Recent news reports have indicated radon issues in the Portland Metro and Vancouver areas. In preparation to getting your home tested or if you have already received a positive test we are doing a short blog on radon.
Radon Gas, What’s That?
Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, radioactive gas and it is a known carcinogen. It is not able to be detected through our natural five senses. Radon gas contains radioactive particles, which get trapped in your lungs every time you breathe. It is the second leading, known cause of lung cancer and the EPA estimates 20,000 annual radon related lung cancer deaths in the US.
How Does Radon Get Into my Home?
The primary ways that radon leaks into a home are cracks in floors or walls, construction joints, gaps around pipes or suspended floors, through wall cavities and through the water supply. Radon can affect any home in any location so all home owners should get professional testing.
What Are My Home Testing Options?
The safest and most accurate option is a CRM or Continuous Radon Monitor, which works similar to a smoke detector by constantly monitoring for radon levels in your home. The second best option comes in a kit and is for normal home conditions. Most these long term kits monitor radon levels for 90-365 days. The third option is used for initial tests and short term tests for real estate transactions. Most short term kits monitor radon levels for 2-90 days.
I Found Radon in my Home, Now What?
Radon is measured in pCi/L and the amount present can fluctuate throughout the year. If you have done only one test, as per the US EPA, a second test is recommended and it is important to know if the first test was accurate for your home’s average radon level or possibly caused by unusual weather.
A result, on your first test, of between 4-8 pCi/L means you have a choice of testing again with either a second short term test kit or a long term kit to get a better understanding of your home’s average radon levels throughout a year. If your results are higher than 8 pCi/L, a second test with a short term kit is recommended.
If your second test results in a reading of higher than 4 pCi/L then having professional radon mitigation is the best and healthiest option for your home and family.
If your follow-up test results are below 4 pCi/L, then a you should consider a CRM or test your home again in the future since the initial test showed your home can produce high radon levels at certain times.