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Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible, colorless, odorless, radioactive gas whose origin is uranium within the earth's soil. Elevated levels have been found in homes in every state. No home is exempt; new or old, well-sealed or drafty, with or without a basement. The National Academy of Sciences estimates that radon, the second leading cause of lung cancer, is responsible for between 15,400 and 21,800 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States.

Is your home in a "high" radon area?

Radon Inspection

What is Radon gas and where does it come from?  

Radon is a deadly decay product of Uranium. A simplified version of the breakdown process follows.

Radon-222 is a radioactive gas that is released during the natural decay of Uranium, a naturally occurring element found in varying amounts in rock and soil. Radon gas is odorless, tasteless and invisible, and cannot be detected with the human senses but only with special Radon testing procedures. As Radon-222 decays, it emits alpha particles (lead, polonium, bismuth), which when inhaled can damage lung tissue, and has been confirmed to be a leading cause of lung cancer in humans..

Is my home in a “high” Radon area? 

As Radon gas inspections show, the Radon level can vary from house to house and is not a predictable situation.

Take a look at these Radon potential and EPA Radon maps to determine if your home is located in a "high" Radon area.

Is your home in a "high" radon area?

What are the health hazards of poor Radon testing?  

Radon causes cancer. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, second only to smoking. If enough alpha particles from Radon and Radon decay products are inhaled, they can cause physical and chemical damage to the highly sensitive stem and basal cells of the human lungs..

What types of device are used for Radon testing?

There are several instruments and methods used for Radon tests. Most Radon inspectors use passive devices, such as charcoal canisters, which do not rely on a separate power supply; such devices generally produce questionable and unverifiable results. A much better method of Radon testing is performed with the help of active devices, which require a separate power supply to operate. We use continuous Radon monitors, which produce highly accurate and verifiable results.

Where is the instrument placed during the Radon inspection?  

The Radon testing device should be placed in the lowest potential livable area of the house, including an unfinished basement, unless otherwise requested by a client. A Radon test should not be performed in a basement or sub-area that could never be finished without first having to perform major structural changes. The Radon gas testing should be in a room that is used regularly but not in the laundry room, bathroom, storage closet, or kitchen.

Why do you test for Radon in the basement when I don’t live in the basement? 

The EPA states, “The testing device(s) should be placed in the lowest level of the home suitable for occupancy. This means testing in the lowest level currently lived in or a lower level not currently used, such as a basement, which a buyer could use for living space without renovations.”

From whom do we obtain our Radon inspection results?

US Inspect’s HQ will send results to you via e-mail. After our inspector picks up the Radon gas testing device, data is delivered electronically to our HQ for review by our technicians.

When can I get the results of our Radon testing? 

Within one day of Radon device pick-up. Delivery interval may vary based on unexpected circumstances.

Can you tell me the Radon testing results when you pick up the machine?  

No. We use continuous monitor Radon test devices and data is transmitted electronically back to our HQ for evaluation and quality assurance review.

What happens if the Radon level is high?  

The EPA’s current recommendation is to mitigate Radon if test results show a level of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher. It is preferable, if a high Radon concentration has been detected, to have the problem taken care of prior to placing the property on the market. In today’s markets, it is very likely a potential buyer will request a Radon testing to be performed, and if higher than acceptable levels of Radon are discovered, the buyer will request the problem to be fixed.

If I have Radon, how do I get rid of it? 

Radon in the ground is drawn indoors by the pressure differential between the inside (lower pressure) and the outside (higher pressure) of the house or dwelling. Radon reduction methods fall into two basic categories--prevention of Radon entrance into the dwelling and removal of the Radon once it has entered into the dwelling. Sealing cracks and other openings in the foundation is the first step of most Radon reduction methods, however, this should not be considered the only step necessary. Sealing cracks and openings is most effective if it is used in conjunction with other mitigation techniques. One of the most popular methods of mitigation is known as “sub-slab depressurization” or “suction.”  The sub-slab depressurization method removes the Radon-laden air from beneath the foundation and vents it to the outside of the house via a pipe, which has one end installed downward through the foundation floor into the gravel below, and terminating the opposite end outside the shell of the house. Another method is known as “sub-membrane depressurization” and is used more in sub-areas (basements and crawlspaces that have dirt floors. This method uses a plastic vapor barrier through which the bottom end of the mitigation pipe is run. Yet another method is to terminate the bottom end of the mitigation pipe into the hollow core of a block foundation wall. This method is known as “block wall depressurization.”

Who should I call for Radon mitigation after the inspection?  

We have a policy of not recommending individuals or companies to perform repairs or mitigation, as this would be a conflict of interest. Contact your specific state's Radon office for a list of valuable resources for consumers, realtors, building contractors and industry professionals.

How much does mitigation/remediation cost?  

The actual cost of Radon mitigation or remediation depends on several factors, including the age and style of the dwelling. The cost to have a contractor install a mitigation system can vary from $500 to as much as $2,500 or more.  The average cost for mitigation is $1,200.

How does a Radon mitigation system work? 

A sub-slab depressurization system works by bypassing the negative pressure inside a house, using a continuous air channel that runs from the area beneath the basement slab or sealed crawlspace vapor barrier up to and through the finished roofline. This air channel usually consists of the largest diameter PVC piping that will fit inside of a finished wall (usually a 3 to 4 inch inside diameter). Somewhere along this piping will be a continuously running, electrically driven fan that creates a negative pressure in the sub-slab area and pulls the Radon-contaminated air through the house without it getting into the breathable air. A common place for the Radon exhaust pipe to be installed is in the sump pump pit. If there is no sump pump pit in the basement area, a section of the basement slab will have to be removed for the bottom of the pipe to be installed.

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Radon Testing Overview

You can't see radon. And you can't smell it or taste it. But it may be a problem in your home.

Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas. Radon is estimated to cause many thousands of deaths each year. That's because when you breathe air containing radon, you can get lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.


Radon gas may be detected in any home or building in the U.S.

Home inspections provided by US Inspect determined that Radon gas must be tested all over the US. Radon can penetrate into homes from natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. People, who live, work or study at home breathe dangerous radioactive air. The more time they spend in the particular house, the more harm they get from Radon gas not even knowing about it.
 

Why should you schedule the Radon inspection today?

It’s impossible to detect Radon without special equipment because Radon has no smell or color. The United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Surgeon General have studied the situation and issued the recommendations to carry out the Radon testing in all homes below the third floor, so as commercial houses and school buildings.
Radon testing is an inexpensive and easy procedure. It takes a few minutes. Professional Radon inspections have been effectively performed in millions of houses and buildings all over the US to give the important information to protect the health of those who live, work or stay in these places. (see How to Test Your Home).
 

What is the next step after positive Radon inspection results?

There are different efficient Radon reduction solutions for a fair price. The most productive of them can lower the Radon concentration in the whole building up to 99%.These solutions will be helpful even for very high levels and will be able to reach acceptable levels of Radon concentration that are not harmful for people.
 

When building a new home, is it possible to protect it from the Radon penetration?

Fortunately, there are some modern Radon-resistant construction techniques protecting your home from Radon entry. If you follow all technical requirements during the development process, these simple and cost-effective techniques can help reduce indoor Radon levels to below 4 pCi/L. At the same time, their installation at the time of construction guarantees that it will be much easier to reduce Radon if it appears later.  
Our home inspectors recommend testing every home after occupancy, even if it was built Radon-resistant. Remember that when Radon levels exceed 4 pCi/L, it becomes harmful for your health. In this case, passive system should be activated by having a qualified mitigator install a vent fan.

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Entry Points for the Radon Testing

How does Radon get into your home?

At US Inspect, we provide Radon testing services all over the country, and determined that Radon can be discovered in any home. It takes its origin in the natural decay of uranium. The small concentration of uranium appears in almost every soil. As a result, Radon comes out of the ground and penetrates into the air in the house finding its way through cracks and small holes in the foundation. Your home traps Radon inside, where it can build up. Any type and kind of building may contain Radon gas inside it. It doesn’t depend on the home age, type of materials used for construction, or if it has a basement. Without the professional Radon testing it’s almost impossible to be aware that your home is Radon-free.

Knowing that the main number of Radon problems come from the uranium in the soil, Radon gas also may enter the home through well water (see "Radon in Water" below).

Radon gets in through:

  • Cracks in solid floors
  • Construction joints
  • Cracks in walls
  • Gaps in suspended floors
  • Gaps around service pipes
  • Cavities inside walls
  • The water supply

Official statistics state that almost 7% of all homes in the United states have Radon gas concentration in the indoor air higher than permitted by health standards. It is 1 out of every 15 homes. We recommend checking the general information about the Radon gas in your city or area first. Some areas are considered to be more Radon-risky but even in the areas with the lowest Radon level there are problem homes. The only way to be sure is to schedule for Radon testing.

Schools and commercial buildings require Radon testing as well. We recommend contacting the closest state Radon office to learn about the results of the last Radon testing in your children’s school, daycare and childcare facilities, and workplaces in your area.

 

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Risks of Postponing Your Home Radon Testing

Radon Risk If You Smoke

Radon Level If 1,000 people who smoked were exposed to this level over a lifetime*... The risk of cancer from radon exposure compares to**... WHAT TO DO:
Stop smoking and...
20 pCi/L About 260 people could get lung cancer 250 times the risk of drowning Fix your home
10 pCi/L About 150 people could get lung cancer 200 times the risk of dying in a home fire Fix your home
8 pCi/L About 120 people could get lung cancer 30 times the risk of dying in a fall Fix your home
4 pCi/L About 62 people could get lung cancer 5 times the risk of dying in a car crash Fix your home
2 pCi/L About 32 people could get lung cancer 6 times the risk of dying from poison Consider fixing between 2 and 4 pCi/L
1.3 pCi/L About 20 people could get lung cancer (Average indoor radon level) (Reducing radon 
evels below 2 pCi/L is difficult.)
0.4 pCi/L About 3 people could get lung cancer (Average outdoor radon level)
Note: If you are a former smoker, your risk may be lower.
* Lifetime risk of lung cancer deaths from EPA Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes (EPA 402-R-03-003).
** Comparison data calculated using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 1999-2001 National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Reports.

Radon Risk If You've Never Smoked

Radon Level If 1,000 people who never smoked were exposed to this level over a lifetime*... The risk of cancer from radon exposure compares to**... WHAT TO DO:
20 pCi/L About 36 people could get lung cancer 35 times the risk of drowning Fix your home
10 pCi/L About 18 people could get lung cancer 20 times the risk of dying in a home fire Fix your home
8 pCi/L About 15 people could get lung cancer 4 times the risk of dying in a fall Fix your home
4 pCi/L About 7 people could get lung cancer The risk of dying in a car crash Fix your home
2 pCi/L About 4 person could get lung cancer The risk of dying from poison Consider fixing between 2 and 4 pCi/L
1.3 pCi/L About 2 people could get lung cancer (Average indoor radon level) (Reducing radon levels below 
2 pCi/L is difficult.)
0.4 pCi/L   (Average outdoor radon level)
Note: If you are a former smoker, your risk may be higher.
* Lifetime risk of lung cancer deaths from EPA Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes (EPA 402-R-03-003).
** Comparison data calculated using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 1999-2001 National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Reports.
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Myths about the Radon Inspection

MYTH: There are no scientific proofs of real Radon problems.

FACT: According to the reports of all the major health organizations (like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Lung Association and the American Medical Association) state that Radon becomes the reason for thousands of lung cancer deaths every year. To be accurate, it’s about 15,400–21,800 cases per year. Most of them could be preventable if Radon had been detected at the early stage. Also, the statistics shows that smokers have higher probability of lung cancer caused by Radon gas, so they need to schedule the Radon inspection and, maybe, think about quitting smoking.


MYTH: Radon testing is expensive and takes too much time.

FACT: Radon testing is among the easiest procedures in the list of all home inspection services. Some home owners do Radon testing themselves, but a more common practice is to schedule the professional Radon inspection. Radon testing takes about 48 hours.
 

MYTH: Equipment for the Radon testing is difficult to buy or rent, and it is not reliable.

FACT: Everyone can easily get professional Radon testing equipment from the local Radon inspectors or home inspection companies. These devices make high-quality tests with minimum measurement errors. You may also consider purchasing Radon testing equipment in hardware stores and other retail outlets, or making online order. You may get the list of the local Radon inspectors or home inspection companies from the closest Radon office.
 

MYTH: It’s impossible to get rid of Radon gas in your home.

FACT: Hundreds of thousands of homeowners have managed to lower Radon gas concentration to the minimum level, which is not dangerous for the health. Effective and easy-to-install solutions cost from $800 to $2,500 (an average cost is $1,200). If you contact your state Radon office, they will provide more information and will help to find a trusted mitigation contractor.
 

MYTH: Radon testing is a necessary procedure only for the certain kinds of homes.

FACT: It’s only half of the truth. Construction materials and technologies affect how easy Radon may penetrate. There are some other factors that influence the level of Radon gas in the air including local geology and how the home was built.
At the same time, Radon may appear in any type of buildings including old houses, new houses, drafty homes, insulated homes, buildings with basements, and buildings without basements.  
 

MYTH: Radon inspection is “a must” only in some specific areas.

FACT: Statistics prove just the opposite. There are homes and buildings with high Radon gas levels in every state of the country. Certainly, specialists determined different average levels of Radon gas in different cities and states, but to be aware that your home is safe we recommend scheduling the Radon inspector visit as soon as possible.
 

MYTH: You don’t need to do a Radon testing yourself but may use the results of your neighbor.

FACT: No, you can’t. At US Inspect, we face hundreds of cases when Radon levels are more than twice different in the neighbor houses. For your security, we recommend to schedule the Radon inspector visit as soon as possible.
 

MYTH: Water Radon testing is a compulsory inspection.

FACT: The probability of Radon penetration through water is much lower that the probability to find the high level of Radon gas in the home air. However, to be aware that there is no Radon in your water, we recommend doing the following. If your water comes to your house from a public water supply that uses ground water, contact your water supplier.  If you use water from a private well and expect to have the high Radon concentration, contact US Inspect to schedule the Radon inspection.
 

MYTH: If Radon testing results are positive, you’ll face serious difficulties trying to sell your property.

FACT: Radon problems don’t last forever. There are special ways and devices to mitigate the Radon level to the minimum.


MYTH: I’ve lived in my house for many years, there is no difference if I do Radon testing today.

FACT: It’s better to mitigate the Radon level as soon as possible to decrease the risk of lung cancer. Today is the best day to start thinking about your health.
 

MYTH: To be aware of the quality of the Radon testing, it shouldn’t be short-term.

FACT: Short-term Radon testing is very reliable. You may use the results of a short-term Radon testing followed by a second short-term test* without any doubt. However, the closer the average of your two short-term Radon testing is to 4 pCi/L, the less certain you can be about whether your year-round average is above or below that level. One should take into consideration that even if the Radon testing results are lower than 4 pCi/L, your home is not 100% Radon-safe. There are special ways and devices to mitigate the level to the level of 2 pCi/L or below.

 

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Maps

Generalized Geologic Radon Potential of the United States Legend










 







  Uranium Concentrations Legend
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Stats

The National Academy of Sciences estimates that radon causes 15,400–21,800 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States.

In 1998, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation VI (BEIR VI) Report, which is to date, the most extensive and thorough study of health effects attributed to radon exposure and its decay products. The following are key pieces of information from the BEIR VI Radon Report.

  • The NAS estimates that radon causes 15,400–21,800 lung cancer deaths per year in the U.S.
  • Elevated levels of radon have been discovered in homes in every state.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Surgeon General recommend testing homes for high levels of indoor radon. The average indoor radon level in U.S. homes is 1.3 picoCuries per liter of air (pCi/L).
  • More than 1 million homes in the U.S. have radon levels above 8 pCi/L.
  • More than 60,000 homes in the U.S. have radon levels above 20 pCi/L.
  • Since 1988, more than 11 million homes have been tested; more than 300,000 homes have been corrected; and more than 1.3 million new homes have been built radon-resistant.
  • The BEIR VI Report found that even very small exposures to radon can result in lung cancer. In fact, the NAS concluded that no evidence exists that shows a threshold of exposure below which radon levels are harmless.
  • The BEIR VI Report concludes that many smokers will get lung cancer from exposure to radon, which exacerbates the effects of smoking.
  • Committed to protecting the public’s health, the EPA has in place a voluntary program to locate homes with high levels of radon.
  • There is no question that if you quit smoking, you will reduce your risk of lung cancer. But reducing radon exposure is another confirmed way to reduce lung cancer risk.

US Inspect’s continuous radon monitor is the most accurate and reliable radon measurement device used today. US Inspect ensures your safety and protection against radon!

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