Today we've got a myth about radon we want to address that we hear every once in a while: Can you smell radon? Some people say you can, but that's a myth.
What is Radon?
Radon is an odorless, colorless soil gas. Different parts of the country experience higher or lower levels of radon in their soil, so depending on where you live, you may need to check for radon.
Keep in mind that anybody that's telling you that you can smell a radon issue in order to sell a product is very likely lying to you.
Why Does My Crawl Space Smell?
If you've noticed smells in your crawl space, radon is not the cause. However, there are several other soil gases that come from the crawl space, such as methane and VOCs, that do have an odor.
You could also be having smells in your crawl space due to mold, rodents and pests, or organic debris left in the crawl space.
How To Address Radon In The Crawl Space
So what do you do if you have a radon problem in your crawl space?
One thing we hear on occasion is some people recommend putting crawl space vapor barrier down to prevent radon. Well, crawl space vapor barrier is a vapor (moisture) barrier, not a gas barrier.
Crawl space vapor barrier has the potential to reduce the amount of soil gas that makes its way into your crawl space, but it certainly will not prevent it. So just like how you still need a dehumidifier in your crawl space to control humidity, you also need some type of radon mitigation system or ventilation installed to prevent soil gas build up.
We always recommend checking with your local building code when it comes to addressing soil gases. Every state has more or less strict requirements with it comes to radon mitigation.
We hope this information was helpful to you! Be sure to read some of our other myths that we've covered in this series and let us know what you think.