You’ve tested your home for radon as we keep urging you to, and, surprise! You discover your levels are dangerously high. Now what?
First, relax: you’re not alone. One in 15 homes across the country tests positive for dangerous levels of radon, an invisible, odorless gas that causes lung cancer.
Radon is a radioactive gas emitted naturally from the ground. However, when radon gets trapped indoors—after entering a home through joints in walls, basement floors, foundations, and other openings—it may concentrate at dangerous levels. And exposure to high levels of radon can cause lung cancer. In fact, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, responsible for an estimated 21,000 deaths each year in the United States, contributing to lung cancer’s status as the #1 cancer killer.
Fortunately, once you’ve identified that you have a problem, there are several concrete steps you can take as a homeowner:
Conduct a Radon Test
All homeowners should test their homes for radon. Radon has been found in all 50 states and all types of houses, so it is impossible to predict which homes are safe without conducting a test.
Home sellers should also test their homes when preparing to sell. This helps home sellers take proactive steps to mitigate radon and avoid unexpected delays and repairs later in the home selling process.
Likewise, homebuyers should add professional radon testing to the home inspection. If the results show elevated levels of radon, steps can be taken to negotiate for radon mitigation or adjust the sales price to cover repairs before closing the deal.
Short-term Radon Test Kit
You can buy a Short-Term DIY Radon Test kit at hardware stores and home improvement centers. While these home radon test kits may seem like an easy option, they are not as accurate as radon tests conducted by professionals. Not only is professional testing equipment better, but test placement in the home is also important. When placing the equipment yourself, you lose out on the benefits of a professional’s experience and knowledge and the accuracy suffers as a result.
Continuous Radon Tests
Continuous Radon Tests are conducted through devices that measure the concentration of radon over a period of time, typically 48 hours (about 2 days). Professional inspectors will place the device(s) in the home strategically, based on the home configuration. The device will monitor the radon levels over 48 hours while reducing or eliminating interference or “measurement noise” that can result in false results. The inspector collects the device after 48 hours and provides a report based on the measurements taken by this state-of-the-art and sophisticated device.
Long-Term Radon Tests
Long-term tests tend to more be accurate than short-term ones because they use alpha particle tracking to determine radon levels. These tests collect radon gas for a period of three months to a year. This test is mostly recommended for homes located in high-risk regions.
If radon is identified in your home, you should take steps to reduce radon levels. Sealing cracks in walls and floors using plaster or caulk can help mitigate gas levels. In addition, you can get a radon mitigation system installed. A simple radon mitigation system uses pipes and fans to remove the gas out from beneath the foundation before it can enter your home.
The radon mitigation system cost can range anywhere between $800 and $1500, depending on your home’s design, size, foundation, construction quality, and climatic conditions.
That’s it! You might have thought the process would be time-consuming, expensive, and complicated, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. Pricing to install a radon mitigation system will of course vary based on home size and region, but most people find the final price is reasonable for the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ve prevented yourself and your loved ones from breathing in dangerous levels of cancer-causing radon gas.