How Radon Enters a Home
Radon is a gas that is created through the radioactive decay of uranium, which is present underground in rocks and soil. Radon gas seeps up through the soil and can enter a house through cracks in the foundation or other small openings. High levels of radon in the home are dangerous over an extended period of time.
The Dangers of High Levels of Radon
Radon is a cancer-causing gas that can be inhaled or ingested through drinking water. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Surgeon General’s office, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the US following tobacco use. Up to 20,000 deaths in the United States are attributed to radon gas exposure each year.
Tests to Detect High Levels of Radon Gas
Radon gas is invisible to the naked eye, odorless, and has no taste. A professional test is needed to determine whether there are high levels of radon in a home. Cheap DIY tests are available for purchase, but their accuracy does not match experienced professional radon testing. With an issue as serious as radon, it is best to hire a professional who has advanced testing equipment and who is well-trained in using it.
Is There a Safe Level of Radon?
No level is absolutely safe. Radon levels are measured in picocuries. The EPA has set the action level at 4 pCi/L or higher, meaning if your levels are this high, you should take mitigation measures. Concentrations above 4 pCi/L are considered high levels of radon and indicate an increased cancer risk for occupants.
What Can Be Done to Lower High Levels of Radon?
The EPA and other organizations have recommendations to reduce high levels of radon in the home. Mitigation measures consist of sealing cracks and installing radon mitigation equipment. One method is referred to as “soil suction”. In this method, radon is drawn from soil under the home and diverted to the outside through a vent pipe system.
Pricing for radon mitigation services ranges between a few hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars, depending on the contractor and the level of mitigation needed.