What is Radon?
Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive soil gas. It is colorless, odorless and tasteless. Radon is estimated to cause thousands of deaths each year. When you breathe radon-contaminated air, you are increasing your risk of lung cancer. In fact, the U.S. Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today — just behind smoking. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.
What is a “picocurie” (pCi/L)?
A picocurie is a unit of radon measurement. By definition, one picocurie is 2.22 disintegrations per minute within a liter of air.
How does Radon enter my house?
Radon is a radioactive gas. It comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above, then into your home through cracks and other openings in the foundation. Radon from soil is the main cause of elevated radon levels, but sometimes radon in homes may enter through well water. And in a small number of cases, home building materials can even give off radon.
Radon enters through:
- Cracks in solid floors
- Construction joints
- Cracks in walls
- Gaps in suspended floors
- Gaps around service pipes
- Cavities inside walls
- The water supply
Why use Radon Raiders to test my home for radon?
Regardless of the radon test method used (active or passive), the purpose of any radon test is to identify elevated radon levels. We use Femto-Tech continuous radon monitors, which are active tests. These monitors provide an accurate 48-hour radon test. Additional data such as barometric pressure, relative humidity, temperature and tampering is also indicated on the printout, which is available on site. Because it offers these advantages, a continuous radon monitor is always more accurate and quicker than a passive radon test. In addition, operators must be licensed to conduct this test.
Passive radon testing devices do not need power to function. These include charcoal canisters, alpha-track detectors, charcoal liquid scintillation devices and electret ion chamber detectors — which are available in hardware, drug and other stores and can also be ordered by mail or phone. These devices are exposed to the air in the home for a specified period of time and then sent to a laboratory for analysis.
What do my radon test results mean?
The EPA action level is 4pCi/l. That does not mean that 3.9 pCi/l is safe. In fact, no amount of radioactivity is without risk. Therefore, the goal with respect to elevated radon levels is to have radon levels inside the building equal the radon levels found naturally in the outside environment — typically between 0.4–0.8 pCi/l. Depending on the type of test you took, if your radon level is 4 pCi/l or greater, you should either test again or mitigate the home. If a passive test was used during a real estate transaction, then you must take the average of two passive tests conducted simultaneously in one location. If a continuous radon monitor is used for the radon test and the test result is above 4 pCi/l, it is recommended that the home/building be mitigated.
How much does a radon mitigation cost?
The average radon mitigation is installed for under $1,000. Some homes require multiple mitigation techniques and/or systems, so the cost will be different. In new homes, the cost to install a passive system is less since the system is installed during construction. Radon Raiders performs a FREE, thorough building investigation prior to initiating any radon mitigation work, and each system is designed for that structure based on the information collected.