If you’ve just moved into a new home, you want to be sure that it undergoes radon testing and inspection. You also want to have your home inspected if you have lived there for some time and want to ensure that you and your family are not being exposed to this dangerous gas.
One of the primary reasons that it’s important to have an inspection is because it’s been determined that approximately one in 15 homes throughout the United States exceed the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) radon action levels.
If you’re not familiar with radon, it is an odorless radioactive gas that is known to cause cancer. Both the EPA and the Surgeon General’s Office estimate that on an annual basis, approximately 20,000 people die of lung cancer associated with radon poisoning.
According to the EPA’s 2016 Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction: How to Fix Your Home, there are measures that can be taken to protect your family from radon exposure. This consumer guide stresses the importance of using a qualified radon mitigation contractor to provide this service.
While some states require these contractors to be licensed, certified, or registered, others do not. The EPA indicates that you should be able to locate a residential radon testing service by contacting a proficiency program.
If a radon testing and inspection contractor determines that radon is present in your home or the surrounding grounds, they will make recommendations accordingly. If these levels approach 4 pCi/l, for example, this is the equivalent of 35 times the radiation exposure allowed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Furthermore, this would be as if you and your family were standing close to a radioactive waste site.
The EPA’s consumer guide outlines several methods to reduce exposure through radon reduction systems. It’s important to note that these systems have been shown to be effective in reducing radon levels up to 99%.
Soil suction is one of these systems. Basically, radon is drawn from underneath your home and then vented through one or more pipes. After it has been vented, it is diluted by the air outside your home.
A radon mitigation and abatement service will evaluate your home’s construction prior to making recommendations. This is because the type of construction makes a difference in how best to mitigate the situation. If you have a basement and slab-on-grade home, for example, there are four different types of soil suction that may be used:
- Subslab suction
- Drain-tile suction
- Sump-hole suction
- Block-wall suction
If you have a home with a crawl space, however, your contractor may recommend sub-membrane suction. This involves covering the ground with a high-density plastic sheet and then utilizing a vent pipe and fan, which draws and then vents the radon outdoors where it is able to dissipate.
In addition to the above, there are other methods utilized to reduce radon exposure:
- Pressurizing the house or home
- Heat recovery ventilation
- Natural ventilation
Once you have a radon testing and inspection contractor come to your home, they will be able to determine whether you have radon present. Since this is such a dangerous gas that can lead to cancer and other issues, it’s important to have this taken care of at your earliest convenience.