Caution Your Home May Have A High Radon Level
What Is Radon?
Radon is a naturally occurring gas on earth. Wikipedia defines Radon as “a chemical element with the symbol Rn. It is a radioactive, colorless, odorless, tasteless noble gas.” Studies have shown a direct relationship between radon and lung cancer. I fact, it’s the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, after cigarettes. Over 20,000 people die each year in Minnesota because of this gas.
Where is Radon?
Radon is everywhere. But it’s the most dangerous when it’s trapped inside living spaces. Radon can enter your home through cracks and crevices and can be assisted by differences in the air Pressure between the inside and outside your home. Air pressure can help draw the gas inside your home, turning your home into an invisible health hazard. According to the Minnesota Department of Health roughly 40% of homes in the state contain high radon levels.
How to Test for Radon
There are two common methods. The CRM, or continuous rate monitor and the short-term test kit. The CRM is used by inspection companies to provide a reading in a short period of time, to accommodate inspection time periods. The short-term and long-term test kit. Are both charcoal based test kits that are placed at the lowest level in your home for about a week, or up to 90 days. Then they are mailed into a testing facility which sends you the results. The cost for these tests runs around $20-$25.
Once you get your test results consider taking mitigation action if the pCi/L (Picocuries per liter) is 4.0 or greater.
- 4 pCi/L or greater mitigate
- 2 pCi/L – 4 pCi/L consider a long-term test and possibly mitigation
Most mitigation companies can get the level below 1 pCi/L.
How to Remove Radon
There are two methods to remove the gas. The Passive Method and the Active Method. The active method is the most popular. A pipe is either installed in the slab below grade or directly to your sump basket. The basket is sealed air tight and a fan is attached to create a negative air pressure which exits the gas outside your home. There are rules regarding where and how this is done. You should consult a professional if your home has unacceptable radon level. Mitigation systems also vary in their appearance. It’s a good idea to ask the contract to provide a picture of a similar installation if they are existing out a wall rather than through your roof. Costs can go from $1,000 – $1,700 depending on your home.