What to Do with a Positive Radon Test


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What is Radon?

Radon is a dangerous radioactive chemical that is currently leading cause of lung cancer deaths for nonsmokers in America—roughly 21,000 lives are claimed annually. Radon is a gas that comes naturally from the decaying of uranium, which can be found in just about all soils. It will generally come up through the ground and into the air, though it can enter your home through holes and cracks in the foundation, where it may become trapped and build up.

There are some areas of the United States that have heavier levels of radon (see this map); however, regardless of where you live, any home can have a high level of radon inside it.

How and When to Test for Radon?

It is recommended that you test for radon if you are thinking about building, renovating, buying, or selling a house. In some cases, such as if you are buying a home, a radon test may have already been performed by the developer or seller. If a test has been performed, find out the specifics, such as the date when the test was conducted. The date of the test is very important, as it is recommended for homes to be tested every two years, unless the home has been renovated or altered in some way.

If you are purchasing a home, this test should be part of the home inspection. However, don’t simply assume that it is; ask to make sure that a radon test is included. If your home inspector is certified by the National Radon Safety Board or the National Radon Proficiency Program, then he or she will likely be conducting a radon test, so try to seek out a home inspector that has these certifications.

So, how does a radon test work? A radon detector, which is a small device, will be left in the home for at least 48 hours, but it can be left for several days or even a month or two. The reasoning behind this is because radon levels tend to fluctuate each day, which means that a longer test can offer more accurate results.

What Do You Do When High Radon Levels Are Detected?

If your radon test detects a level of 4 or higher, then it is crucial that you do what you can to reduce the radon levels in your home. Some homeowners think that they can simply seal holes and cracks in the foundation to keep the radon from entering the home; however, this process has not proven successful in significantly lowering the radon levels within a home.

The most common solution for high levels (or at least elevated levels) of radon is for soil to be depressurized. This process simply collects the radon from beneath your home before it has a chance to enter and redirects it away from the home. Depending on the size of your home, costs for permits, and your location, costs can vary. First and foremost, you must think about you and your family’s safety. 

If you would like more information on home radon testing, reach out to the professionals at Southern Valley Services.

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