February 15, 2016

The Importance of Radon Testing

Radon is all around us. It is outdoors, inside your home, and in your drinking water. Because of the link between radon exposure and lung cancer, radon has been deemed a carcinogen by the EPA, the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Academy of Sciences, and the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The good news is that radon testing is inexpensive and mitigation is affordable. According to the EPA, “Hundreds of thousands of people have reduced radon levels in their homes.”

The American Cancer Society defines radon as, “a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas. It forms naturally from the decay (breaking down) of radioactive elements, such as uranium, which are found in different amounts in soil and rock throughout the world. Radon gas in the soil and rock can move into the air and into underground water and surface water.”

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, right after smoking. It is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smoking individuals and causes approximately 21,000 deaths annually. If you smoke AND are exposed to radon, the risk of getting (and dying) from lung cancer goes up exponentially.

When you hire a qualified home inspection professional to inspect a home you are planning to purchase, the inspector can run a radon test for you. Radon testing is not limited to just new home purchases, though. Testing can be done on old homes and new construction, whether you are looking to buy or have been living there forty years. Anyone can request a radon test at any time. It is recommended that you test for radon every two to five years; radon levels can fluctuate within the same house over time.

Test results are generally reported in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). The EPA recommends mitigating radon if test results are over 4 pCi/L. Mitigation techniques involve either preventing radon from entering your home or reducing levels after it has entered. The EPA recommends installing a system that does the former, which generally requires some sort of soil suction. The radon gets pulled from below your home and through a pipe, venting it out into the air above your home. There, it quickly dilutes and is no longer toxic.

Radon is not some myth or hoax. And, just because your neighbor’s home was tested and had an acceptable level in their house, it doesn’t mean that you are safe. Radon levels can vary wildly due to construction types and even the types of rock lying beneath homes. With inexpensive testing and very affordable mitigation techniques, there is no reason to put off your radon test. Protect the health of you and your family by scheduling a test today.

For more information on Radon checkout the following:

Home Buyer’s and Seller’s Guide to Radon

EPA Map of Radon Zones


Checkmark Home Inspection Services strives to provide the most thorough and comprehensive home inspection, including radon testing in the marketplace. Our inspections are informative and educational and are complete with maintenance tips and suggestions that lead to many years of enjoyment in your home. If you are buying, selling, building a home or simply need a home checkup or radon test, give us a call. Our home inspectors will perform a quality evaluation at an affordable price. Checkmark is a proud member in good standing of ASHI and InterNACHI.  Checkout our Radon Testing Services for more information.

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