January has been designated as National Radon Action Month by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To support the efforts of the EPA, we wanted to take the opportunity to provide you with some useful information about radon gas in your home, how much is considered dangerous to your health, and what you should do about it.
Radon is an odorless, colorless and tasteless radioactive gas found in rock, soil and water that naturally gets released when uranium decays. Radon gas seeps through cracks in your foundation, so most homes will have higher levels of radon in the basement and lower levels.
Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., with an estimated 21,000 radon-related deaths each year. There are no standard medical screening tests to detect radon exposure. Testing your home is the only way to know if radon levels are high. You can’t predict the amount of radon in your home based on how old or new your home is; it depends on the ground on which it is built.
Radon is measured in picoCuries per liter of air (or pCi/L). The EPA recommends that homes with levels at or above 4 pCI/L be mitigated.
Don't assume that because your area does not have high levels of radon on average, that your particular home falls within the average. You can have neighbors that have low radon, but because of where uranium deposits are found naturally underground, you can still have dangerously high levels in your property.
The good news is that testing for radon is easy and inexpensive. Most home inspectors and radon mitigation providers will conduct a radon test in your home at a very reasonable cost. And, if you find your home has higher than safe radon levels, the problem can be solved by a relatively simple solution.
Most mitigation systems can reduce radon exposure by 99 percent. Radon problems can be fixed by a certified contractor at costs ranging from approximately $1,200 to $1,500, depending on the home's design, size, foundation, construction materials and the local climate.
If you are buying a home, having a radon test done as part of the home inspection process is highly recommended. If the home has higher than safe levels of radon, you should know about it now, and can possibly negotiate with the seller to have the mitigation done as a condition of the sale. If you are building a home, discuss radon mitigation with your builder. Your builder can take steps during the building process to eliminate the potential health hazard of high radon levels in your new home.
As always, contact us any time you have questions or need help