It’s easy and cost-effective to test your home for radon. Radon levels should be fixed if there are 4 picocuries per liter or higher found in the home. While other levels still pose a risk, the cases of health issues as a result of those numbers are significantly lower than those with higher than 4 picocuries per liter in their living space. Radon is estimated to cause thousands of lung cancer deaths each year in the United States.
You can’t taste, see or smell radon. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in rock, water and soil and can be in the air you breathe. It is found all over the country and gets into any type of building. Testing is the only way for you and your family to know if you are at risk for radon.
Radon Reduction Systems
Radon reduction systems do work and aren’t too expensive. Some systems can reduce levels in the house by up to 99%. Even high levels of radon can be reduced to acceptable levels. New construction can even be built with radon-resistant features, which prevent radon entry. When it is installed properly, these inexpensive techniques help reduce indoor radon levels in a home. Every new home should be tested after occupancy.
How does Radon Get Into A Home?
A home can trap radon inside. It moves through the ground
into the air above it and into a home through holes or cracks in a foundation. Radon can even come from soil gas, which is the main cause of this issue. It can even enter a home through well water. The building materials of a home also can give off radon.
Sources of Radon
- Cracks in walls;
- Gaps in floors, service pipes and inside walls;
- Cracks in solid floors;
- Construction joints;
- Water supply
Ultimately nearly 1 of every 15 homes has elevated radon levels.
Testing Your Home for Radon
Testing is simple and takes just a few minutes of time. The amount of radon in the air is measured in picocuries per liter or air. A qualified tester can even do the testing for you or there are many do-it-yourself tests the average person can use.
Short Term Testing
These short-term tests check radon levels throughout the day and from season to season. A more long-term test can tell you your yearly radon average and you can see when levels rise and fall throughout the year.
What Do Test Results Mean
The average indoor radon levels is estimated at approximately 1.3 pCi/L. Sometimes short-term tests aren’t clear whether or not your home is above the 4 pCi/L dangerous level. If your living patterns change, you should retest many times a year.
Testing Your Water
The water supply is one of the main sources of radon in a home. This poses both an ingestion and inhalation risk. Radon in the home’s water is usually from surface water, ground water from a public water supply or private well in particular. Test your private well if you have a radon problem. A home’s water supply can be treated with point-of-entry treatment, which can remove radon from the water before it enters a home or with point-of-use treatment devices, which removes radon from the water at the tap.
How to Lower Radon Levels in a Home
A vent pipe system and fan successfully pulls radon from under the house and vents it to the outside. This system is known as a soil suction radon reduction system and doesn’t require major changes to a home or its foundation. Another effective way of lowering radon levels is by sealing all foundation cracks and/or openings. Radon contractors or professional home inspectors can also use other ways to reduce radon in a home.
Ultimately the cost of reducing radon in a home depends on the extent of the problem and when your home was built.
Myths About Radon
1. Radon testing is time consuming, hard and expensive.
This isn’t true and it is cheap, fast and can easily be done by the average Joe.
2. Homes with radon issues can’t be fixed easily.
Once again this isn’t true. There are many solutions to radon issues in a home. Many homes can be fixed for the same cost as standard home repairs.
3. Radon only affects certain homes.
Not true. No matter when a home was constructed, they can all have issues with radon.
4. Radon is only a problem in part of the United States.
No. High radon levels have been found in every state in this country.
5. If my neighbor has high radon, I will too.
Not necessarily. The only way to know is to have your radon levels checked in your own home.
6. Everyone should test their water supply for radon.
Yes you should. It’s important to test the air first; however testing water is just as important.
7. Short-term tests can’t be used for making a major decision on whether you should fix your home.
Yes and no. Many experts suggest testing again to compare results in order to determine whether remedies need to be made to the home.
Ultimately, radon is scary. It can cause lifetime health risks and is easy to test for and to treat. By taking action sooner rather than later, you can protect your investment (your home) and your life. Hire a professional inspector to check radon levels and to suggest cost-effective ways to treat your home if needed.