Radon Defense Midwest Q&A
My neighbors house tested high for radon, does that mean mine will too?
Possibly, but not necessarily - there are many variables to consider. Radon levels fluctuate every hour of the day and from one home to the next due to many factors such as the amount of uranium, radium, thorium, and other radioactive elements in the soil and how quickly they are breaking down around the structure. The insulation of the home also has a lot to do with how concentrated the radon is, because a building that breathes will vent some of the radon, whereas a building that is well insulated traps air (and thusly radon) inside.
The only way to know a structure or home's radon level is to test.
Has anyone ever died from radon gas?
Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is responsible for about 21.000 lung cancer deaths every year, and about 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked.
Why is breathing in radon gas harmful?
Radon decay particles are radioactive and attach to particles in the air we breathe in our homes. Once breathed in, the radon decay particles transform our lung tissue, and over a long period of time may cause lung cancer. The higher the level and the longer the peroid of exposure, the greater the risk will be.
Can you cheat a radon test?
With basic charcoal test kits, it is fairly easy to cheat a radon test. Follow the instructions provided carefully to avoid inaccurate results.
When using a CRM test, a licensed professional can tell if a CRM has been moved or tampered with when they see the report.
How long do radon tests take?
Short term radon tests last from 48-96 hours. Long term radon tests can last from 30 days to a year.
How is a radon test performed?
The U.S. Office of Surgeon General, E.P.A., and Health Canada all recommend testing your home's radon levels every 2 years at the least.
The best approach to perform a radon test is a professionally calibrated radon monitor, such as a CRM Test, set by a licensed and trained specialist. These tests show hour by hour data, giving a better picture of the radon story happening in the home within just a few days. Reach out to our team for more information if you're interested in scheduling such a test.
Other options for testing include D.I.Y. charcoal radon test kits which you can purchase through us with our third party lab partner, Alpha Energy. This process usually takes a few weeks, and provides you with an average level of radon present in the home. Charcoal kits may also be found at your local hardware store.
How do I test for radon inside my home?
Be sure to set up the radon test in the lowest livable (unfinished or finished) space of your home, in the middle of the room, at least 2 feet off the floor, and where no drafts will blow over it from a fan, vent, or doorway. Closed home conditions (keeping windows and doors closed as much as possible) is necessary for proper testing.
Charcoal radon test kits may be purchased through us with our certified third party lab partner, Alpha Energy. The kit comes with clear instructions from Alpha Energy Labs. We'll mail the kit directly to you, and after testing, you'll mail the kit to Alpha Energy for the assessment and they provide you and us with the results. This process usually takes 1-3 weeks. Testing kits can also be found at your local hardware store.
You may hire us to perform a professional grade CRM Test. CRM stands for Continuous Radon Monitoring Test and does just that - monitors radon continuously throughout its set period. With this test, there is radon level data recorded every hour of the day, and then an average level is calculated. The test is not much larger than a piece of toast, and we have our licensed professionals set it according to the structure of your home. CRMs run for a minimum of 52 hours, so this process usually takes 3-4 days. We come back to assess the results and print off the report for you to keep. If levels are elevated, we can also discuss mitigation options and costs with you at that time.
Can you mitigate radon yourself?
The EPA has recommended that a licensed professional install a system in your home per state regulations.
Does radon have an odor?
No, radon cannot be smelled.
Does radon mitigation really work?
Yes! While its impossible to mitigate radon entirely down to level 0 pCi/L, our systems move radon gas out of the home and remove radon to a level that is as low as possible.
How do I choose a radon mitigation company?
We recommend looking for a trusted company with good reviews, and gathering recommendations from family and friends. Be sure the mitgiation teams are licensed, full time employees rather than independent contractors. Here are a few key questions to ask to weed out a headache of a radon mitigation project:
Does the company design their radon mitigation systems based on the structure of home and the customer's needs? (Do they consider extraction point and fan placement and how that will effect your home and quality of living?)
What kind of warranty do they offer on the levels and radon fan? Do they offer a 10 year warranty?
Are they going to last for a while to provide service and any necessary warranty work?
How do you get rid of radon gas in your home?
Many people don't know there is more than one way to mitigate radon. The most common method is depressurization, which involves an extraction point below the slab and an exhaust fan that pulls radon gas out from under and around the home, and redirects the radon up into the atmosphere where it can safely decompose. While there are different ways to mitigate, only one way is currently recognized by state regulation and that is depressurization.
Gather estimates and decide what kind of system you're looking for. We recommend choosing a state licensed and trained professional that understands the codes and regulations of the area in which you live.
How long does it take to install a radon system?
While it depends on the solutions for the structure of the home, a basic system can typically be installed in 2-3 hours, and more complex systems can take up to 1 day.
How long will the fan last?
The fan is mechanical so like any machine, with time it will age and eventually stop working. On average we’ve seen more modern fans last between 7-10 years. Our warranty guarantees 10 years on all parts, labor, and levels below 4 pCi/L.
How much does a system cost to run?
We use low voltage depressurization fans here at Radon Defense Midwest, because conserving energy for you and our planet is important to us. The electric cost to run fan 24/7 is about the same as running a 6o W light bulb. Radon fans typically run between 42-85 watts. Operating costs can be calculated by multiplying the device's wattage by the hours used per day, dividing by 1000, and multiplying by the kWh (per kilowatt hour) rate on the electric bill.
How much does it cost to put a radon system in?
A basic radon mitigation system starts around $1000 and goes up from there depending on the home’s unique needs. Can range from $800 - $1500+. As an indoor air quality company, our goal is to get radon as low as possible. We also include options to make your home healthy with different radon mitigation methods, duct cleaning, air purification and filtration, and ventilation.
I have a sump system, how will that effect the radon system?
All radon entry points openings must be sealed for system effectiveness, including sump systems. We can utilize the sump pit in most cases for depressurization, and we also use sub slab and membrane extractions for depressurization depending on the home's unique design.
I tested my home for radon and the results are slightly high. What now?
There is no such thing as a safe radon level. 66% of radon induced lung cancer cases come from homes with levels less than 4.0 pCi/L (Center for Environmental Research and Technology, Inc aka CERTI). This is why our goal is always to get radon levels as low as possible.
Fix your home. Don't wait, mitigate.
I tested my house and results are slightly high... what now?
No level of radon is considered "safe", so we recommend having a licensed professional provide education and options for mitigation depending on your home's unique structure and your unique needs.
Is the fan noisy and will it yellow?
The fan is a mechanical motor that produces sound, of which the level of noise is subjective to each individual. People have differing sound preferences based on their sound sensitivity. Our design specialists discuss the sound and placement of the radon exhaust fan is chosen based on each homeowner's unique needs. While we can’t change the mechanical noise, we do have options to address air flow noise such as our muffler and fan cover. Our fans don’t yellow over time as they are UV resistant.
Is there radon in every home?
Yes, radon is present in every structure: homes, schools, office buildings, grocery stores, libraries, etc. No level of radon is "safe".
The EPA strongly recommends considering radon mitigation if your home's level is over 2 pCi/L. (66% of radon induced lung cancer occurs within this range of 2 - 4 pCi/L.) They definitely encourage mitigation for any levels above 4 pCi/L. Outdoor natural exposure to radon is 0.4 pCi/L.
Should you buy a house with high radon levels?
Anyone can buy a house with high radon levels, but you will want to mitigate as soon as possible. You'll want to be careful as most radon contractors will put in a one extraction point system with a fan that may or may not mitigate effectively. The seller is concerned with cost and regulations, where the buyer is typically more concerned with air quality and who fixes the radon issue for their new home.
What are the symptoms of radon in your home?
Persistent cough, Hoarseness, Wheezing, Shortness of breath, Coughing up blood, Chest pain Frequent infections like bronchitis and pneumonia, Loss of appetite.
What do you do if your radon levels are high?
Give us a call, or send us an email, and we'll set up a time with you to provide a free estimate with all the methods of radon mitigation so that you can choose what is best for you and your home!
What is radon in real estate?
As of now, it is becoming more common to test homes for radon in real estate transactions, but it is not yet required by state or federal regulations. The buyers of home want to know that the home is healthy, and radon affects health. Sellers of home should take care of radon issue prior to selling for their own health. The radon industry relates to real estate transactions, but we’re different than the rest of the industry because we care about the health of the home and the homeowners that live there.
What is the highest radon level?
The highest recorded level of radon in the USA was 2600 pCi/L in Boyertown, PA. Radon fluctuates every hour throughout the day, having peaks and valleys in levels in any given structure. Our team has seen levels in IA and NE anywhere between 0.4 – 295 pCi/l. Our protocols to design systems fix the home no matter the level.
What states have high radon?
Radon is present in every state of the USA. Levels naturally differ from state to state, and high levels have been recorded in all states. Iowa and Nebraska have some of the highest radon level averages in the country. For more information, refer to NCSL.org.
Where is radon most commonly found?
Radon is present outdoors and indoors. It is normally found in low levels (less than 0.4 pCi/L) in outdoor air, and when it is trapped indoors it increases in levels as it breaks down.
Who pays for radon remediation?
The homeowner is responsible for paying for their radon mitigation systems. We recommend fixing any radon issue for yourself while you're still living there, and the good news is, it will be taken care of already when you’re ready to sell!