What is Radon?
Radon is a tasteless, colorless, and odorless invisible gas formed in the Earth’s crust. It surrounds every one of us as a part of the air that we breath. Radon naturally occurs outdoors, but it is generally found at higher concentrations indoors because most houses are not built to be radon resistant. Due to modernization of how buildings are now constructed through insulation and windows that seal radon is now able to build to levels that are not healthy in our homes. Radon typically builds up in the lowest levels of homes and buildings. Due to air pressure differences in the home and the soil around the foundation and basement slab radon is drawn into the house through floor-wall joints, cracks in the foundation and other openings in the home/building structure.
Why is it important for homeowners to understand what radon is and why testing is important? Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Exposure to radon accounts for about 21,000 deaths from lung cancer each year according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). When radon gas is breathed in, it enters the lungs, exposing them to small amounts of radiation. This may damage the cells in the lining of the lungs and increase a person’s risk of lung cancer. This risk is elevated when an individual is exposed to radon gas in the home which they live.
Because radon gas cannot be seen or smelled, the only way to know whether it is a problem in your home is to test for it. Not every house has or will have elevated levels of radon, but one in 15 does, and there is no way to know if your home is affected without testing. There are two methods of testing available. You can obtain a DYI test kit to test your home. The accuracy of a DIY radon test is always uncertain because it is conducted by an amateur. These kits typically run you about $40 plus lab and mailing fees. These fees can run approximately $40-50. Professional testing is the best option for the most accurate results. Professional testing is performed by a trained and certified individual. Cost for professional testing can range from $150 to $250. It is highly recommended that homeowners hire professionals who do NOT also mitigate. Keep in mind that individuals who also mitigate may or may not charge to test but it is also in their best interest to then find high levels of radon gas and charge homeowners a high cost to mitigate the radon in their homes. This charge can run a homeowner anywhere from $900 to $1,000.