Radon Measurement Services
What is Radon? A severe health hazard, with a simple solution.
U.S. SURGEON GENERAL HEALTH ADVISORY “Indoor radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and breathing it over prolonged periods can present a significant health risk to families all over the country. It’s important to know that this threat is completely preventable. Radon can be detected with a simple test and fixed through well-established venting techniques.” January 2005
- Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas, formed from the natural decay of uranium found in soil and rock, that can be found at dangerous levels in more than ⅓ of the homes in Ada county. Radon is the #1 leading cause of lung cancer after cigarettes. (It kills more people each year than traffic accidents.) Radon gas in the soil and rock can move into the air and into groundwater, as well as into our homes through small cracks in floors or walls, construction joints, or gaps in foundations around pipes, wires, or pumps. This radioactive gas could potentially expose your family to a higher risk of lung cancer.
Is Radon an “Idaho Problem”?
- Homes with high levels of radon have been found in every state of the country and in almost every county of Idaho. Radon levels can vary greatly from home to home. Levels can even vary greatly between homes next door to one another. There is no way to guess or approximate which type of homes or neighborhoods have higher levels of radon. Even brand new homes could have dangerously high levels with no indication through our senses. Any home can have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements. In fact, you and your family are most likely to get your greatest radiation exposure at home if that is where you spend most of your time. Ada County is labeled as a “Zone 2” county (with levels between 2 & 4 pCi/L). However, more than ⅓ of all homes tested still have levels above 4.0 pCi/L in air.
How does the Test work?
- Our technicians will place a small machine at the lowest living level in your home for a minimum of 48 hours. We ask that if the home is occupied, no windows or doors be left open during this time (except for normal ingress and egress); but you may continue life as normal. The measurement results are usually available within an hour of the end of the 48-hour measurement period. You will receive a very thorough and easy-to read report showing hourly readings of the radon levels, together with hourly readings of humidity, temperature, and air pressure at the device that can be compared to similar outdoor data from the geological reports.
What can be expected from the results?
- Radon levels are measured in picoCuries per liter of air (or pCi/L). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that if your home has radon levels at 4.0 pCi/L or above, you take steps to lower those levels. This can be done by installing a mitigation system.
- There is no “safe” level of radon, just as there is no “safe” number of cigarettes to smoke. A 48-hour average radon level above 4.0 does not mean you’ll get cancer. Likewise, a level below 4.0 doesn’t mean you won’t.
- However, if the 48-hour average radon concentration in the home is at 4.0 pCi/L or higher, the EPA will recommend hiring a certified Radon Mitigation Contractor. Because of this recommendation, most approaching home buyers will ask for Radon mitigation whenever the levels exceed the EPA’s suggested level of action.
- The Treasure Valley has several Radon Mitigation Contractors capable of reducing Radon levels in any home. The cost to mitigate Radon in homes having concrete slab floors typically runs from $1,500 to $2,000; whereas the cost of homes having crawl spaces under them is typically higher, at $2,000 to $2,500 or more..
Who should test for Radon?
- Before you buy a house, you should have it tested for Radon. The most common procedure for testing during a real estate transaction is for the potential buyer to request the Radon measurement as part of the overall home inspection process. If the resultant measurement is at or above 4.0 pCi/L, you can try to negotiate with the seller to have a Radon mitigation system installed according to the EPA’s published protocols, with the goal of reducing Radon levels to below 4.0 pCi/L. Similarly, if you are selling a home, you may want to have the home tested to avoid surprise mitigation expenses. In reality, every home should be tested for Radon. The State of Idaho does not currently have regulations regarding Radon; but for the health and safety of the population, testing of every home is important.