The cold, snowy winter months are fully here, and one of the questions we get asked most often during this time is: are radon levels higher in winter? To answer that question, yes, radon levels in a home tend to be higher during the winter. And those higher levels of radon gas can lead to an increased chance of lung cancer. While indoor radon gas levels are generally higher during winter, sometimes the summer can have higher indoor radon levels. Many factors, both related to seasonal variations and human behavior, affect radon levels.
How Are Radon Levels Higher in Winter?
Here are some of the reasons that radon levels are higher in winter.
Closed Windows and Doors
How often do people keep the doors and windows open during the winter? Rarely, because we are trying to stay warm during the cold weather. But this can increase our chances of radon exposure. Radon naturally flows into houses from rocks, soil, and even water, usually entering through basements or foundations. All of those closed doors and windows prevent radon from leaving your home and going back outside. This can lead to increased concentrations of radon simply because the gas has fewer ways to escape your home.
We recommend getting your home tested for radon during the winter, as doing so allows radon specialists to test for a “worst-case-scenario.” Accurate assessment of radon levels helps in planning and installing the right radon mitigation systems to handle radon in your home.
Blankets and Caps
What is a major way people keep themselves warm during the winter? Wrapping up in a blanket inside, and wearing a cap outside. We prevent the cold air from chilling us by protecting our bodies with blankets and caps. A similar effect happens with radon levels during winter. Snow acts as a blanket for the ground, preventing radon from seeping out and trapping the gas underneath. That radon tries to escape the soil, and the easiest way to do so when a lot of snow is blocking the way is through our homes. The frozen soil also makes radon’s escape from under the ground much harder.
This is also true of the summer, as the University of Massachusetts found that rainfall during the summer has the same effect on radon as snowfall does in the winter. Rain and snow prevent radon from escaping the soil and direct the radon to flow into our homes. So whenever someone asks us, “Are radon levels higher in winter?” the answer is “yes,” but with some exceptions.
The other major contributor to higher radon levels in winter is the stack effect. Air pressure is higher near the top of our homes as the air works to escape outdoors. While lower levels, such as basements, have lower air pressure as air from outside flows inward. That difference between those two air pressures is heightened when the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures is greater. The times of the year when that difference is greatest are, unsurprisingly, winter and summer.
All of these factors combine for higher radon levels in winter, and that makes testing all the more important. Conducting short term and long term testing of your home for radon in the winter is a smart decision, allowing a radon specialist to have a fully accurate understanding and assessment of your home’s radon levels. We will then install the best mitigation system for you so that you and your family can stay safe and reduce your risk of lung cancer.
Contact Keystone ETS To Keep Your Family Safe During Winter
Are radon levels higher in winter? Yes, generally radon levels are higher in the winter. Take the first step and get your home tested for radon. Keystone ETS is a fully licensed radon testing and inspection company. Our skilled, certified experts will test and assess radon levels in your home to keep you and your family safe. Stay safe from radon and reduce your risk of lung cancer by contacting us today.