Why Are Radon Levels Higher in Winter?

September 18, 2020 10:54 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

If you are a homeowner or are considering buying a home, one of the issues that will likely come up is radon. Testing for radon has become a common safety precaution as buyers inspect a potential home for purchase or as homeowners take steps to ensure their home remains safe. As part of this process, it’s important to note how radon is a bigger problem in the winter in Portland, OR.

Why would radon levels increase in winter in Portland, OR? There are several factors that contribute to this seasonal rise in radon gas.

Trapped air

During the winter, homeowners typically keep their homes sealed up as tight as possible to keep out the colder air. Windows and doors remain closed, and extra barriers such as plastic for windows and breeze guards for thresholds are often used.

The final result is a well-insulated home. This is great for keeping warm air in and cold air out, but it can also trap radon in the home. The radon gas becomes trapped inside, and the levels can rise to a higher concentration. As the winter wears on, the gas can continue to accumulate as it seeps inside through basement walls and the foundation.

Due to this winterizing effect, it is often recommended to test a home’s radon level in the winter. The general rule of thumb is that if the home’s radon levels test within a less-hazardous range while the home is sealed up for the winter, then radon won’t be a problem the rest of the year either.

Rising air

During the winter, the warm air you pump into your home through your heating system naturally rises. As it rises and escapes through the top of the home, the air creates a vacuum effect that pulls in air from below the home. This air that is pulled inside may come from the surrounding soil that contains radon. The result may be a higher level of radon in the home during winter.

Cold air

During the winter, the cold temperatures often result in storms that repeatedly dump snow on your property. This layer of snow or ice can create a barrier around your home that traps the radon inside. The ground may also be frozen, which redirects the radon gas into your house.

What about summer?

While it’s common for radon levels to increase in winter in Portland, OR, it’s important to note the possibility of a similar trend in summer. If a home is tightly sealed during the summer, with the air conditioning running each day and windows and doors closed, this can trap radon in the home just as winter sealing does.

Get more answers

If you’d like more information on how radon is a bigger problem in the winter in Portland, OR, reach out to the team at Active Mold Control LLC.  Our experts are licensed, bonded and insured environmental professionals who are ready with the knowledge and skill needed to answer your questions and address your concerns. Reach us today at 503-699-2910 to learn more.

Categorised in:

This post was written by Writer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *