Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can pose significant health risks if it accumulates in high concentrations within homes and buildings. The only way to detect the presence of this invisible odorless gas is by testing. However, radon levels are known to fluctuate, varying not only from city to city but even between homes on the same street.

On top of that, indoor radon levels for a given building can change substantially over time. In fact, indoor radon levels not only can change from year to year but also fluctuate with the seasons. But how do the seasons impact radon? There are several seasonal phenomena and factors that can have a substantial impact on the levels of indoor radon found in your property.

Seasonal Variability of Radon Levels in Winter

During the winter, homes are typically sealed to conserve heat, which reduces ventilation. This can lead to higher concentrations of radon indoors. The thermal stack effect is particularly pronounced during this season. This is when warm indoor air rises and escapes through the roof, creating a vacuum that pulls in colder air and radon gas from the ground through the foundation.

Additionally, snow and ice can create a barrier over the soil, trapping radon and directing it into buildings through cracks and openings in the foundation. The reduced ventilation in sealed homes during winter means radon gas is less likely to disperse, allowing it to accumulate to higher levels. This reduced ventilation combined with the thermal stack effect can greatly increase the presence of indoor radon.

Seasonal Variability of Radon Levels in Summer

In contrast, the summer months typically see lower indoor radon levels. This is primarily due to increased ventilation and different pressure dynamics during the warmer months. Open windows and doors during warmer weather enhance airflow, helping to disperse radon before it can accumulate at high levels.

Furthermore, the thermal stack effect is less pronounced in the summer, reducing the vacuum effect that draws radon into the home. Though hot air rising can draw radon out of the soil, radon levels are usually lower during this time due to the natural increase in ventilation and the less significant pressure differences.

Outdoor Factors Affecting Radon Levels

There are a wide variety of outdoor conditions experienced throughout the year that can directly influence the amount of radon that enters your home:

  • Precipitation – Heavy rain can saturate the ground and push radon towards the foundation.

  • Wind – Strong winds can alter air pressure around buildings, creating pathways for radon entry.

  • Temperature – Cold weather increases indoor air pressure, which can draw more radon from the ground into the home.

Indoor Factors Influencing Radon Levels

Similarly, there are also several indoor activities and appliances can affect radon levels by impacting the air pressure and ventilation of your home or business:

  • Heating Systems – Use of furnaces or space heaters can create negative pressure, drawing radon into living spaces.

  • Ventilation Systems – Exhaust fans and clothes dryers can remove indoor air and create a vacuum effect, increasing radon infiltration.

  • Structural Features – Cracks in the foundation, gaps around pipes, and other structural vulnerabilities can allow radon to enter more easily.

Importance of Testing for Radon in Different Seasons

Given the seasonal variability of radon levels, it is essential to conduct radon testing at different times of the year to get a comprehensive understanding of your exposure risk. Testing in the winter, when radon levels are likely to be highest, can provide critical insights.

For instance, testing during colder months can reveal higher radon levels that might not be detected in the summer. Long-term testing conducted over the span of several months can also help you understand how radon levels fluctuate throughout the year.

Ensuring Effective Radon Mitigation Year-Round

If you discover elevated radon levels, installing a mitigation system is the next step. However, to ensure your mitigation system remains effective, it is crucial you have your mitigation system installed by a qualified professional like those here at Southwest Radon Eliminators to ensure it is correctly designed and implemented.

We also highly recommend you schedule annual maintenance checks to verify that your mitigation system is functioning properly. Even with a mitigation system in place, test your home every two years to ensure continued protection against radon exposure.

Professional Radon Mitigation & Testing

For more information on radon testing and mitigation, contact Southwest Radon Eliminators today! Our team of NRPP-certified Radon Measurement Professionals provide comprehensive testing and mitigation services to commercial and residential properties. We are dedicated to helping you keep your home and business radon-free year-round!