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What to do If You Live in a High Radon Area

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What to do If You Live in a High Radon Area

By Ruth MacEachern

Product Manager

May 30, 2024

The diverse geography of the UK includes several areas where volcanic rocks below the surface of the soil release a colourless, odourless radioactive gas called radon into the atmosphere. Areas with high levels of radon include:

  • Western Northern Ireland
  • Devon & Cornwall
  • Northern Scotland
  • Wales
  • The Pennines

In these parts of the country, the risk of radon is much higher, and residents should take steps to protect themselves against the byproducts that radon can produce.

What are the effects of radon

Radon gas is radioactive and seeps up from the ground. When trapped in a closed environment such as a home, the unstable atoms of the gas decay into other elements and release radiation. The radioactive particles released by Radon gas are ionising – that means that they make other particles into unstable ions which in turn can release more radiation into the environment. Dust particles in your home can become radioactive when they come into contact with emissions from radon and are known as “radon daughters.”  Inhalation of radioactive chemicals can increase your risk of developing some types of lung cancer and as such, the government recommends taking steps to reduce exposure.

Where is radon a problem

Radon gas seeps up from the ground and builds up in cellars and on the ground floor of homes in affected areas. At low concentrations, it is not a major risk to health, but if it exceeds safe levels, radon becomes highly dangerous.

Homes in high radon areas should ensure that they have a detector in their home that measures the levels of radon continuously and alerts them if unsafe concentrations are reached.

Reducing radon levels in your home

The key to reducing radon levels to keep your home and family safe is to ensure that your home is well ventilated. By circulating air into your home, the concentration of radon is reduced, however if the air is brought in at floor level, you might simply be adding to the problem.

As radon is a very heavy gas relative to the atmosphere, it remains close to the ground. Drawing air into your home at roof level means that the incoming air has a much lower concentration of radon making it safer.

Households in high radon areas are recommended to choose a positive input ventilation system to reduce their risk.

PIV systems work by drawing air from outside the home to displace the stale air. A central unit is usually mounted in the loft – and air is filtered as it is pulled in from outside. This filtering removes particles of dust, pollen, and other types of pollution to make the air fresh and clean. Because the air intakes are at roof level, the radon concentrations are extremely low.

This incoming air is distributed gently throughout your property and escapes through the natural ventilation of windows and air bricks taking the radon gas and ionised particles with it to make your air safer to breathe.

Good air flow throughout the home means that radon does not get the chance to build up to dangerous levels, and the efficiency of PIV systems means that they can run 24 hours a day to keep you and your family safe.

Find out more

If you live in an area with high levels of radon gas, it is important to protect the health of your family. Our local ventilation specialists can visit your home to conduct a free home survey and provide you with advice about the best solution for your needs. Simply enter your postcode below to find an expert in your area.