What is Radon?

It’s National Radon Action Month, and with Iowa having one of the highest average radon concentrations in the nation, it’s important for residents to be educated on the danger that could be lurking in their home. While most homeowners test for radon when purchasing their home, and may even already have a mitigation system in place, radon levels can change over time. This means you may still need to put a mitigation system in place or adjust the system you’re currently using.

Radon is a radioactive gas that results from uranium, thorium, or radium decaying in soil. Over time that gas seeps through the soil into the air above-ground. This is when the opportunity arises for it to seep into your home and become trapped, resulting in adverse consequences.

3 Reasons You Need to Test for Radon

While radon can seem like an intimidating chore of home ownership to deal with, it is fairly easy to test for and resolve. It’s important to understand why radon mitigation and minimization should be a priority for you:

1. Radon Causes Cancer

When inhaled, these radioactive radon particles attack the cells that line your lungs. Over time, consistent exposure  leaves you highly susceptible to illnesses and disease including cancer. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer after smoking in the U.S., making it the number-one most likely cause of cancer for non-smokers. Luckily, mitigating and minimizing your radon exposure is very straightforward.

2. Bad for Home Resale

If you are a homeowner considering selling your home it’s important to recognize that elevated radon levels in a house can deter buyers, delay closing, or even halt a sale altogether. 

While it is not legally required to test for radon, most prospective home buyers will include radon testing in the home inspection. This is especially likely if you live in a state (such as Iowa) where radon levels are most elevated.

Once detected, homebuyers may request deductions in the home purchase price, credits or allowances for mitigation work, or even lean towards the decision to halt the buying process as a whole, making the negotiation process that much more stressful.

Completing your testing and mitigation efforts beforehand tend to outweigh the frustration that can come as a result of radon being detected while trying to sell your home.

3. Radon Cannot be Seen, Smelled, or Tasted

Even though radon can have such adverse affects on your health and home, it cannot be seen, smelled or tasted. The only way to detect radon is by testing.

It is a common misconception that testing and mitigation are expensive and difficult to accomplish. The truth is that radon testing and mitigation are easily solvable compared to poor health issues and difficult sales negotiations.

Types of Radon Tests

Radon testing necessitates the detection and confirmation of the presence of radon particles in your space. In order to do this successfully, testers must be able to capture a sample of radon over a period of time. Although tests can take a couple of days at the least to complete, they are easy to initiate and require just a little effort and then patience to get a result (like setting a mousetrap). 

Short-Term Test 

Short-term tests typically span over 2-7 days. While hiring a professional radon contractor is recommended, at-home tests are available for sale at various hardware stores, online retailers, or even available through some local health departments. 

When choosing to go with a licensed tester to administer your 48-hour continuous radon monitoring you have the peace of mind of accurate test results and immediate follow-up if radon is detected.

If you decide to test your home yourself it is important to follow the test directions included in your kit and other official EPA guidelines in order to prevent problems while testing. 

Radon tests consist of placing your kit in the lowest level of your house in an area that has minimal ventilation options and will not be disturbed. Once the testing period is complete, seal the test kit, and send it to the laboratory. In a matter of weeks you should be notified of the results.

Long-Term Test 

Long-term tests are more accurate and collect more data than short-term tests. They generally take upwards of three months to collect the average radon levels over time. While this may sound like a lengthy process, most homeowners only opt into long-term testing when their short-term results come back positive for high levels of radon. Like short-term testing, initial set up is fairly quick. 

Solutions for High Radon Levels

If radon is detected in your home, mitigation is done fairly easily. Once your mitigation system is installed it generally takes 1-3 days for the radon to dissipate. Mitigation systems can vary in price depending on the location of your home, level of radon, and choice of reduction method.It’s important to work with your professional radon mitigation contractor to figure out what will work best for your home.

Ames Area Radon Mitigation Experts

Our team has served residents in the Ames area for over a decade with radon testing and mitigation services to ensure your home is safe for you, and your family.  Contact us today to schedule service!