Radon is here to stay and is a major health risk, we want to help our clients understand radon and what their options are. Radon has existed since the beginning of time and occurs in the ground naturally from the breakdown in uranium in the soil. The colorless, odorless gas that is drawn into our homes through cracks in the foundation is undetectable to humans. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), high radon can be found in homes in all 50 states.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH RISKS?
According to EPA estimates, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer next to smoking. Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. On January 13, 2005, Dr. Richard H. Carmona, the U.S. Surgeon General issued a national health advisory on radon. To understand if a home is at risk of high radon concentrations, we recommend radon testing by a professional.
WHICH HOMES NEED TESTING?
High radon can be found in homes of all types: old homes, new homes, drafty homes, insulated homes, homes with basements and homes without. Even homes right next door to each other can have different concentrations of radon. According to the EPA, elevated levels of radon– more than 4.0 pCi/L (pico curies per liter) have been found in every state. Recommending a radon test by a professional will protect buyers both from the potential health effects of living in a home with high radon and from the financial impact of paying for a mitigation system should their home test high when they sell it.
HOW DOES RADON TESTING WORK?
A testing device is set in the home to monitor the radon concentration over a period of time (usually 2-5 days). Then, the results are analyzed by a professional. Radon testing is not obtrusive to the homeowner, the testing device is typically placed in an area that won’t impact the current owners. Normal exit and entry to the home is permitted during testing, but the testing professional will advise the homeowner of simple steps to take for “closed house conditions” to ensure the radon test is conducted properly. An expert will evaluate your test and will advise you of the radon level in your home.
WHAT IF THE RADON TEST INDICATES A HIGH CONCENTRATION?
The good news is that even if a home has high radon levels, radon mitigation is relatively simple. Qualified radon mitigation contractors can install a radon mitigation system that provides a permanent solution. A typical radon mitigation system includes a suction point that addresses the soil under the structure. A pipe is sealed in the home, which forms a suction point. The pipe is routed out of the structure and terminated around the eave line. A continuously operating fan is placed in the pipe outside the living area. The fan maintains suction on the soil under the structure, thus preventing the structure from drawing the radon indoors. Typical radon mitigation systems can cost between $800 and $2500 depending on your home’s structure and the contractor selected to perform the work.