You've likely heard of radon, but do you really understand the dangers that it can present in a home? If the answer is no, you're not alone. Radon is one of the least understood dangers that can present itself in a house, but it's not something that should be overlooked. Here's why:
Radon: The “The Silent Killer”
You might've heard radon being given this nickname and wondered why. Radon is a radioactive gas, and as its moniker implies, it's virtually undetectable. Odorless, colorless, and non-combustible, radon does its damage over the long term, causing the development of lung cancer in those exposed to it for a moderate to long period of time.
In fact, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon poisoning is estimated to be the cause of death for more people per year than drunk driving, drowning, and house fires, among other “common” causes.
Radon Isn't Limited By Geography
Contrary to what some believe, everywhere in the United States and beyond is at-risk when it comes to low indoor air quality and the presence of radon in the home. The reason for this is simple. Virtually everywhere where there's soil, there are trace amounts of the chemical element uranium. When that uranium decays over time, it gives off a notable byproduct: radon.
The radon enters your home through cracks in the foundation, weak spots in basement floors and sub-floors, and through improperly sealed window and door closures. The problem is, radon can get into most homes, but once it enters, it gets trapped, meaning that if your home is susceptible to increased levels of radon in the air, the concentration will keep getting higher until the issue is addressed. By that point, however, it may be too late to protect your health.
What Are Your Options?
Fortunately, finding out whether you have a radon problem or not can be solved with simple radon testing, done by a licensed home inspector.
Why Should I Use a Home Inspector for Radon Testing?
Professional home inspectors are experienced in testing for radon, which means they understand all the standards and protocols involved. Here are a few reasons why having a home inspector do professional radon on your home and be testing is non-negotiable.
They're familiar with the standards.
There's a level of radon inside a home that the EPA deems unsafe for human exposure. That level is 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L), which is more than likely expressed in measurements most private homeowners don't understand. When certified home inspectors get training in air quality measurement, however, they learn the factors that differentiate healthy air from the alternative, and as such, know the steps needed to fix the issue.
They have experience with the testing equipment.
There's more than one way to test for radon, ranging from passive testing — leaving a device in the home to gather data over time — to active testing systems, a more real-time measurement of radon levels using advanced equipment. No matter which one you choose, however, user error can blunt the precision of the test. Only an experienced specialist can guarantee the most accurate readings from home radon testing.
Home inspectors know what tests need to be done in different cases.
If you're having a home tested before a potential purchase, the standard testing guidelines are actually different than those set down by the EPA. This is because of the delicate nature of the pending transaction present in real estate situations.
Your home inspector will know these best practices and make sure they're carried out to ensure that the sale can go as smoothly as possible.
Radon Testing Home Inspection
The home inspectors at Bell Harig carry out thorough house and property inspections — including radon testing. Buying a home or just wondering whether you should be concerned about your indoor air quality? Contact us today.