Radon is a naturally occurring gas which is found all over the United States and around the world in varying concentrations. It can enter homes through small cracks or gaps in the basement foundation and tends to have the higher concentrations in the lower levels of a home.
The EPA has declared Radon to be a "Class A Carcinogen," which means that it has been shown to cause cancer in humans. Radioactive solid particles are created as the Radon gas decays. These particles can get trapped in your lungs when you breathe. As the particles break down further, they release small bursts of energy that can damage lung tissue and lead to lung cancer. Although not everyone exposed to elevated levels of Radon will develop lung cancer, the dangers are significant, and the amount of time between exposure and the onset of disease may be many years making detecting the cause all that much more difficult.
A radon test is the only way to know if a house has radon. Certain areas have a higher likelihood based on the geology and soil characteristics but to know if your home has radon, a test should be done. We no longer provide radon testing as a service. If you wish to have a test done professionally, a home inspector should be able to help without a perceived conflict of interest.
If you just want to do a test on your own, professional quality tests can be purchased from the Radon Testing Corporation of America at www.RTCA.com. These are done by the homeowner then mailed back to the company. Test kits include instructions on placement and how to operate.
The type of radon mitigation we install is called “sub-slab depressurization” which consists of drilling one or more 5 inch diameter holes in the basement floor and running pvc pipe from the holes to the outside of the house in a single location. Once outside, a fan is connected to the pipe that draws the gas out from under the basement floor and vents it outside. Discharge needs to be a safe distance away from windows and doors and a certain distance off the ground so that it is not a hazard to anyone outside. Radon systems lower radon levels but even the most effective systems don’t eliminate radon completely. All air, even outside air, has radon.
Radon levels can vary from day to day and month to month. Although the fluctuations shouldn’t be too dramatic, it is very possible to be just below the threshold of 4.0 pCi/l when buying a house and just above it when selling. On a yearly basis, levels tend to be highest during the winter months. Heavy rains and storms can also raise levels for short periods of time.
Dan is highly knowledgeable and designed a system that met all of our criteria, including aesthetics and quietness of operation.
My experience was extremely positive.... performed the job professionally and expeditiously.