What Is Radon? Do Air Purifiers Remove Radon?

Last Updated on April 18, 2024

Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas, is a concerning indoor air pollutant. It can pose serious health risks and even cause lung cancer. 

In the quest for a healthier life, many wonder that do air purifiers remove Radon.

Sadly, standard air purifiers are not designed to remove radon gas. Radon requires specialized mitigation techniques such as sealing cracks, improving ventilation, or installing a dedicated radon mitigation system.

Keep scrolling through the article, and I will explain why air purifiers cannot help you in this case and what you can do for a safer environment. 

What Is Radon – Details

Radon gas is a naturally occurring radioactive gas resulting from uranium’s decay in soil, rock, and water. The gas seeps into buildings through gaps in walls, floors, and other entry points. 

Exposure to high levels of Radon for a long time is a leading cause of lung cancer. 

The radioactive particles emitted by Radon can get inhaled and become trapped in your lungs.

Sources of Radon Gas

Radon gas can enter indoor environments through various sources, both natural and human-made. Here are the key sources of Radon:

Soil and Rock

Radon gas is primarily generated from the natural decay of uranium in soil and rocks. Uranium is a common element found in the Earth’s crust. As uranium breaks down, it produces radon gas as a byproduct. 

Homes on soil with high uranium content are particularly susceptible to radon infiltration. Soil characteristics, such as porosity and moisture levels, can also affect radon levels.


Radon can enter indoor environments through water sources, such as private wells. Radon is soluble in water, and when groundwater contains elevated radon concentrations.

It can be released into the air when water is used for showering, washing dishes, or laundry. The release of radon gas from water contributes to indoor radon levels.

Construction Materials

Some construction materials can contain trace amounts of radioactive elements like uranium, thorium, or radium. These materials include concrete, brick, granite, and certain types of stone. 

Radon can be released from these materials over time when they come into contact with indoor air or are used in areas with poor ventilation. 

The Radon emitted from construction materials can contribute to elevated indoor radon levels.

Human Activities

Human activities can inadvertently contribute to increased radon levels indoors. Excavating or disturbing soil during construction or landscaping activities can release radon gas. 

Improper ventilation practices, such as obstructing or sealing off airflow in buildings, can result in the accumulation of Radon. It is essential to ensure proper ventilation in buildings to minimize radon buildup.

Radon Hotspots

Certain geographical regions have a higher prevalence of elevated radon levels due to the underlying geological composition. 

These “radon hotspots” have higher concentrations of uranium in the soil and rocks.

The geological characteristics of an area, such as the presence of granite or shale formations, can contribute to higher radon levels.

Why Air Purifiers Cannot Remove Radon?

While air purifiers are effective at removing many indoor pollutants, they are not explicitly designed to remove Radon because:

Radon is a Gas

Radon gas is highly mobile and can quickly move through various materials, including walls, floors, and ceilings. 

Unlike particulate pollutants that air purifiers are designed to capture, radon gas can permeate through these barriers. It is making it challenging for air purifiers to remove it from the air effectively.

Size of Radon Particles

Radon gas consists of tiny radioactive particles known as radon progeny or decay products. These particles are extremely small, ranging from 0.1 to 1 micrometer. 

Most air purifiers, even those equipped with HEPA filters, are not designed to capture particles as small as radon progeny. They are highly efficient at capturing particles down to 0.3 microns in size, but they are not effective at capturing the smaller radon progeny particles.

Radon Entry Points

Radon can enter indoor spaces through various entry points. Air purifiers typically operate within a specific space and cannot control the entry of radon gas from outside sources or water sources. 

These entry points must be properly sealed or mitigated through specialized techniques to effectively reduce radon levels.

Radon Mitigation Techniques

Radon mitigation requires specific techniques tailored to the characteristics of the building and the radon levels present. Common mitigation techniques include soil depressurization, sub-slab suction, and radon sump systems.

These methods are designed to redirect the flow of radon gas and prevent its entry into living spaces. Air purifiers alone cannot replace or replicate the effectiveness of these specialized radon mitigation techniques.

Focus on Particulate Contaminants

Air purifiers are primarily designed to remove airborne particles such as dust, pollen, pet dander, and other allergens. They effectively capture and reduce the concentration of these particulate contaminants in the air. 

However, radon gas does not behave like particulate pollutants, and its removal requires different strategies.

Factors to Consider when Choosing an Air Purifier for Radon

When selecting an air purifier for radon mitigation, several factors should be considered, including the following:

● Look for air purifiers that offer radon-specific features or technologies. While air purifiers cannot eliminate radon gas, some models may include additional features that enhance radon reduction.

● Opt for air purifiers with high-quality filtration technology, such as HEPA filters. These filters are highly efficient in capturing and trapping airborne particles, including radon progeny particles. 

● Consider the energy efficiency of the air purifier. You should go for models with the ENERGY STAR label, as they meet strict energy efficiency guidelines. 

● Assess the room size and choose an air purifier suitable for the specific area. Ensure that the air purifier’s capacity matches the size of the space to achieve optimal results.

● Evaluate the maintenance requirements and filter replacement frequency of the air purifier. Regular maintenance, including filter cleaning or replacement, is essential for optimal performance. 

● Take into account user reviews and ratings to gauge the air purifier’s overall performance and customer satisfaction. 

Comparison of Various Air Purifiers for Radon

The following table will help you understand the effectiveness of different types of air purifiers commonly used for radon mitigation:

Air Purifier TypeDescriptionProsCons
HEPA FiltersHighly efficient in capturing small particles, including some radon progeny particles.Effectively capture particulate radon progenyNot designed specifically for radon gas; does not eliminate it
Activated CarbonEffective in adsorbing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including radon gas.Reduce odors and adsorb radon moleculesLimited effectiveness in capturing radon progeny particles
Radon-SpecificAir purifiers with radon-specific features or technologies aim to enhance radon reduction.May have specialized filters or technologies for radon gasLimited availability and higher cost than standard air purifiers
UVGIUltraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) air purifiers use UV light to deactivate microorganisms.Effective in killing bacteria and virusesNot specifically designed for radon gas; limited effectiveness
IonizersRelease negative ions that attach to airborne particles, making them heavier and fall to surfaces.Can help reduce radon progeny particles in the airNot designed to eliminate radon gas


While air purifiers are vital in improving indoor air quality by capturing and reducing airborne pollutants, they are not designed to eliminate radon gas entirely. 

Radon mitigation requires a comprehensive approach that includes sealing entry points, improving ventilation, and employing specialized radon mitigation systems. 

However, choosing an air purifier with radon-specific features, high-quality filtration technology like HEPA filters, appropriate air exchange rates, and a suitable coverage area can complement other mitigation efforts and contribute to overall indoor air quality. 

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Paul M Walker

I, Paul M Walker, am the founder and the author of this little site you are currently on. I work to provide readers with no-fuss and easy-to-follow solutions regarding common air purifier and humidifier problems.

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