The EPA and the Surgeon General Recommend That You Test Your Home for Radon
In the simplest terms, radon is a noble gas that is a by-product of uranium (a highly radioactive mineral) which is found in all rocks and soils. When someone is exposed to radon for long periods of time could cause lung cancer. In fact, lung cancer caused by radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer next to cigarette smoking.
Also, through geographical studies and the gathering of statistics, the EPA has designated three risk levels zones for radon exposure. Zone 1 is the highest risk factor. Most of Colorado is a zone 1 area; this means one out of every 15 homes in Colorado has radon levels above what the EPA considers to be safe for humans to breath. More information and statistics on this deadly gas is available at the EPA Citizen’s Guide to Radon.
Now you may ask, ‘if the radon levels are high how do I get rid of the gas?’ Radon mitigation is fairly simple and affordable. A system can be installed in most homes in one day. A simple PVC pipe system is installed by drilling one hole in the foundation floor, running a pipe to the exterior of the home and adding a low flow exhaust fan to draw the gas out of the sub-floor.
If you’re considering a radon test as part of a general home inspection, you will need two days for the test to be conducted and results to be reported. There are also few things you may want to consider:
“Testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon.”
If the home has a basement, there is a greater likelihood that radon gas could be penetrating the foundation floor and walls. Even if the basement is finished, there is still the same chance that higher radon levels are present. Also, a finished basement probably means your family will spend more time there. This would increase exposure if radon levels are dangerously high.
Homes with crawlspaces can produce high levels of radon which can seep through the subfloor. Many home builders today install mitigation piping during construction. Then, when the home is finished, a radon test is conducted and, if the radon level indicates mitigation is needed, the builder will simply activate the system by adding an exhaust fan.
The relatively inexpensive cost of a radon test will provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones. If you are looking to find the level of radon gas in your home, have a service professional perform the test. If a service provider performs the test, the results will then be documented. When you sell the home, you have proof a legitimate test was performed.