Radon Gas

What is Radon Gas?

Radon gas is created when uranium in the soil decays. The gas then seeps through any access point into a home. Common entry points are cracks in the foundation, poorly sealed pipes, drainage or any other loose point. Once in the home, the gas can collect in basements and other low lying, closed areas and build up over time to dangerous levels. EPA radon exposure guidelines define 4 pico curies per liter as the safe level. Radon exposure over a period of years can have a significant and detrimental effect.

Where is radon found?

Radon has been found in homes in all 50 states. Certain areas are more susceptible than others (EPA Radon Map), but no location is immune. Concentrations of radon causing materials in the soil can be either natural or manmade. Homes built near historic mining operations may be at higher risk.

Though colorless, odorless, and undetectable by your average human, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. The only way to know for sure is to have your home tested.

Radon Tests – Testing Radon Levels

There are two types of radon tests: active and passive. Active devices constantly measure the levels of radon in a portion of the home and display those results. Passive devices collect samples over a period of time to be taken away and analyzed. Either method can help you determine your level of risk.

We use a passive test unit. A testing device is left in the lowest level of the home which is normally occupied over a period of 48 hours. This eliminates crawl spaces under the house, but includes finished or unfinished basements. The results are then analyzed by a lab. If the test comes back with elevated levels, we can recommend an environmental testing firm that can perform more extensive active tests. The EPA radon website provides information on finding appropriate resources.

Radon Mitigation Systems

If high concentrations of radon are found in your home, you have several options. Since radon is only a problem when it is concentrated in high volume, improving the ventilation in an area is often sufficient to solve the problem. In other cases, it may be necessary to limit the amount of radon getting into the home by sealing or otherwise obstructing the access points. Once again, a professional should be engaged to ensure that the radon is effectively blocked. Typical radon mitigation systems can cost between $800 and $2500, according to the EPA.

Home Radon Gas Detection – Test Before You Buy

If you’re buying or selling a home, radon can be a significant issue. Buyers should be aware of the radon risk in their area and determine whether a radon test is desirable. When in doubt, the EPA always recommends testing. If test results already exist, make sure they are recent or that the home has not been significantly renovated since the test was performed. If in doubt, get a new test done. If you’re selling a home, having a recent radon test is a great idea. By being proactive, you can assure potential buyers that there is no risk and avoid the issue from the start.

Whether you have an old home or a new one, radon is a health hazard with a simple solution. Proper testing and mitigation will help you to eliminate radon as a health threat. For more information, visit the EPA radon website.

Radon Home Inspection – Radon Gas Inspection Service

As a general home inspection service provider we do provide radon inspection service but not remediation services for radon gas.  In the New York City area radon is not a significant problem. We can offer a simple passive test that will indicate if further testing is necessary.  The cost of this inspection service is $115.