Radon: It’s the sneaky villain living in the soil beneath our homes that causes roughly 22,000 lung-cancer deaths per year.
This odorless, tasteless, invisible gas seeps into the home any way possible – through cracks, loose fitting pipes, mortar joints – and can go undetected for years. And while there are many common myths about radon, one of the most dangerous misconceptions is that particular homes are completely safe from infiltration.
Below, our radon mitigation experts explain the importance of proper radon testing in homes.
Even houses within the same neighborhood can have varying radon levels, with one home having off-the-charts levels and the next house over testing for nearly zero radon.
Because radon lives in the soil beneath the home, it’s reasonable to assume that houses in the same neighborhood would have similar radon levels. However, factors like how the home was built, whether there is a crawl space present, cracks in the foundation and more affect how radon infiltrates the home.
Many people believe testing is needed only for existing homes. While newly built homes are less susceptible to infiltration through construction flaws like cracks and leak points, the home is still at risk if the soil it’s built on has high radon levels.
Unfortunately, many new construction homes oftentimes forego testing altogether and simply install a passive radon mitigation system. Although a passive system is better than nothing, these systems often reduce radon levels by 50% – leaving homes at risk for undetected infiltration.
With this in mind, be wary of homes labeled as “Radon Resistant New Construction” (RRNC). This label indicates that a passive radon mitigation system has been installed, but there is not a fan installed to actively mitigate radon from the home. Additionally, faulty installation by contractors who are not certified mitigators can leave render the system ineffective.
Even if you test a home for radon and the reading comes back below the EPA recommended level of 4 pCi/L, the radon levels will continue to fluctuate and may eventually rise to dangerous levels.
Many factors cause fluctuations in radon levels. Weather-related issues like rain, high winds and cold temperatures can all affect the home’s air pressure, increasing the radon levels in the home. Additionally, changes in the home’s foundation over time can cause cracks and leaks, also resulting in higher levels of infiltration.
A good rule of thumb is to test radon levels in the home twice a year. At the very least, have a home tested at least once every two to three years.
All in all, the only way to know if a home is at risk for radon is to test it. Testing is straightforward: A certified radon mitigation contractor will use a diagnostic kit to assess the home’s radon levels and provide a recommendation on the necessary mitigation system for the home.
Bonus:See how a Pressure Field Extension Diagnostic Kit is used to test radon levels in the home.
Radon testing isn’t a DIY job or even a job for a builder or contractor. And even though there are easy-to-use diagnostic kits available, it takes a certified professional to do the job right and ensure proper protection.
Find a certified radon mitigation professional near you and learn more about active radon mitigation systems for protection you can count on.
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