How do I protect my home from the cancer-causing gas radon?
The cancer causing gas radon gas is given off by rocks and soils and can get into your home through small cracks and openings in the foundations of a house or gaps around service pipes.
All homes have some radon but some areas, called High Radon Areas, are more likely to have a radon problem than others. To find out if your home is in a High Radon Area, simply type your address into the interactive radon map below.
Here you can see a map showing the areas predicted to be at particular risk from radon, called High Radon Areas. A High Radon Area is any area where it is predicted that 10 per cent or more of homes will exceed the Reference Level of 200 bequerel per cubic metre (Bq/m³). Any area that is coloured light or dark brown on the map is a High Radon Area.
Please note: High radon levels can be found in any home in any part of the country, but these homes are more likely to be located in High Radon Areas.
The Building Regulations require that all new homes built since 1998 in High Radon Areas are installed with a radon barrier. If your home has a radon barrier, this is no guarantee that the radon levels will be below the acceptable level of 200 Bq/m³. For this reason, the EPA recommends testing your home for radon within a year of moving into it. All new homes, in all parts of the country, are also installed with a standby radon sump. If you test your home and find that the levels are higher than they should be, the standby sump can be easily activated by installing a fan.
To help ensure that barriers and sumps are well installed, the Construction Industry Federation offers training courses for site staff in the installation of radon preventive measures.
Once your home is tested, if you need to reduce radon levels, the most common ways to do this are by improving ventilation or installing what is known as an active radon sump. The EPA can provide you with a list of registered companies who can do this work for you. It is very important to retest your home following this work to ensure that the work has been successful.
What about selling your home? In January of this year the Law Society of Ireland included three questions about radon in their Conditions of Sale document which is used when homes are sold. This means that if you are selling your home your solicitor will ask you three questions about radon:
1. Has a radon test been carried out?
2. If a radon test has been carried out, please supply the report.
3. Has any action to reduce radon levels been undertaken?
This information will then be passed on to the buyer's solicitor. If the buyer has any concerns their solicitor will advise that they get expert advice. So the EPA recommends that you test your home before selling it. There is however, no requirement for you to test your home for radon before selling it.