Radon Testing

What is Radon?

Radon gas is a colorless, odorless and tasteless radioactive gas. It is formed by the breakdown of uranium, a natural radioactive material found in soil, rock and groundwater.

What is the Threat of Radon?

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. In the United States, the EPA estimates that about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year are radon related.

How Does Radon Get Into the Home?

When radon is released from the ground into the outdoor air, it is diluted into low concentrations and is not a concern. Within homes, it typically moves up through the flooring system into other openings and moves between the ground and living spaces. Your home can also trap radon inside, where it then builds up over time. Any home may have a radon problem – this means new and old homes, well-sealed or drafty homes, even homes with or without basements. This means you can live in an area with fairly low environmental radon, but you could still have significant levels in your home.

Here are the most common ways that Radon can enter your home:

  • Construction joints
  • Water supply
  • Crack in the solid floors
  • Basement sump pumps
  • Crack in the walls
  • Fireplaces
  • Cavities inside walls
  • Pipe entrances
  • Gaps around service pipes

Radon inspections for your home

The primary defense against the dangers that radon poses to your home is having a home inspector test it to detect unsafe or elevated radon levels. Pillar To Post Home Inspectors will help you protect against these dangers by detecting Radon gas building up in your home. By employing state-of-the-art testing equipment Pillar To Post Home Inspectors can accurately measure radon levels in your house. Gathering the data and helping you to understand this phenomenon will provide peace of mind as you look to make your home healthy for your family. Radon testing is the crucial first step in mitigating this potential danger.

Who Should Have Their Home Tested for Radon?

Testing for radon is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk. The EPA and Surgeon General recommend all homes be tested below the third floor. It is estimated that 1 in every 15 homes in the United States has elevated levels of radon. While some areas of the county are at higher risk than others the EPA warns that any home could have an issue with radon levels that only testing will make clear.

The Natural Dangers and Health Risks of Radon

Radon is a by-product of uranium as it breaks down presenting itself as a naturally occurring gas. There is no way to stop the decay of uranium, and no way to prevent this in nature. The only defense against radon gas build up is mitigation, which begins with testing for unsafe levels of radon by a Pillar To Post Home Inspector. Our professional inspectors will perform a radon inspection or a Healthy Home Inspection in your home at any time whether you already own or are considering the purchase of a new house.

Radon is dangerous, and not a hazard you want to leave to chance. Carcinogens are categorized based on their individual risk factors to people. Radon is a Class 1 or 1A gas, this categorization is reserved for all agents, compounds or mixtures known to cause cancer. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the country and responsible for thousands of deaths each year. Prolonged exposure to radon gas causes cancer. Your Pillar To Post Home Inspector has the equipment and training necessary to accurately detect unsafe radon levels.

radon

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Myths and Facts about Radon

Some of the most commonly asked questions asked about Radon can be found below with the answers you need. Contact Pillar To Post Home Inspectors today to get answers to your questions surrounding radon build-up or radon inspections and get the piece of mind you deserve.

Yes, homes built on a slab can still have radon. Whether the home is old, new, insulated or not and regardless of construction materials it can have radon. All homes, regardless of type of construction, should be tested for radon once per year per the EPA and Health Canada.

Yes, all homes need to be tested for radon. Radon can still enter the home through floor penetrations and the HVAC system and accumulate to elevated levels in the home.

Since radon levels can change from town to town and even from home to home, radon maps should not be considered the definitive source for radon level information. The EPA and Health Canada suggest all homeowners test their home for radon even if they are not in the high risk zone and that the map should not be used in lieu when there is a real estate transaction. In fact, a home can test high for radon even if the house right next door tested low.

Yes, having a high radon level in the basement can affect you in other areas of the home by the gas moving through the home via air ducts for air conditioning and the furnace, as well as natural convection.

All homes regardless of new or old, single or multi story, slab or with basement can have radon.

Yes, even if a home has a radon mitigation system in it, you need to test your home for radon as the EPA and Health Canada suggests. Regular testing will ensure that the radon mitigation system is working effectively.

While the EPA and Health Canada suggest all homes should be tested for radon it also believes that currently they have insufficient data to conclude that the types of granite commonly used in countertops will significantly increase the indoor radon levels. Both EPA and Health Canada believe that the radon from granite will be insignificant.

No, testing can be done at any time of the year. Testing does require the home to have all of its windows and doors kept closed during the test, but central heating and air conditioning can operate. If the windows and doors cannot be kept closed during the test, it would be best to wait until the conditions allow for it.

Radon testing is done by a professional and at a relatively minor cost. Tests cost less than a few hundred dollars, and knowing the results should bring you significant peace of mind.

Less radon in your home is always better. Both the EPA and Health Canada recommend taking action above those levels, but for your own peace of mind, you should consider mitigation systems at any significant level of radon. Consult with your radon professional for more advice.

The only known health risk associated with exposure to high levels of radon in indoor air is an increased lifetime risk of developing lung cancer. The risk from radon exposure is long term and depends on the level of radon, how long a person is exposed and their smoking habits. If you are a smoker and are exposed to elevated levels of radon your risk of developing lung cancer increases significantly.

The cost of reducing radon in your house depends on how your home was built and the extent of the radon problem. The average radon remediation process, typically done using a contractor, will cost between $1,500 – $3,000. The cost is much less if a passive system was installed during construction.

Yes. The risk from radon exposure for a smoker (including those exposed to second hand smoke) is much greater than for a non-smoker. For example, if you are a lifelong smoker but are not exposed to radon, your risk of getting lung cancer is one in ten. If you add exposure to a high level of radon, your risk becomes one in three. On the other hand, if you are a non-smoker, your lifetime lung cancer risk at the same high radon level is only one in twenty.

Children have been reported to be at greater risk than adults for certain types of radiation exposure, but there is currently no conclusive data on whether children are at greater risk than adults from radon.

Research has shown that drinking water that contains radon is far less harmful than breathing radon. When the ground produces radon, it can dissolve and accumulate in water from underground sources, such as wells. When water that contains radon is agitated when used for daily household requirements, radon gas escapes from the water and goes into the air. The health risk is not from ingestion but from radon inhalation.

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