Radon is a colorless, odorless and tasteless radioactive gas that is found in homes. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air we breathe.
Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Radon gas decays into radioactive particles that get trapped in your lungs when you breathe. As they break down further, these particles release small burst of energy. This can damage your lung tissue and lead to lung cancer over the course of your lifetime. Radon is estimated to cause between 15,000 and 22,000 lung cancer deaths each year.
Yes. ALL homes have some radon. Regardless of whether the home is new, old, large or small, with a basement. or built over a crawl space or slab foundations. In some homes radon levels can be elevated to levels that significantly increase the incidence of lung cancer. The only way to know if your home has elevated levels is to test.
Radon usually enters buildings mixed with other gasses from the soil. Usual entry points are open sumps, cracks in floors and cinder block walls, openings in floors (from electrical, plumbing and other penetrations), floor drains, etc. Radon is literally pulled or sucked into the building due to what is called the “stack effect.” Warm, heated air inside the building will rise and exit at higher elevations. This loss of air requires make up air which often comes from the soil through the above-mentioned areas. Other exhausting appliances (such as fireplaces, dryers, bathroom fans, etc.) can also increase the rate of radon entry.
As with all carcinogens, the lower the level of exposure, the better. Outdoor levels are 0.4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter), and indoor levels vary. The average indoor radon level in the United States is 1.3 pCi/L. The EPA says that levels under 2.0 pCi/L are ideal, levels under 4.0 are acceptable. The EPA and DNS recommend a homeowner take action to lower the level at 4.0 pCi/L or higher.
The Surgeon General and EPA recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon. In real estate transactions Reliable Radon Inspections, Inc. will perform a short-term test. This test takes a minimum of 48 hours. We will provide you with the measurement results and Radon Test Report immediately upon picking up the radon monitor(s). If the results of this test are 4.0 pCi/L or higher then mitigation is recommended.
For real estate transactions we recommend state-of-the-art electronic test devices called Continuous Radon Monitors. CRM devices continuously measure and record the amount of radon in the air on an hourly basis. This information will reveal any unusual or abnormal swings in the radon level during a test period and are specifically designed to deter and detect test interference or weather anomalies. Each device contains a motion detector to determine if the device has been moved. Results are available immediately at the conclusion of the test.
Unlike natural gas, carbon monoxide or other toxic airborne gasses, radon does not continue to build in concentration. Because ½ the radon “decays” every 3.8 days, an equilibrium is reached and radon levels remain fairly constant. Testing any home requires that the building be kept closed for at least 12 hours before and DURING the test, negating the concern that the house has been vacant and closed up for a long period.
No. Our radon monitors do nor emit anything. They are a specialized type of Geiger counter which measures alpha particles of radiation. They log the hourly radon levels, as well as the average for the test period. The also log any touching or bumping, as well as any power interruptions.
All homes can be fixed. A licensed radon mitigation professional will be able to advise you on the best course of action for your home.
No. Illinois law clearly states that if a company test a property for radon, then the same company cannot mitigation the same property; this rule was created for the protection of the consumer. In our opinion, providing both radon testing and radon mitigation service is a conflict of interest. It is very unfortunate that many companies in the industry have chosen to get around this state rule by starting a separate/second company. We caution consumers of this practice and strongly recommend asking any Radon Professional if that they directly or indirectly are skirting the law. It is mind blowing how many ‘related’ companies have been set up where say, a husband owns a mitigation company and his wife owns a radon testing company.