Radon - What is it? Why is it important to get your home tested?
Updated: Jan 20
What if there was a lethal gas that was responsible for 21,000 deaths per year in your home today? More than likely, there is such a gas in your home in Colorado. That gas is called Radon. You have probably heard the word rado around in the news lately. What is it? Why should the average homeowner / renter be concerned?
Simply stated, radon is a cancer causing radioactive gas that has a high probability of being found in every home in America. It is odorless, can’t be seen, and can’t be tasted. Scientifically radon is radioactive gas. It comes from the natural decaying uranium or thorium found in nearly all soils. It moves up through the ground and into the home through cracks in floors, walls and foundations. It can also be released from building materials or from well water. Radon breaks down quickly, giving off radioactive particles. Long-term exposure to these particles can lead to lung cancer. Radon is measured in picocuries per liter (pCi/L). If a test result comes back at 4 pCi/L or higher, then you and your family could be at a greater risk of developing lung cancer. The EPA has been warning people of the severity of Radon for many years, saying that “Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to EPA estimates. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year.” (EPA, Health Risk of Radon) In 2005, Dr. Richard H. Carmona, the U.S. Surgeon General released a health advisory for radon gas. (Surgeon General Releases National Health Advisory On Radon) Radon is not something to take lightly and can cause significant damage to homeowners if not properly taken care of.
If you are buying a home, selling a home, or just want to make sure your home is safe for you family, call for a radon test. Radon levels can fluctuate and be different from home to home. There are many different factors that can cause the levels of radon to vary from that of another home only a mile away. Some of these factors include the soil content, moisture level, and efficiency of the home. If your results are below 4 pCi/L during testing, we advise you to retest every few years for fluctuation in levels. Radon released from the ground can change with the seasons. If the levels are between 2.0 pCi/L and 4.0 pCi/L then we will suggest that action be taken.
Here at accurate property inspection, we will set the radon machine and leave it for 48 hours to collect data. At the end of the 48 hours, we receive a calculation of the average pCi/L. If the results are over 4.0 pCi/L, we highly recommend that the homeowner gets their home mitigated by a mitigation company. We often hear, “we have a passive system, we should be fine.” Even with a passive system in place in a home, we have found large numbers that come back with high radon levels. You can never be too safe, even when you think you have everything covered. If you look at the EPA’s interactive map, you will find Colorado is covered by red ink. This indicates counties having radon levels over 4 pCi/L.
There are a couple ways to remedy the problem with the most popular and well known being a vent pipe system with a fan installed. This pulls radon from beneath the house and vents it to the outside. This system, known as a soil depressurization system, does not make major changes to your home. Sealing foundation cracks and other openings makes in the home this kind of system more effective.
To set up your radon test today call us at 970-667-6973
If you want to learn more about radon you can go to the EPA’s website for more facts and information.
If you are buying or selling a home and want more information go to the Home Buyer’s and Seller’s Guide to Radon.
Written by Austin Dyer - Inspector/Manager