If high radon levels have been discovered in your home, there's no doubt it's time to step into action. Radon is a radioactive gas and a leading cause of lung cancer, which means that you and your family are at risk of developing lung cancer if you do not get rid of the radon. As dire as this news bulletin may sound, the good news is that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that you can reduce the radon levels in your home by up to 99 percent with a radon reduction system. And you can augment this effort by sealing and ventilating your home.

Children Using Tablet
credit: Dejan Ristovski/iStock/Getty Images
Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of radon.

Step 1

Hire a certified radon specialist. Contact the radon office in your state for a list of certified radon contractors, who can discern the scope of your home's radon problem. Heed the cautionary words of the EPA: "Lowering high radon levels requires technical knowledge and special skills. You should use a contractor who is trained to fix radon problems. A qualified contractor can study the radon problem in your home and help you pick the right treatment method."

Step 2

Study the various radon reduction systems so that you can help made an educated decision. Radon surges through the ground and enters a home through gaps, cracks and cavities in floors, walls and pipes. It also can seep in through water via a private well – far less often through a public water supply. Once radon enters a home, it stays there – until it's removed. One of the most effective radon reduction systems is known as an "active soil depressurization system." It works by pulling radon from the soil – before it has a chance to enter a home. Such a system can be installed inside a home – and vented through the roof – or affixed to the exterior. A certified radon specialist can inspect your home for every detail and recommend the correct system. For example, if your home is built on gravel, it will be easier to pull air through the soil than if it were built on clay.

Step 3

Caulk cracks in your home's foundation, walls, lowest-level floors and other openings. Seal the lid of your sump pump, too.

Step 4

Keep the windows in the lowest level of your home open. If temperatures make this difficult, set up a window fan so that it pulls outdoor air indoors.