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Does Crawl Space Encapsulation Stop Radon?

Monday, January 27th by Kristina McGovern


A vapor barrier covering the floor and walls inside a crawl space

Radon moves up through the soil and into the crawl space air. Crawl space encapsulation can reduce radon levels and prevent moisture damage..

Any home can have a radon problem.

Radon is an invisible, odorless radioactive gas that comes from the decay of uranium in the soil.

Before we talk about how to stop radon from getting in your home, let's talk about how it gets in and why it's a problem.

How does radon get into my home?

Radon can get into your home through cracks and openings in the foundation.

A crawl space foundation with exposed dirt is like a window that's always open.

Radon moves up through the soil and into the crawl space air. From there it migrates upward through your floorboards into the first floor of your home.

Why is radon a problem?

Most radon disperses into the atmosphere and doesn't harm you.

Buildings trap radon inside. When the concentration of radon is 4pC per liter of air or higher, you're at risk of getting lung cancer.

The good news is protecting your home against radon exposure isn't as hard as you might think.

How do I reduce radon in my crawl space?

Reducing the flow of radon into a crawl space is more challenging than it is in a basement.

Many radon contractors suggest that you vent your crawl space to reduce radon.

Yes, open vents in the crawl space can allow radon to escape, but venting the crawl space can do more harm than good.

Crawl space ventilation can lead to many problems throughout your home, including:

  • Mold growth
  • Wood rot
  • Frozen pipes
  • Cold floors
  • High energy bills

If venting the crawl space isn't the best solution for reducing radon in a crawl space, then what is?

Crawl space encapsulation is the first step in reducing radon levels

Crawl spaces should be sealed and encapsulated with a continuous vapor barrier, like the premium CleanSpace liner and crawl space encapsulation system from Basement Systems. 

Encapsulating the crawl space reduces the migration of radon into the air.

In fact, crawl space encapsulation offers many benefits.

Does the air in your home smell musty and feel damp? Are your hardwood floors buckling? Are your carpets damp or moldy? Are your allergy symptoms getting worse?

These problems could be caused by a moisture problem in your crawl space. The solution is crawl space encapsulation.

Many homeowners report better air quality, improved comfort, and lower energy costs after encapsulating their crawl space.

An experienced crawl space contractor can ensure that your crawl space encapsulation is done right.

If you have a high concentration of radon in your home, more steps may be needed to reduce the radon levels.

Radon Soil Suction

An example of a soil suction system in a sealed crawl space.
Image credit: National Radon Defense

What if radon levels are still high after encapsulating the crawl space?

In their Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests "soil suction" to reduce radon levels in homes with a crawl space.

Soil suction is a common radon mitigation technique. Here's how it works:

A high-density crawl space liner or vapor barrier covers the exposed dirt. A vent pipe and radon fan system "sucks" radon gas from under the liner and vents it outdoors.

A radon professional can recommend the best solution for reducing the level of radon in your home.

Find a qualified radon mitigation contractor

During January's National Radon Action Month, the U.S. Surgeon General and the EPA urge homeowners to protect their health by testing for radon.

Radon test kits are available to buy online or in home improvement stores. Some states also offer free or discounted test kits.

Basement Systems' partner National Radon Defense makes it easy to find qualified radon contractors in your town or city to test for radon or mitigate (fix) your home.

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