House Detective, LLC Home inspections
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How Do I Check For Radon?
|Conduct radon testing in the lowest lived-in level of your home. Tests should be placed in a room that is regularly used. Avoid testing in bathrooms or kitchens because moisture can affect the accuracy of tests.
If you are considering selling your home, test for radon as soon as possible to avoid the time constraints of the real estate transaction process.
Step 1. Take a short-term test (2 to 90 days long). If your result is 4 pCi/L or higher take a follow-up test
Step 2. Conduct a follow-up test with either a long-term test (90 days to one year) or a second short-term test.
Step 3. If you followed up with a long-term test: consider fixing your home if the result is 4 pCi/L or higher. If you followed up with a second short-term test: consider fixing if the average of your first and second tests is 4 pCi/L or higher.
The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, second only to smoking. The U.S. EPA has established an "action level" of 4 pCi/L (4 pico curies per liter of air). If your home has a radon level of 4pCi / L or greater EPA recommends that you fix the home. The average indoor radon level is estimated to be 1.3 pCi / L , 0.4 pCi / L is normally found in the outside air. Remember the ONLY way to know if you have a problem is to test. The EPA recommends that you hire a state certified company that is trained to test and remove high levels of radon. For more information please go to our links page.Radon entry into buildings
Radon moving through soil pore spaces and rock fractures near the surface of the earth usually escapes into the atmosphere. Where a house is present, however, soil air often flows toward its foundation for three reasons: (1) differences in air pressure between the soil and the house, (2) the presence of openings in the house's foundation, and (3) increases in permeability around the basement (if one is present).
In constructing a house with a basement, a hole is dug, footings are set, and coarse gravel is usually laid down as a base for the basement slab. Then, once the basement walls have been built, the gap between the basement walls and the ground outside is filled with material that often is more permeable than the original ground. This filled gap is called a disturbed zone.
Radon moves into the disturbed zone and the gravel bed underneath from the surrounding soil. The backfill material in the disturbed zone is commonly rocks and soil from the foundation site, which also generate and release radon. The amount of radon in the disturbed zone and gravel bed depends on the amount of uranium present in the rock at the site, the type and permeability of soil surrounding the disturbed zone and underneath the gravel bed, and the soil's moisture content.
The air pressure in the ground around most houses is often greater than the air pressure inside the house. Thus, air tends to move from the disturbed zone and gravel bed into the house through openings in the house's foundation. All house foundations have openings such as cracks, utility entries, seams between foundation materials, and uncovered soil in crawl spaces and basements.
Most houses draw less than one percent of their indoor air from the soil; the remainder comes from outdoor air, which is generally quite low in radon. Houses with low indoor air pressures, poorly sealed foundations, and several entry points for soil air, however, may draw as much as 20 percent of their indoor air from the soil. Even if the soil air has only moderate levels of radon, levels inside the house may be very high.
What is Radon?
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