Radon Gas Testing

  • Radon is a radioactive, toxic gas
  • Odorless, invisible, and tasteless
  • 2nd leading cause of lung cancer
  • Surgeon General and EPA advise testing prior to occupancy U.S. deaths per year
  • High levels in 25% of our homes according to the State of Michigan

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Surgeon General recommend that all homes be tested for radon gas prior to moving in.  Levels can vary widely, even home to home in the same neighborhood. According to the State of Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy 1 in every 4 Michigan homes has high levels of radon.

Tagged the “silent killer”, radon doesn’t get a lot of press and most people don’t know much about it. It is the #1 cause of lung cancer among non-smokers according to the American Cancer Society.  According the National Conference of State Legislatures, radon causes approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year in the United States.

Radon is a radioactive, tasteless, odorless gas. It’s a natural by-product of decaying uranium in soil, rock, and water. Radon typically moves up through the ground and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Radon can also enter your home through well water.

The good news is we can test for your radon gas levels. If your test result shows elevated levels of radon the problem can be corrected quickly and easily. Please note that to avoid any possible conflict of interest, we do not offer radon mitigation services.

We use commercial grade continuous radon monitors for all of our radon testing. This active method is by far the most accurate technology in the field of radon tasting. Passive radon testing methods, including charcoal canisters, alpha-track detectors, charcoal liquid scintillation devices, and electret ion chamber detectors, are less precise and can compromise your safety. These outdated measuring techniques should not be used by home inspectors.

 

Radon Frequently Asked Questions

Where does radon come from?

Radon is a gas that is radioactive, odorless and tasteless. It’s a naturally occurring product coming from the decay of radium. Radium, in turn, comes from the radioactive decay of uranium. Both of these are present in almost any kind of soil or rock. Phosphates, shales, granites and certain other types of rock have higher than average concentrations of uranium, and as such, may produce higher concentrations of radon. However, elevated radon levels can occur even in areas with low concentrations of uranium in the soil or rocks. 

Is radon prevalent in Michigan?

One in four homes has a radon problem per Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Safety. The only way to know if your home has high radon levels is to test. 

What radon level is considered safe?

There is no “safe” radon level. There is some risk to be associated with any exposure, and as a general rule, the higher the radon level and the longer the exposure, the greater the risk. 

Congress has a set long-term goal of reducing indoor radon levels so they are no higher than exposure to air outdoors. Outdoor levels normally fall between 0.3 picocuries per liter (pCi/l) and 0.7 pCi/l.  That range isn’t technologically achievable indoors at this time. Currently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency uses a threshold of 4 pCi/l as a high level. Whether a home has  10, 20, 50 or 100 pC/l the current mitigation practice is able to bring the level down to below 4 pCi/l for a reasonable amount of money, with a reasonable amount of effort, over a reasonable period of time.

Is radon really a health risk?

Yes, radon is a Class A carcinogen, meaning it causes cancer in humans. It is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer (after smoking) resulting in approximately 21,000 preventable deaths every year in the United States according to the Surgeon General. Your risk is determined by many factors such as how much radon is in your workplace, school, home (and/or or other indoor environment); the amount of time you spend in indoors, and whether you currently or have ever smoked. The longer the exposure, and the greater the radon level, the higher the risk.

How will I know if I have a problem?

Testing is the only way you can tell if there is an elevated level of radon in your home. Physical warning signs simply don’t exist. It is impossible to detect it from the senses. Radon levels may vary drastically from home to home in the same neighborhood. Test results from next door cannot safety be relied upon. You must test your home. I’ve tested homes 60 feet apart and had differences of 3+ pC/l.

How does radon make it into my home?

Radon enters homes through cracks and openings that are sometimes invisible in the foundation floor or walls, wherever there is in contact with soil. Because it’s a gas, radon gas moves to lower pressure from high pressure areas. Generally, the home is at lower pressure than the soil, so radon leave high pressure soil  traveling through crawlspaces, hollow masonry walls, floor joints, wall frame cavities, floor and wall joints, sump crocks, around wiring and plumbing spaces and other places.

Who should test my home for radon?

Professional grade continuous radon monitors used by a trained radon technician is by far the most accurate way of testing. These monitors should be laboratory calibrated once a year for accurate measuring. All other methods use inferior technology. Do not rely on them for you and your family’s safety.

Can radon problems be fixed?

A high level of radon is not a good reason to walk away from a real estate deal. Once it’s fixed it’s a major plus because it isn’t an unknown when you sell the house.

When a problem has been confirmed, hire a professional radon mitigation contractor to help you reduce the to lower the levels. A professional contractor will install a radon mitigation system and guarantee that levels will drop below 4 pCi/l. The process is very simple and uses a vent pipe(s) with fans to remove radon gas from beneath the home exhausting them above the roof edge, ensuring the exhaust doesn’t enter your home.

The cost of a radon mitigation system in Michigan will vary depending who you hire, the extent of piping, the number of collection holes under the house. The job takes less than a day to from start to finish. Once the system is in place we will be your 3rd party tester to ensure the contractor’s work is effective.

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