Sustainable Saturday - Radon Testing

When we purchased our home almost 6 years ago, our Realtor advised that we should have a Radon test conducted. Being first time homeowners we agreed and learned that our home had a high level of Radon (4 picocuries per liter, or pCi/L, or higher).  As a result, we installed a Radon Mitigation System which is a vent pipe system and fan, which pulls radon from beneath the house and vents it to the outside. 
We recently re-tested with a Short-Term Test Kit and here are the results:


* Radon Test Result = 1.2 pCi/L
* Test Started 03/15/10 at 5:00 pm
* Test Ended 03/21/10 at 11:00 am
* Location Basement

What is Radon?
  • Radon is an odorless, colorless, radioactive gas.
  • The average indoor radon level is estimated to be about 1.3 pCi/L, and about 0.4 pCi/L of radon is normally found in the outside air. 
  • Radon can be found all over the United States and every 1 in 15 homes is estimated to contain elevated levels of Radon (4 picocuries per liter, or pCi/L, or higher).
  • Radon can be tested to determine if your home (or commercial structure) has elevated levels of Radon.  
  • If you find elevated levels of Radon, you can have a Radon Reduction (or Mitigation) System installed.  These systems are affordable and can easily be negotiated as part of your contract if you are purchasing an existing home.
  • There are two types of Radon Testing, Short-Term Testing (2-90 days) and Long-Term Testing (90 days +). 
  • New structures (both residential and commercial) can be built with Radon Resistant Features.  If purchasing a new home, it still should be tested even if it was designed with Radon Resistant Features.
This graphic from the US EPA's website illustrates how Radon may enter a structure:
  1. Cracks in solid floors
  2. Construction joints
  3. Cracks in walls
  4. Gaps in suspended floors
  5. Gaps around service pipes
  6. Cavities inside walls
  7. The water supply

There are great resources available if you are interested in learning more. The U.S. EPA's website has a section, A Citizen's Guide to Radon.

EPA Recommends:
  • Test your home for radon it's easy and inexpensive.
  • Fix your home if your radon level is 4 picocuries per liter, or pCi/L, or higher.
  • Radon levels less than 4 pCi/L still pose a risk, and in many cases may be reduced.
Consumer's Guide to Radon Reduction: How to fix your home

State Radon Contact Information

Ohio Radon Info, News, County Levels, Inspectors and Mitigators

Ohio Department of Health - Radon Test Kits ($6.95)

Images courtesy of the U.S. EPA.

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