Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas, you can’t see or smell, that can cause lung cancer. The only way to find out if there is Radon in your home, is to test the home. Testing is always recommended—especially if you are purchasing a home. It also can’t hurt to test your home before you put it on the market—this will eliminate any unwanted surprises during the home purchase and inspection process and give you ample opportunity to correct the problem.
Radon is measured in picocuries. If the radon level is 4 picocuries per liter, or pCi/L, or higher, then the home must be fixed before you move in. Radon levels less than 4 pCi/L still pose a risk, and in many cases, may be reduced. This gas can be a little tricky, though. It is found in every state, but can vary in levels among homes in the same neighborhood. However, since it is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, it is a serious risk factor to be tested for. The good news is that it can be fixed!
What Can I Do?
There are a number of steps you can take to reduce the risk of Radon in your home. For a good overview about Radon, and a comprehensive list of resources visit the EPA’s website. This site contains valuable information about Radon.
If there is Radon detected, you can install a Radon mitigation system. A radon mitigation system reduces radon concentrations in the indoor air of a building. The home’s foundation will help to determine which system will work best. Always consult with a professional who is licensed for Radon mitigation.
The licenses professional will preform some diagnostic tests before determining the best system for your situation. Usually, a fan is installed which will continuously pull air from the soil and exhaust it outdoors via a pipe. Additionally, cracks in the foundation are sealed. If you have a crawl space, plastic sheets are used to cover exposed earth and extended up the wall and sealed. In this case, a radon pipe is also used to vent the gas outside.
How much does it cost?
Cost is always the unknown factor due to geographic location, severity of the radon problem, and local costs for materials. Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from 1,500 to 2,500 for a radon mitigation system.
Once you have a system installed and the Radon levels are reduced—your new home (or present home) is safe to live! Remember, this is a naturally occurring gas and being safe and testing, then following your professionals recommendations—is the best course of action!