What is radon?
Radon is a tasteless, odorless gas occurs naturally by rising up through the earth. As radon gas moves up through the soil, it can enter your home due to air pressure differences. Radon levels are often highest in basements, since the gas moves up through the earth.
To find out if you have radon in your home, you must perform a radon test. This can be done by purchasing a radon test kit at a home improvement store or by hiring a home-inspector, or other professional, to perform a radon test.
Radon tests typically involve placing a canister or testing system in the lower level of the house for 48-hours. The canisters are then removed and “read” or sent away to determine results, depending on the type of testing. Some radon tests do take longer than 48-hours so be sure to read any directions carefully.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has determined a radon result below 4.0 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) is an acceptable and safe radon level. If a radon reading above 4.0 pCi/L is received, it is recommended that radon mitigation steps be taken.
How do I get rid of radon in my home?
To eliminate radon from your home, you should contact a licensed radon mitigation company to install a radon mitigation system. Typically, a radon mitigation systems involves installation of a series of piping along with a fan, that work together to remove the radon from the air and get it outside of the home.
The location of the fan, piping, and other other necessary parts of the system will vary depending on the home’s radon level, layout and size of the home, and home construction. Most radon mitigation companies will work with home owners to place the radon system in a manner that is ascetically pleasing whenever possible.
Radon mitigation systems are not always effective on the first try. It is a good idea to re-test your radon levels after a mitigation system is installed to make sure the levels are in fact below the EPA guidelines (proving the system is working). Many radon mitigation companies will provide you with instructions or the needed equipment to retest the levels.
If radon levels do not drop below 4.0 pCi/L, additional modifications are often needed to the radon system. This could include the addition of more piping or an additional fan.
Other important facts about radon
Some companies offer guarantees with their radon systems, meaning that any additional work needed to bring the level below 4.0 pCi/L is included in the original pricing. With many other companies, each additional modification means additional cost. Be sure to ask your radon company up front if they offer any guarantees on the system. This can potentially save you hundreds or thousands of dollars.
No matter what type of home you have – single family, semi-detached, townhome – it is possible to have radon. It’s possible to have radon with any age home, including one that has just been built, as well as in homes without basements.
Radon testing is also something that can be done when you are purchasing a new home. Make sure to discuss your options with your realtor prior to writing a contract.