Radon FAQ

What is Radon?

Radon is a radioactive gas that is colorless, odorless and tasteless.  The World Health Organization (WHO), the National Academy of Sciences, the US Department of Health and Human Services, as well as EPA, have classified radon as a known human carcinogen, because of the wealth of biological and epidemiological evidence and data showing the connection between exposure to radon and lung cancer in humans. 

Where does Radon come from and how does it get into my home?

Radon is a radioactive gas that has been found in homes all over the United States. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water and gets into the air you breathe and in some cases the water you drink. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation or through the building materials. 

What is the average level of radon found in homes in the U.S.?

According to the EPA, The average indoor radon level is estimated to be about 1.3 picocuries per liter (pCi/L)  versus the 0.4 pCi/L of radon than typically be found in the outside air. 

Why measure radon?

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States behind smoking.  All major health organizations (like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Lung Association and the World Health Organization) agree with estimates that radon causes thousands of preventable lung cancer deaths every year. This is especially true among smokers, since the risk to smokers is much greater than to non-smokers. 

What is a radon mitigation system?

 

A radon mitigation system is any system or steps designed to reduce radon concentrations in the indoor air of a building.


The EPA recommends that you take action to reduce your home's indoor radon levels if your radon test result is 4 pCi/L or higher.

Does Radon only affect homes with basements?

 No.  Any home may have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements. . It is not possible to say with confidence that particular types of houses are more prone than others.   

Who should I hire to correct a radon problem?

Lowering high radon levels requires technical knowledge and special skills. You should use a licensed contractor, like Radon Pros, who is trained to fix radon problems. 

Why should I use a listed or state-licensed tester?

 Under Ohio law the homeowner may perform radon tests on his/her own home. Anyone else performing such a test must be licensed by the State. 


My neighbor tested high for Radon, does this mean I will too?

Not necessarily.  Radon levels can vary significantly from house to house based on geological in a particular location. The only sure way of knowing the radon level in your house is to have it tested. 

Should I buy a house with a radon level greater than 4 pCi/l?

 Radon levels can be brought down to well below the EPA "action level" in most houses. Radon mitigation systems that continuously remove radon from the area below a foundation are the most effective. 

How much does it cost to reduce radon in an existing home?

The cost of making repairs to reduce radon is influenced by the size and design of your home and other factors. Most homes can be fixed for about the same cost as other common home repairs, like painting or having a new hot water heater installed. The average cost for a contractor to lower radon levels in a home is about $1,300, although this can range from $800 to about $2,000. Your costs may vary depending on the size and design of your home and which radon reduction methods are needed. 

How much will it cost me to run a radon-reduction system?

The passive radon-resistant features installed in most houses do not cost anything to run. In fact, sealing the home to prevent radon entry can result in reduced energy costs. While the savings will vary with the climate, size of house and utility prices, the national average is $65 per year in energy costs saved. If a fan-based ventilation system must be used, the cost of electricity to run it will average $70 per year. In addition, fans must typically be replaced at 10 to 15 year intervals. The expected energy savings from sealing the house can help offset these costs.  

If I am buying or selling a home, what should I do?

If I am selling my house, what should I do?

If your home has never been tested:

      -Perform a radon test as soon as possible.

      -If possible, test before putting your home on the market.

      -Test the lowest level of the home which is suitable for occupancy.  

If I am buying a home, what should I do?

Determine if the home has already been tested. 


If so, verify when it was tested, what type and where in the house the test was conducted, who did the test and were there any structural changes since the test was performed. 


If not, make sure the test is done as soon as possible by a State licensed Radon tester such as Radon Pros.

 

Make sure the test is done in the lowest level of the home which is suitable for occupancy.

I am building a new home. What is radon-resistant construction?

According to the US EPA, many of the features which make a house radon-resistant are already used by builders around the country. First, a layer of gas permeable material (such as gravel) is placed where the house's slab will be poured. This layer is then covered with plastic sheeting. The concrete slab is poured to minimize cracking, and all floor assemblies in contact with the soil are sealed. Any other places where radon could enter the home are also sealed. The plastic sheeting and sealant block radon's main entry routes in the house. A length of perforated pipe is installed horizontally beneath the plastic sheeting prior to pouring the slab. This is connected to a vertical, unperforated pipe which extends through the slab and through all floors of the house to vent above the roof. This pipe removes radon from the soil and vents it safely above the dwelling. The gravel beneath the foundation makes it easier for the ventilation system to remove radon, even from the far corners of the foundation.


Electrical junction boxes are installed during construction in case a fan is needed to achieve further radon reductions. Normally, suction on the pipe is provided by natural pressure differences within the house. A fan is needed only if the pressure differences cannot lower radon concentrations to acceptable levels. 

Aside from the health benefits, are there any other benefits to installing radon-resistant features?

 Radon-resistant features promote drainage under a house and can reduce moisture problems. Sealing to prevent radon entry can also result in energy savings averaging $65 a year. Building a radon-resistant house is also more visually appealing, as the pipe can be hidden in the internal structure of the house. In retrofitting after construction, it is often more difficult to conceal the pipe.  

How will a radon mitigation system reduce the radon levels?

Radon pros will evaluate several factors 


-Soil beneath your home

-Does the home have a finished basement or a crawlspace

-The size of basement and crawlspace

-The home’s construction 


Radon Pros will then design a custom radon mitigation system that will draw the radon gas from beneath your home and safely vent it above the roofline, reducing the radon level to below 4.0 pCi/L.


The most common system installed is called an active soil depressurization (ASD) system. Before installing the ASD system,Radon Pros will seal all major cracks, drains, sumps and crawlspaces.


The basic components of an ASD system are:

  1. One or more small holes called suction or draw points
  2. PVC pipe inserted into the hole(s) and run either through the basement wall to the exterior of your home or up through the interior into the attic and extended above the roofline
  3. A specially designed radon fan attached to the pipe electrically wired
  4. A u-tube manometer attached to the pipe to monitor the operation of the fan

What happens after a radon mitigation system is installed?

 After Radon Pros installs a radon mitigation system, we will retest your home to make sure the radon level is reduced adequately. To keep the radon level down, the radon fan must run continuously, so don’t turn it off or unplug it. Check the u-tube monitor from time to time to see if your system is operating properly, and test your home and test your home every 2 years to make sure the radon level remains low. It is normal to have minor fluctuations in the radon level.