Home Inspection – Radon Information

radonI just completed training for Radon Measurement which we will soon be offering as a stand alone service and as an add on to the home inspection. Here are a couple items of information that may be of interest to you. Like CO2, Radon is colorless and odorless so its presence cannot be detected by humans. Radon is a dangerous gas that usually works its way into the home due to pressure differences between the soil and the home. At what level does it become dangerous? Well the EPA recommends mitigation when levels are 4 pCi/L and higher. How did they come to this conclusion? This is interesting…. this is somewhat of an arbitrary number. In the mid 70’s the US Dept of Energy was involved with some properties that were located in close proximity to a Uranium mine in Grand Junction, CO. Radon levels were high in the homes and in the process of trying to mitigate the radon levels the lowest they could get them to was 4 pCi/L. Hence we know use that as a bench mark. Why I am not sure, the EPA also states that a level of 10 pCi/L is equivalent of smoking 1 pack of cigarettes a day in regards to lung damage. So the bench mark level of 4 pCi/L equates to just short of a 1/2 pack a day… Make sense?! Mitigators strive to get the level down to around 1 or 2 pCi/L. If your home has a dirt crawl space it is especially important to have your home tested. This is a very easy route for Radon to get into a home, it is like electricity it will take the path of least resistance.

There are two popular ways to test for Radon in the home. The passive way (carbon canisters, etc) and active monitors such as continuous radon monitors. The passive approach is active but it is very easy to tamper with this type of test which can give false readings (hint: not all sellers want to pay for a mitigation system). The CRM method is much harder to tamper with as the monitors usually have motion sensors on them which can show movement of the monitor and they will also give an hour by hour reading which can be analyzed for tampering. The CRM also gives an overall average of the test time which is the number we are after. Typically short term tests are done for 2- 7 days. You can do long term tests which are more accurate but it can take 90+ days to get the results which doesn’t always work with schedules. Typically either of these tests will cost between $100-$200.

It is a very good idea to get your home tested as this radiation can have detrimental health effects over time. Radon is estimated to be responsible for 21,000 deaths in the USA every year. Far more than home fires. You wouldn’t take all your smoke detectors out of your home would you? If you are interested in getting your home tested get in touch with us and we will work out the details.

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