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What Are Radon Levels?

A question we often get asked here at PropertECO is “what are radon levels?” and “what are safe radon levels?”. In this article, we help answer these questions as well as explain methods of reducing radon levels at your property.

What Exactly Are Radon Levels?
A Radon Risk Area
What Are Safe Radon Levels?
What is Considered a High Radon Level?
What Are Normal Levels For a House?
What Is The Radon Action Level?
What Is The Radon Target Level?
How Can I Receive an Accurate Radon Level for My Property?
How to Reduce Radon Levels?

What Exactly Are Radon Levels?

Radon levels are used to determine whether your home or building has high concentrations of radon or not. Without using a form of radon detection, you cannot determine an accurate figure of radon gas levels. Public Health England states that between 1100 and 2000 lung cancer deaths are caused by radon gas.

Radon levels are influenced by a number of factors such as the type of rock and soil that are underneath the building, the type of ventilation used in the property and even how long the owner has been living inside the building. Due to the number of factors that can influence the radon levels at your property, this can also mean the levels can fluctuate on a daily basis. This is why it is so important to purchase a radon detector so they can alert you of any high radon levels that could arise in your building.

There are two radon levels classifications that are used by Public Health England (PHE) which are the action level and target level. The action level is classed as 200 becquerels per cubic metre (Bq-m³) and the target level is classed as 100 Bq-m³. Public Health England recommends that the radon levels at your property should be reduced where the average is more than 200 becquerels. This means that action should be taken by the property owner to reduce the radon level.

To find out the radon level then radon testing will need to be carried out which typically involves 2 detectors being placed in your home. One radon detector should be placed in the living room and one in the bedroom, ideally over a 3 month period. If you are living in a large property, then additional radon detectors will be needed.

The target level is set at 100 Bq-m³. Public Health England states that if the radon levels are between the target and action levels then action should be undertaken to significantly reduce the radon levels.  If there is a smoker or ex-smoker living in the property it is even more important that the radon level in the property is as low as possible.

A Radon Risk Area

There is a UK radon map that was developed by PHE to show typical radon levels in different areas of the UK. However, while it does provide an indication to which areas could be prevalent to radon gas it should be noted that radon levels differ from house to house. Although on the radon map your property maybe in an area at low risk to radon it may still be affected by radon.

Radon Map With Key

Properties in the UK that have a basement, no matter where in the country, should have a radon test carried out. High levels of radon can be found in basements due to them been underground. In the UK, radon gas is a primary cause of lung cancer in people that have smoked making it is important to test for radon levels at your property.

What Are Safe Radon Levels?

So, what are safe radon levels? A safe radon level is measured at zero and unfortunately, this is not possible to achieve. However, the lower the radon levels that can found in the building the lower the risk of potential health problems. Having radon detectors placed at your property to test radon levels can give you the peace of mind that if there are high radon levels they can be acted on quickly.

What Is Considered a High Radon Level?

Whilst there is no official number designated as an official ‘high’ point for radon, there is a level below which UKradon deems low risk and not a cause for concern.

If you measure your properties radon levels at less than 100Bq/m3 then your radon levels are within what is considered low risk within the UK, as deemed by the UK Health Security Agency.

If your properties radon level is above 200 Bq/m3, you should be aware that this is considered to be the ‘action level’ of radon, the point at which the UK Health Security Agency deems that radon mitigation should take place to reduce radon levels to the target of 100 Bq/m3.

What Are Normal Levels of Radon for a House?

According to the Radon Association, the average radon level inside UK homes is 20 Bq/m3.

However, no two properties are ever going to have an identical radon concentration level, and it should be remembered that this is an average figure, meaning that some properties could have higher radon levels, and some lower. The only way to be certain of your properties radon levels is with the completion of proper radon testing.

Ideally, the target level of radon concentration in a home should be below 100 Bq/m3, and any radon mitigation that is conducted on your property will be done with this end figure as a target.

What Is the Radon Action Level?

The radon action level is the name given to the level of radon concentration at which work should be undertaken in order to reduce radon concentration.

The current radon action level is set at 200 Bq/m3, and any home with a radon concentration at this level or above should have radon mitigation carried out to help their property reach the radon target level. This figure and recommendation have been set by Public Health England.

If a radon level is found to be between the target level and the action level, then radon mitigation should be considered as a course of action. You should especially consider taking action on radon levels between the target level and action level if the property is inhabited by a smoker or ex-smoker, as they are more at risk of developing lung cancer from higher levels of radon concentration.

What Is a Radon Target Level?

The radon target level is a level of radon concentration in a property that has been deemed as ‘the ideal outcome for remediation works in existing buildings and protective measures in new buildings.’

Essentially, if you have high levels of radon, then the ‘target level’ is the level of radon concentration that radon mitigation measures should help you to reach.

Currently, the radon target level is set at 100 Bq/m3, and all radon mitigation should be carried out with the explicit aim of helping your property reach that figure or below.

How Can I Receive an Accurate Radon Level for My Property?

The best way for any individual to ascertain what the accurate radon level is within their property is through radon testing.

If you want to learn what the consistent average radon level in your home is, then it’s recommended that you undertake a three-month radon test, with one radon test kit placed in your living room and another in a bedroom.

The reason behind this recommendation is that a three-month radon test won’t deliver results skewed by random fluctuations in the short term. Instead, you will have an accurate average readout based on two rooms within a property that people are most likely to be spending the majority of their time on, giving a good indication of the level of the potential risk they could be in.

How to Reduce Radon Levels?

If you have had radon testing carried out and the results show that the property is above the target level, then action will be needed to reduce those levels. There are two main forms of radon remediation that be implemented to achieve the best results, installing a radon sump or installing a positive input ventilation system.

Positive input ventilation system

Both measures can be effective at lowering radon levels. Positive pressure units work by dispersing clean air in the property and radon sumps draw the radon gas away from the building and disperse it safely away. You can find out more information about these radon reduction methods on our radon mitigation page.

Still Unsure About Radon Levels?

We hope this article has given you a good insight into what radon levels are and why testing should be carried out as quickly as possible. While you cannot see, smell or taste radon, it can potentially cause serious health problems if not dealt with. Simply purchasing a radon test via our online shop is the first step to reducing radon levels at your property.

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We are open for business for our full range of services. These include surveys and work in relation to all things radon – our lab is fully open and we are able to send out test detectors, carry out mitigation surveys and carry out work.