a small device similar to a mobile that is capable of taking measurements in about 24 hours.



Why is radon harmful?

Although we should not fall into alarmism, being exposed to a significant concentration of radon gas can lead to health damage. In particular, radon is one of the main causes of lung cancer. In fact, according to the WHO, it is the second cause of lung cancer after smoking (between 3% and 14%).


How can we eliminate radon from our home?

Although ventilating the house is something necessary, not only to solve problems with radon, but for many other issues, not only is it worth to open windows and doors so that it vanishes. These are some measures that must be taken into account to avoid the presence of radon in your home:


  1. Install a mechanical extraction system in the basement or on the ground to eliminate radon in the places with the highest concentration.
  2. Remove pressure between the floor and the ground, to prevent it from leaking from the basement to upper rooms.
  3. Seal floor/wall joints.
  4. In new builds: place anti-radon membranes in the foundations.
  5. In refurbishments: add radon gas extraction boxes which are holes in the basement of the house designed to extract the gas outside before it penetrates the house.
  6. Obviously, improve the general ventilation of the house and floor slab.




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