Have you ever given much thought to the possibility of radon in your home? For years I thought it wasn’t much of an issue in the Metro Phoenix area until I recently did a little research. The amount of homes in AZ with radon above the recommended levels is actually on par with the national average. Each home is different and testing is the only way to detect its presence.
Radon can get trapped in our homes and be at such high levels that it can affect your health. It is is an odorless, colorless gas and is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.
Read below to learn more about radon and your home, how to test and remediate it if you have high levels.
What Is Radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the natural breakdown of uranium soil, rock and water. It moves up through the ground and into the air above. It can get into your home through any foundation cracks or holes. It can also enter your home through well water.
According to the EPA, nearly one in 15 homes in the U.S. has an elevated radon level of 4 pCi/L. Any type of home can have a radon problem, even those without basements.
You can contact your state radon office to find out more about radon levels in your area or check out this website at county-radon.info. Even if your home is in a low level zone, you should still get your home tested. Homes that are next door to each other, for example, can have different indoor radon levels.
Testing for Radon
Testing for radon is not that complicated. It’s important to test the lower levels of your home, i.e. those below the third floor.
You can purchase or order online devices to test for radon or you can hire a qualified radon tester to come to your home. Some devices may be more appropriate for your needs and testing conditions. Make sure you are getting a reliable testing device.
Types of testing devices:
Passive devices – These don’t require power and are exposed to the air in your home for a specified period of time and then sent to a lab for analysis. Some devices are better at resisting test interference or disturbances. These include charcoal canisters, alpha-track detectors, charcoal liquid scintillation devices, electret ion chamber devices.
Active devices – These require power and measure and record the amount of radon or its decay products in the air. Many can provide a report and also indicate if there are any swings in radon levels during the test period. Some also have anti-interference features. These active devices cost more than the passive ones. They include continuous radon monitors and continuous working level monitors.
Short-term testing is typically from a minimum of 48 hours to 90 days. This type of testing may be something that a home buyer may request before purchasing a home, or if there are other time restraints other than a real estate transaction. In Arizona, these test can cost less than $20 including free shipping to the lab, analysis, and online test results.
Long-term testing typically lasts more than 90 days and will usually provide a year-round average radon level.
No matter what type of testing you conduct, it’s important for family members to follow directions carefully and to keep any interference to a minimum so you can get reliable results.
Fixing High Radon Levels
The EPA recommends fixing your home if levels are between 2 and 4 pCi/L or more. The average indoor radon level is about 1.3 pCi/L. Remember that high levels of radon in your home is a health risk and a leading cause of lung cancer.
It is not complicated or expensive to fix any radon problems. It can be done without making major changes to your home, and the cost can be comparable to other home repairs.
High levels can be reduced several ways, including sealing cracks or installing venting pipes and fans or sub slab suction. Get estimates from radon mitigation contractors who can determine the most appropriate system for your home.
Radon and Home Renovation
Before you embark on any major home renovation, get your indoor radon levels checked. This is especially true if you are renovating a basement or lower level room in your home. Be sure to test your radon levels after you have completed any work since levels can change.
In addition, it is better and less expensive to install a radon-reduction system during your renovations than afterward.
Reach out to me if you have any questions about radon testing, especially if you are thinking of selling in the near future. For more information on radon:
I'm Kathleen and I love sharing the Arizona lifestyle by helping people who are relocating to, or from, Arizona with their real estate needs. Let's talk about how I can help you make your real estate goals happen from wherever you are!
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Chandler, AZ 85286
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