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Radon: The Invisible Menace

Radon is a radioactive gas produced during the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. In addition to these locations, radon can also be found in homes all over the United States. Radon moves upward, entering your home through cracks and holes in the foundation with potential of reaching toxic levels if left trapped inside. Testing is the only way to know whether you and your family are at risk for radon, thus the EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor. Being well informed is an essential first step, and we believe the following information will help.

Why is radon gas such a health risk?

There is no way to detect the presence of radon gas with our senses. It cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted, therefore providing no warning that is it harming your health. There is no ‘radon headache’ or ‘radon fever’. In addition to its total lack of detectability, radon has been shown by the National Cancer Institute to cause lung cancer and is associated with 15,000 to 22,000 lung cancer deaths each year.

How Do I Test for Radon?

You can either test your home yourself or hire a certified radon testing professional. Do-It-Yourself home radon tests come in short-term and long-term varieties with most homeowners choosing the short-term, 48-hour kit. These are easy to use and come with step-by-step instructions. By comparison, a long-term test device, called an alpha track, is left in place for 3 to 12 months before it is sent to a laboratory for analysis. A radon testing professional will use one of these devices or an electronic continuous radon monitor to test your home. Professional radon testing equipment combines efficiency with highly accurate readings and expert analysis.

How can a high radon level be eliminated?

The contractor will design a radon mitigation system to draw the radon gas out from beneath your home and safely vent it above the roofline. Specific treatments depend on your home’s construction, the type of soil, the climate in which you live, and several other factors. An active soil depressurization (ASD) system is frequently used, and it will be installed after sealing all major cracks, drains, sumps, and crawlspaces.

ASD systems typically consist of:

  1. Several small holes called suction or draw points
  2. PVC pipe inserted into the hole and run up your home’s walls to the exterior of the home above the roofline
  3. A specially designed and electronically wired radon fan attached to the pipe
  4. A U-Tube manometer attached to the pipe to monitor the fan’s operation

What happens after the radon is eliminated?

Your contractor will retest your home to make sure the radon level is adequately reduced. The radon fan must run continuously in order to keep the radon level down, so do not unplug it or turn it off. Regularly check the U-Tube monitor to make sure your system is operating properly, and test your home every 2 years to monitor the radon level. Minor fluctuations in the radon level of your home are natural and will occur from time to time.

Have questions about whether or not your home is at risk for radon gas? Contact us for a consultation with one of our certified industry experts. We’re always within reach, so don’t hesitate—call us at (770) 760-1967 and schedule your inspection today!

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