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How Does Ventilation Reduce Radon Concentration

How Does Ventilation Reduce Radon Concentration

In parts of the UK with high levels of radon, such as Wales, Cornwall and Scotland, residents need to take the risk of this dangerous radioactive gas seriously and take steps to protect the health of their family.

Although it is odourless and colourless, radon is detectable because of the radioactive decay it undergoes as it releases radiation into the atmosphere. Homeowners in high-risk areas should ensure that they have a reliable radon gas detector in their property to remain safe.

Where does radon gas come from

The geology of the UK has developed over billions of years, and beneath the ground, rocks from ancient volcanic eruptions contain radioactive minerals including uranium and radium. As these chemicals slowly decay over time, they form new elements including lead and radon gas. Solid byproducts of radioactive decay such as lead remain below the ground, however gases gradually seep up and are released into the atmosphere.

Outdoors, the risks from radon are tiny. The amounts of radon that escape from the ground are small, and are quickly dispersed into the air, however inside a building, the radon levels can build up to dangerous levels, particularly in houses with poor ventilation.

The half life of radon is quite short – just over three and half days. This means that for every one hundred atoms of radon that are present in an environment, fifty will break down into other radioactive chemicals in a short period of time. The byproducts of radon decay are polonium, bismuth and eventually lead. All these chemicals can be toxic, releasing ionising radiation that has been linked to several types of lung cancer if inhaled.

Reducing radon concentration to safe levels

Homeowners in areas at higher risk of radon should monitor levels continuously to ensure that they do not rise to dangerous concentrations. Radon detectors are recommended in areas of Scotland, Devon, Cornwall, parts of the Pennines, and much of Wales. It is important to note though that simply having a detector in your home is only a warning. It is much better to proactively improve the ventilation of your property so that the radon is expelled rather than being allowed to build up.

As noted above, when radon is outdoors, it disperses quickly into the surrounding atmosphere and provides little risk. So, improving the airflow in your home to remove radon should be a priority.

Whole house ventilation systems are the preferred way of protecting your home and family from radon build-up.

Positive Input Ventilation (PIV) systems can be retrofitted into most properties. PIV systems work by drawing fresh air into the home at roof level – well above the ground where radon is most concentrated. This air is filtered and then dispersed gently around the home. The fresh filtered air displaces the stale air containing radon and allows it to escape to the exterior of the property where it will be carried away by natural air flow.

As well as removing radon from a property, PIV systems also improve indoor air quality and reduce humidity, which in turn prevents damp and mould from forming which can also be damaging to your health.

PIV systems are designed to run continuously, and feature extremely efficient designs. In a typical configuration will also help to even out temperature variances in the property to make your heating system to work more efficiently.

Find out more

If you live in a high radon area and are concerned about the potential health risks, it is important to act. 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 near you.

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