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Radon Testing | When and Why You Need it for Your Home

Posted at 10/02/2020 10:18 AM by Pat O'Connor

when you need a radon test

Often the things you cannot see in your home are those that need the most attention.

While out of sight, out of mind may work in some situations (at least temporarily), as a homeowner you have to be on your guard when it comes to the invisible threats against your home.

Radon Levels Are High Along the Front Range

Take radon, for example. Radon is an odorless, colorless, and radioactive gas that forms when uranium breaks down in the soil, water and rocks. Uranium deposits are prevalent throughout Colorado, especially in Denver and along the Front Range. 

Radon is an odorless, colorless, and radioactive gas that forms when uranium breaks down in the soil, water and rocks. Uranium deposits are prevalent throughout Colorado, especially in Denver and along the Front Range. 

When this element decays, gas escapes from the ground and can enter your home through cracks and other holes in your home’s foundation. Over time, homes may trap the gas and occupants may be adversely affected by breathing in these fumes. People may experience lung tissue damage and potential cancer.

According to data collected by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE),  approximately 50% of homes in Colorado have radon levels higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended action level of 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). Radon levels can be high in all homes regardless of age or foundation type. 

Make Sure to Test Your Home for Radon

With more people working from home and children being educated remotely, it’s doubly important to check the radon levels in your home. Fortunately, it’s easy to test for radon. You can purchase an inexpensive test kit through the Kansas State National Radon Program Services. Check out their website here.  

There are both short- and long-term test kits for $15 and $25, respectively. The difference between the two is that the short-term kits expire more quickly and must be returned to the lab in a timely manner. Your device will be analyzed and you can access the results online.

And thankfully, radon mitigation can be easily done and these reduction systems work very well. Some radon reduction systems can reduce radon levels in your home by up to 99 percent. The systems typically cost between $850-$1,500 according to 5280 Radon Mitigation, a service provider in the Denver metro area. Your costs will vary depending on the size and design of your home, and which radon reduction methods are needed. Be sure to get several estimates from qualified radon mitigation contractors and be comfortable with the systems they are proposing.

There are Several Types of Mitigation Systems

Your home’s unique features will determine which type of radon mitigation system will work best. Typically, the foundation of your home will dictate which system will work most effectively. Regardless of whether you have a basement, crawl space or slab, radon may be present.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the three most common types of radon mitigation systems are: 

  • Sub-slab suction - Pulls radon directly beneath the home's foundation and vents it outside.
  • Drain tile suction - Pipe penetrates into the drain tile and vents the soil gases outside. Covers are placed on the sump baskets.
  • Sub-membrane - Used in crawl spaces, a plastic sheet covers exposed dirt on the floor, extends up onto the wall and is sealed. A radon pipe penetrates the plastic sheeting, pulls the soil gas from the crawl space, and vents it outside.

Notwithstanding of the system, all include a vent and fan which pull air from the soil and exhaust it outdoors through a pipe. The pipe can either run inside or outside the home and discharges the contaminated air outside, away from the windows and openings. 

Once the radon mitigation system is installed, make sure you understand the maintenance requirements and follow through with these recommendations.

Conclusion

Check out the Colorado Department of Health and Environment and the U.S. Environmental Agency sites for more information on radon testing and mitigation. Hundreds of thousands of people have effectively reduced radon levels in their homes through mitigation efforts. Order your test kit today to assure that your home is safe from radon.

Posted by Pat O'Connor

Pat O’Connor has dual citizenship in both Wisconsin and Colorado, having been born and raised in Wisconsin Dells, but later adopted by the Centennial State. A graduate of the University of Colorado (B.S. Journalism, 1980), O’Connor began her career as a sportswriter at the Boulder Daily Camera under the tutelage of the venerable Dan Creedon. Her experience also includes stints in public relations at Aspen Highlands Ski Area, the Colorado Trial Lawyers and the Colorado Division of Wildlife. When she isn’t piecing together sentences, the self-proclaimed “Cheesehead” enjoys hanging out with her three kids and assortment of family pets, running, playing golf, hiking 14ers, horseback riding and skiing. As a mother to two (at one time three) competitive swimmers, her favorite fragrance is eau de chlorine. During football season, she can be found cheering for the Buffs on Saturdays and screaming when the Packers score on Sundays. She loves talking sports and giving recommendations on cheese curds.

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Topics: Home Improvement