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What About That Radon?

Chances are you don’t worry too much about radon until it is time to buy a home. Radon is a cancer-causing radioactive gas that comes from the natural decay of uranium, which can be found in nearly all soil types. It can travel through the soil, into the air and into your home through cracks, gaps or the water supply. Radon isn’t picky about the homes it enters, found in all types from new builds to 100-year-old homes. Radon causes approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year, second only to smoking. You can’t see, smell or taste radon. It can take years of exposure before health problems become apparent. The EPA estimates that as many as 8 million U.S. homes contain elevated levels of radon.

So, how do you know if your home has radon? Having testing done is the only way to check your home’s radon levels. Some states already regulate providers of radon measurement and mitigation services by requiring registration, certification or licensing. If your state does not regulate testers, you can buy a radon test kit online or from a home improvement store. When buying or selling, the EPA recommends radon testing before finalizing any real estate transaction. Reported as pCi/l, or pico curies per liter, radon levels of 4pCi/l or higher is unacceptable. If your first test comes back higher than 4pCi/l, you should retest. If a second test also comes back with an unacceptable reading, you will need to take steps to reduce your home’s radon levels. In our experience, the average cost for a basic radon mitigation system in a 1500 square foot home is around $1500 to $1800.

We recommend that you ask around for some recommendations on who to use for your mitigation system. Be sure the quote you receive includes re-testing for radon levels after the system is in place to ensure everything is working properly and your levels are well under 4pCi/l.

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