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The Silent Killer: Why You Need An Upstate NY Radon Inspection!

Radon is becoming a hot topic these days, especially for people that are buying or selling a home.

What is radon? It is a colorless, odorless gas that is released as uranium and thorium decay.

What are the effects of radon? It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States with an estimated 21,000 deaths a year. This is second only to smoking.

Should you be concerned about radon? Absolutely YES!

Should you be afraid of radon? Absolutely NOT!

With knowledge comes power. Knowing you have a radon problem is half the battle.

Radon is all around us in low levels. We live with it in our world and our bodies have learned to deal with radon in low levels. If you find that your home has high levels of radon, you can then do something about it. It is one of the easier fixes in your home. And while radon mitigation isn’t cheap (average cost of around $1,500), it is a solid, long term fix.

Some basic Q&A about radon:

  • How can I tell if I have radon in my home?
    • Radon Test. You can either do it yourself or have a radon professional perform the test for you. Simple test kits can be purchased for $10-$30. If you do your own testing, make sure you FOLLOW ALL INSTRUCTIONS TO THE LETTER!
  • What is the level where radon should be fixed (mitigated) in the home?
    • 4.0 pCi/l is the level that has been established by the EPA. 5.3 pCi/l in Canada.
  • If my neighbor’s house tested below 4.0 pCi/l, does that mean my house is ok?
    • Not necessarily. Depending on the soil under your home, how your home was built and many other factors, your home may have a very different level than those around you.
  • If I have been exposed to radon, will I get lung cancer?
    • Everyone is different. It will depend on the radon levels and how long you have been exposed to it. It will also depend on your body and how it reacts to our environment. But if you know that there is a way to have better air quality and improve the lives of your family and yourself, wouldn’t you do it? Remember: Radon is a long term exposure toxin.
  • Is a radon mitigation system complicated?
    • The most complicated part of the system is writing out the check to pay for it. If you have tested and found that you have elevated levels of radon, a mitigation
      Radon pipe & fan

      Radon pipe & fan

      specialist will come into your home and assess your radon level and your home. The most common mitigation system is called Sub Slab Depressurization. Pipe(s) are placed into the soil below the basement /slab floor and a fan is used to draw air from beneath the home. This will pull air with the radon (along with the moisture in that air) from beneath the house and expel it to the outside. This type of system will generally reduce the radon levels to below 2.0 pCi/l. There are a number of other systems but the most important thing you can do to make sure your home is safe is to hire a reputable mitigation specialist, make sure they provide you with a warranty and make sure that follow up testing is done.

 

 

 

 

  • There is a radon mitigation system in place. How do I know it’s working properly?
    • Radon Manometer for Upstate NY radon inspection

      Radon Manometer

      If it is a Sub Slab Depressurization system, there will generally be a 3” PVC pipe coming out of the basement floor. On the side of the pipe should be a manometer, a U shaped pipe with a colored liquid in it. One side of the liquid should be higher than the other. The unequal sides means that there is greater pressure in the home and less pressure under the slab. This means the system is working.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • What are the disadvantages to a radon mitigation system?
    • If you have a system with a fan, you will have slightly higher electric bills. But it would be equivalent to having a 50 watt light bulb on all the time. This means about $60 per year. On the plus side, you may see a lower humidity level in the basement & home as the moisture in the air is also being drawn out of the home. Some people have reported that they have reduced or even eliminated the need for a dehumidifier in their homes
  • How can I tell what the radon levels are in my area?

US map of radon levels:

Radon_Mitigation_Map

 

 

 

 

 

Other Radon Links:

Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction: http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/consguid.html

YouTube video on Radon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-S8vr27plZs