About Radon and Radon Testing

 

Radon is a Cancer-Causing, Radioactive Gas

Radon cannot be seen. It has no smell, and no taste. But it may become a problem in your home.
Radon is estimated to cause countless deaths (many thousands) each year. When you breathe air containing radon, you can get lung cancer. The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today; only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths. Also, if you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.

Radon TestingHow Does Radon get Into Your Home?

Radon is a radioactive gas and it comes from the natural decay of uranium, which is found in nearly all soils. Typically, it moves up through the ground to the air above and then into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home traps the radon inside, where it can easily build up. It is possible for any home to have a radon problem. This includes new and old homes, well sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements.
The main cause of radon problems is radon from soil gas. Sometimes radon can enter the home through well water. In a small amount of homes, the building materials can give off radon as well. However, building materials rarely cause radon problems on their own.
Almost 1 out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have high radon levels. High levels of radon gas have been found in your state. Though radon problems may be more common in some area, it is possible for any home to have a problem. The only way to know if your home is safe from radon is to test it. Radon can also be a problem in schools and in workplaces.

Radon in Water

The soil and water supply are the two main sources for the radon in your home’s indoor air. Compared to radon coming into the home through water, radon entering your home through soil is usually a much larger risk.
The radon that can come in through your water supply poses an inhalation risk and an ingestion risk. Research shows that your risk of lung cancer from breathing in radon air is much larger than your risk of contracting stomach cancer from swallowing water with radon in it. Most of the risk from radon being in water comes from the radon released into the air when water is used for showering and other household purposes.
When its source is surface water, radon in your home’s water is not usually a problem. A radon in water problem is more likely to occur when its source is ground water, for example: a private well or a public water supply system that uses ground water. If you are concerned that radon might be coming into your home through the water, and your water comes from a public water supplier, you should contact your water supplier.
If you have tested your private well and do have a radon problem in your water, it can be fixed. There are two ways that your home’s water supply can be treated. The point-of-entry treatment can effectively remove radon from the water before it can enter your home. The point-of-use treatment devices can remove radon from your water at the tap, but only treat a small portion of the water you use and are not effective in reducing the risk from breathing radon released into the air from all water used in the home.

You Should Do  Radon Testing

Radon testing is the only way to know for sure if you and your family are at risk from radon. The Surgeon General and EPA recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon. EPA also recommends testing to be done in schools.
Testing is not expensive and its easy-it should take a few minutes of your time. Millions of people have already tested their homes for radon.

You Can Fix a Radon Problem

A radon reduction system works, and is not too costly. Some systems can reduce radon levels in your home by up to 99%. Even exceedingly high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels.

How to Lower the Radon Level in your Home

There is no known safe level of radon, so there can always be a risk. But the risk can be lowered by reducing the radon level in your home.
There are many proven methods to reduce radon in your home, but the primary one used is a vent pipe system and fan, which can pull radon from underneath the house and then vents it to the outside. This system, which is known as a soil suction radon reduction system, does not require major changes to your home. Sealing all foundation cracks and other openings makes this system more effective and cost-efficient. Similar systems can be installed as well in houses with crawl spaces. Radon contractors can use other techniques that can also work in your home. The right system also depends on the design of your home and other factors.
The price of reducing radon in your home depends on how your home was built and the extent of your radon problem. Most homes are able to be fixed for about the same cost as other common home repairs. The average home costs about $1,200 for a contractor to come and fix, although this can range from about $800 to around $2,500. The cost would be much less if a passive system was installed during construction.

New Homes can be Built with Radon-Resistant Features

Radon-resistant construction techniques can be effective in preventing radon from entering a site. When they are installed properly and completely, these simple and inexpensive techniques can help reduce indoor radon levels in homes. Also, installing them at the time of construction makes it easier and much less expensive to reduce radon levels further if these passive techniques do not reduce radon levels to below 4 pCi/L. Even if it was built radon-resistant, every new home should be tested after occupancy. If radon levels stay in excess of 4 pCi/L, the passive system should be activated by having a qualified mitigator to install a vent fan.