Radon is a radioactive gas that has been found in homes and buildings all over America. The EPA believes radon can cause some kinds of cancer and lung illness. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe. A human cannot taste, smell, touch or feel radon. Typically, radon moves through the ground to the air above and into you home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. In some cases, your home/building can retain/trap radon. It doesn‘t matter where you live. Any home/building can have radon in it–whether it is new or old, drafty or caulked tight as a drum. In fact, you and your family are most likely to get your greatest radiation exposure at home because this is where most of your time is spent (sleeping, eating, etc.). Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the U.S.is estimated to have elevated radon levels. For more information about radon, see our Radon Resource Page.
If the home has not yet been tested for radon….
It is probably a good idea to consider a radon test whether you are buying or selling a home. Chances are if your company relocates you, they will want a radon test performed on your home. Having a radon test is an inexpensive price to pay to ensure your home/building is safe for you and your family.
What should I do if they find elevated radon levels?
The EPA recommends that you take action to reduce your home’s indoor levels if your radon test results is 4pCi/L or higher. If you are selling your home, it is suggested that you have these levels reduced prior to listing it. However, if elevated levels are found during the real estate transaction, the buyer and seller should discuss the timing and costs of the radon reduction, as with any aspect discovered during due diligence.
The cost to correct high radon levels depends on how you home was built and other factors. Most homes can be fixed for about the same costs as other common home repairs, like replacing rotten wood or replacing a water heater. The average cost for a Qualified Radon Mitigation Professional to lower radon levels in a home is about $2,000, although this can range from $500 to about $4,000.
Okay…I want my house or building tested for radon…what happens now?
Following EPA standards, please note that you will be required to keep your windows and doors closed (except for normal entry and exit) for a time period of at least 12 hours prior to the test. The EPA suggests that a radon test be conducted for a time frame of 48 hours to 7 days. During the test, all windows and doors must be kept closed except for normal entry and exit of doors. The testing canisters are placed on a table approximately 3-4 feet above the floor near the center of the house and must be placed at the lowest living space. At the end of the testing period the test canisters will be sent express delivery to a Laboratory for testing. This process typically takes 2 days. Laboratory testing is the most reliable. Beware that mechanical testing has proven to show faulty results typically due to user error.