Services: Radon Testing
What Is Radon?
Radon gas is a byproduct of the natural breakdown of uranium in the ground. It travels up from the soil, through your home’s foundation, then decays into radioactive particles that can get trapped in your lungs and cause tissue damage. Radon gas is odorless, so the only way to identify it is to test.
This EPA map shows that all local counties are at moderate to high risk for high radon.
Read more at www.epa.gov/radon.
Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer for non-smokers.
There are approximately 25,000 deaths each year in the US due to radon.
When Should I Test For Radon?
It is best to test at the same time as the home inspection. We do our best to set the machine two days prior to your inspection so your results are delivered at the same time as your inspection report. This way, any radon levels can be addressed during negotiations. If you waive the radon test now and sell the home later, the new buyers may decide to test. Then, if results are high, it’s your expense. You should test even when there is already a mitigation system in place.
(William Troutman, Owner & CEO of Certainty Home Inspections discusses Radon)
Frequently Asked Questions & Myths About Radon
How Does Certainty Test For Radon?
Certainty uses a continuous radon monitor to record the picocuries of radon per liter of air (pCi/L.) over 48 hours. We place the machine in the lowest livable area of the home where concentration is typically greatest. Radon levels are recorded hourly and then averaged. The EPA recommends you mitigate if the final reading is at or above 4.0 pCi/L.
All of our Radon Tests, when scheduled with a home inspection are covered by a 120 day Radon Protection Plan. More details here (warranties page).
How Much Does A Radon Test Cost?
Local fees average around $150 with a home inspection, $170 alone. Some companies charge as much as $250 . We keep prices low by owning our own machines and because we are often already on-site for a home inspection.
5 Common Myths About Radon Gas
- Myth: Only Basement Homes Have Radon Gas.
Truth: All homes, regardless of foundation types can have radon gas problems. Basement homes are more likely to test high because they are closer to the bedrock. Our two highest readings came from slab homes and were over 300 pCi/L.
- Myth: It’s Expensive To Fix A Radon Gas Problem.
Truth: Radon gas can usually be fixed for less than $1800.00.
- Myth: None of My Neighbors Have Radon Gas, So Neither Do I.
Truth: Radon levels depend on the uranium directly beneath your home. Yours could be the only home in the neighborhood with high radon levels.
- Myth: This Home Already Has a Mitigation System. I Don’t Need To Test.
Truth: There are two types of mitigation systems, active and passive. The passive system is often built into new homes in high radon areas. They do not have a fan to pull air out of the home. Even active systems which appear to be working should be tested. The EPA suggests re-testing every two years as parts may wear down or malfunction.
- Radon Gas Testing Levels Are Always The Same In The 48 Hour Testing.
Truth: Levels can fluctuate hourly. Radon is a “lazy” gas. High wind, rain, snow, and even barometric pressure can drive the gas back into the ground, making your home the easier escape route and causing higher levels in the home. Seller’s often say, “Levels were high because it stormed during testing.” That may be true, but the buyer will live there during storms as well. Other sellers have tried to alter readings by placing a towel over the machine. Our device will flag the reading if someone tampers with it.
Can High Radon Levels Be Fixed?
Yes. Radon levels are easy to reduce. Most concrete foundations are poured over a layer of gravel. Mitigation systems are installed by drilling a hole through the concrete to reach the gravel below. Pipes are placed through the holes with an exhaust fan to pull the radon gas out from beneath the home and guide it safely outside. Older homes often do not have this layer of gravel to create a gap for air flow, making mitigation more difficult, but there are usually creative solutions.
How Is A Home Prepared For Testing? (Closed Home Conditions)
Closed-home conditions must take place at least 12 hours prior to a test. This means we need airflow of normal living conditions without the windows or doors standing open or any other kind of outside exchange air coming in to the home other than the normal front door in-and-out traffic. Prior to setting the monitoring device, we will walk through the home and make sure that the dryer vent is closed, check the damper on the fireplace, etc. to make sure that we are getting the standards for closed-house conditions.
How Do I Receive/Read My Radon Test Results?
Your Radon Test Results will delivered as an attachment in an email.
Tutorial Video – How to Read Your Radon Test Results (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoJw5fXzAUA)
Can Anyone Test For Radon? What About A DIY Kit?
Hire a licensed professional (if issued by state). We are required to calibrate our machines once a year, send them to a laboratory for testing, and then cross-check them with other machines regularly to ensure accurate readings. Be careful who you hire!
Home charcoal canister kits are available at your local hardware stores. They will not typically stand up in a real-estate transaction and cannot give you an accurate, hourly reading, but they can give you a good sense of if you have a high level or not. With a home kit, you’ll only get one number to go off of, as opposed to our machines that give you the actual hour-by-hour highs and lows of the counts.