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The Dangers of Radon Gas: Do You Need Radon Mitigation This Winter?

The Dangers of Radon Gas: Do You Need Radon Mitigation This Winter?

Radon gas can feel like a complicated thing to avoid. It can’t be seen, smelled, or tasted, so how can you avoid it? However, it’s important to learn how to avoid it, because it can come into your home and it causes health problems. On top of that, as the year winds down and the temperature gets colder, you also have to be concerned about the radon levels getting worse in the winter. To protect yourself, it’s important to find out if you need radon mitigation this season.

  • What Health Effects Does Radon Have?
  • Why is Radon Worse in the Winter?
  • How Can Mitigation Help You Protect Yourself?

Understanding the facts about radon and radon mitigation can help you take steps to protect the people in your home from the negative effects of radon gas.

What Health Effects Does Radon Have?

Radon gas is the number one cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. According to the EPA, thousands of lung cancer deaths every year are attributed to radon. You should take into account that many more people may develop lung cancer and survive, so the risks of too much radon exposure are very serious.

This doesn’t mean that everyone who comes into contact with radon will develop lung cancer. Your level of exposure is a big factor in determining whether or not radon exposure will harm you. If the radon levels are very high or if you spend a lot of time in a home that has radon – for example, remote workers who don’t leave to go to work or school for a large chunk of the day – then your risk factors are higher. Smoking is another big risk factor. Remember, smoking is already a major contributor to cases of lung cancer – in fact, it’s the leading cause of the disease. When you combine smoking and radon, your risk becomes that much higher.

Everyone should be aware of their radon levels and whether or not their home is safe, but people whose homes are particularly high in radon, people who spend most of their time in their homes, and smokers need to be especially vigilant.

Why is Radon Worse in the Winter?

You might think the possibility of being exposed to a cancer-causing gas is bad enough in any season. That’s true, but radon exposure levels are more likely to be high in the winter than in other seasons. There are a few reasons why this is the case.

One reason is that people simply stay inside more. It’s cold out. So instead of taking a walk, you stay in. You close the windows. You don’t leave the doors open. If your home has radon in it already, ordinary winter behavior is basically giving you an extra dose of the gas.

There’s more to it than that, though. When it gets cold, the ground gets hard, making it difficult for radon gas to escape the soil where it’s trapped. When it snows, the snow acts as a blanket over the soil, further trapping the radon gas. The easiest way for radon to leave hard, frozen soil covered by snow is to go through the warmer homes nearby.

Finally, there’s a difference in air pressure between the higher and lower levels of the house. Higher up, the air is trying to escape outdoors, so the pressure is higher. Lower levels of the house are the areas where air flows inward. This pressure difference always exists, but in cold temperatures, it’s more pronounced. That means more air will be pulled in from lower levels to equalize the pressure – and air being pulled in from the soil may contain radon.

Due to a combination of these factors, the winter months result in higher radon exposures.

How Can Radon Mitigation Help You Protect Yourself?

Radon isn’t a problem for every home, and two homes that are right next to each other can have very different levels of radon for a variety of reasons. The only way to know for sure if there’s an unsafe amount of radon in your home is to test for it. A radon mitigation company can handle that for you. Testing during the winter is a good idea because it gives you a reading that reflects the height of the radon exposure during the year.

If the test reveals that you’re living with unsafe levels of radon, don’t panic. Radon in the home is a problem that can be fixed. Both passive and active radon mitigation systems are available. A radon mitigation professional can advise you about the pros and cons of each and help you decide which one is right for you.


Radon is a real issue that many people need to be concerned with. The winter months are an important time to think about radon testing and mitigation because the problem is worse in the winter. If you do have radon in the home, there are mitigation options that will help you lower your levels and keep your family safe.