Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the soil surrounding your home. It’s produced when uranium, thorium, and radium break down in soil, rock, and water. It is then released into the air. Radon is odorless and invisible.
Radon is all around us. In fact, you’re probably breathing it in every day, even if it’s at a low level. However, you can’t tell if you’re breathing it in at a high level. The danger in radon exposure is that you can’t see it, taste it, or smell it. And you won’t have any symptoms to alert you. Long-term exposure to high levels of radon can be dangerous to your health.
You’re exposed to radon when you breathe it in. High amounts of radon may be found in your home, the workplace, a school, or any public building. You spend the most time in your home, so that’s where radon exposure is most likely.
Radon can come up through the ground and into your home through cracks in the foundation. Once it’s through the cracks, it can get trapped inside, where it builds up. It can also get into your home through well water.
Any home can have a radon problem. It does not matter the age of the home, the size of it, or it’s foundation. This means, brand new homes and old homes, well-sealed homes and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements, or even a home on a crawl space can all have elevated levels of radon.
This is a common myth. Radon exposure can happen on any foundation type, whether it has a basement, a crawl space, or is built on a slab.
No. Any age home can have a radon problem, from a brand-new build, to the oldest homes around. It doesn’t matter how old your home is, if there is the right amount of radium in the soil and there is a way to get in, you could have a serious problem.
It’s not enough just to know that the house next door has been tested, because radon levels can vary from one building to the next. The only way to know for sure if you have too much radon in your home is to test for it.
Breathe Wright Radon and Air Quality Services uses an “active” device called a CRM (continuous radon monitor). The radon test is conducted in the lowest portion of a home that could be occupied, while all exterior doors and windows are closed. This is the most common method used by professional radon inspectors for short-term (48 hours) radon testing during a real estate transaction.
The US EPA has established the “action level” for deciding when you need to “do something” about the radon in your home, school, or work place is 4 pCi/l or above.
pCi/l= picocuries per liter, the most popular method of reporting radon levels. For those interested in the numbers, a picocurie is 0.000,000,000,001 (one-trillionth) of a Curie, an international measurement unit of radioactivity.
Call Breathe Wright Radon and Air Quality Services to have it remediated the right way!
The right remediation method depends on the building design, construction materials, and other factors. The typical method includes sealing cracks and other openings in the foundation (the EPA does not recommend the use of sealing alone to reduce radon levels).
A radon reduction system consists of a plastic pipe connected to the soil, either through a hole in the slab, via a sump lid connection, or access beneath a plastic sheet in a crawl space.
The radon is then mitigated by installing a vent and fan system that withdraws the radon gas from beneath the foundation and exhausts it outside of the building that continuously operates to discharges the radon outdoors.
A passive radon system is a radon system without the radon exhaust fan. Passive radon systems rely on what’s referred to as a “stack effect”. The stack effect relies on air pressure differentials to move air and radon gas through the pipe from the basement to the exhaust vent. You will find that some home builders these days are installing passive radon pipes during the building phase. Contrary to what some buyers may believe, this is not an “active radon system.” Installing a passive system does offer some peace of mind in knowing they are minimizing the risk of radon gas exposure, and if testing reveals higher than acceptable levels of radon, then installing fans to make the system active is easy and low-cost.
Passive radon systems can work if installed properly. Passive radon systems also might not work if installed properly. Some systems are labeled as radon systems and are not installed correctly and do not work at all.
If radon levels are still above the recommended level, you will need to activate the passive system by having a fan professionally installed.
Your costs may vary depending on the size and design of your home and which radon reduction methods are needed. Generally, the cost will likely range between $900 to $2500. Replacing a fan with an existing system will cost around $400 – $600 including parts and labor.
Get an estimate from our qualified radon mitigation team at Breathe Wright Radon and Air Quality Services! Hundreds of thousands of people have reduced radon levels in their homes.
It is recommended to test your home every 2 years to be sure radon levels remain low. Even if your test result is below 4 pCi/L, you will want to test again in the future to be assured it remains at a safe level.
A radon test should also be done after doing major renovations or if your living patterns change and you begin occupying a lower level of your home (such as a basement) you should retest your home on that level.
The answer is Yes! The most important rule of understanding if your radon mitigation system is working right is to check your radon levels. Have a radon test performed and repeat additional tests at least every two years.
If your levels are low throughout your home, that is your first indication that the system is doing its job. If your levels are high, you may need to contact the original installer or another professional to come out to make the system work right. Do not rely on the original radon test result or what someone told you it was. Do not assume that the system is keeping radon levels low, it could be a deadly mistake.
Similar to a furnace or chimney, radon reduction systems need some occasional maintenance. You should look at your warning device on a regular basis to make sure the system is working correctly. Fans may last for five years or more (manufacturer warranties tend not to exceed five years) and may then need to be repaired or replaced. It is a good idea to retest your home at least every two years to be sure radon levels remain low.
The World Health Organization (WHO), the National Academy of Sciences, the US Department of Health and Human Services, as well as EPA, have classified radon as a known human carcinogen, because of the wealth of biological and epidemiological evidence and data showing the connection between exposure to radon and lung cancer.
Radon gas can damage cells in your lungs, which can lead to cancer. Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States, though it usually takes 5 to 25 years to develop.
According to the American Cancer SocietyTrusted Source, smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. Radon comes in second. About 10 percent of radon-related cancer deaths involve people who don’t smoke. People who do smoke and are exposed to high levels of radon are at even greater risk.
It’s estimated that lowering radon levels below 4 pCi/L could reduce lung cancer deaths by 2 to 4%.
Indoor air quality (also called “indoor environmental quality”) describes how inside air can affect a person’s health, comfort, and ability to work. It can include temperature, humidity, lack of outside air (poor ventilation), mold from water damage, or exposure to other chemicals.
Mold is a type of fungus. These small organisms can be black, white, orange, green, or purple and live almost anywhere indoors and outside. Molds thrive on moisture and reproduce through lightweight spores that travel through the air.
You’re exposed to mold every day. They’re usually harmless in small amounts. In some cases, mold in your home can make you sick, especially if you have allergies or asthma.
Whether or not you’re allergic to molds, mold exposure can irritate your eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs. When mold is growing on a surface, spores can be released into the air where they can be easily inhaled. If you’re sensitive to mold and inhale a large number of spores, you could experience health problems.
Mold enters your home as tiny spores. The spores need moisture to begin growing, digesting and destroying. Molds can grow on almost any surface, such as wood, ceiling tiles, wallpaper, paints, carpet, sheet rock, and insulation. The mold grows best when there is lots of moisture from a leaky roof, high humidity, or flood. There is no way to get rid of all molds and mold spores from your home. But you can control mold growth by keeping your home dry.
If you’re concerned that the air in your home is compromised by mold, you can find some peace of mind knowing that Breathe Wright Radon and Air Quality Services knows exactly how to test for mold. We use state of the art technology to collect samples in strategic locations that are then sent off to an accredited laboratory for evaluation. The results will be reported and delivered typically in 3-5 days.
While there are thousands of species of mold in existence, most homeowners are concerned about Stachybotrys chartarum, commonly known as “toxic mold” or “black mold.” This species of mold is actually quite rare, but it’s one of a number of molds that produces a high level of mycotoxins (dangerous mold-based chemicals) that can create a hazardous home environment. That said, any species of mold can become a health risk if it’s allowed to grow out of control.
Yes you can. Dry out the house and fix any moisture problems in your home:
• Stop water leaks, repair leaky roofs and plumbing. Keep water away from concrete slabs and basement walls.
• Open windows and doors to increase air flow in your home, especially along the inside of exterior walls. Use a fan if there are no windows available.
• Make sure that warm air flows into all areas of the home. Move large objects a few inches away from the inside of exterior
walls to increase air circulation.
• Install and use exhaust fans in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.
• Ventilate and insulate attic and crawl spaces. Use heavy plastic to cover earth floors in crawl spaces.
• Clean and dry water damaged carpets, clothing, bedding, and upholstered furniture within 24 to 48 hours, or consider removing and replacing damaged furnishings.
• Vacuum and clean your home regularly to remove mold spores.
• Check around your windows for signs of condensation and water droplets. Wipe them up right away so mold can’t start to grow.
Lead is a toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around our homes. Lead-based paint is present in many homes built before 1978.
The federal government banned the use of lead-based paint in housing in 1978. To learn more about lead, visit http://www.epa.gov/lead.
Many homes built before 1978 have lead-based paint. In general, the older your home, the more likely it has lead-based paint. Household dust can pick up lead from deteriorating lead-based paint or from past renovation projects.
Lead is known to cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and death. Children six years old and under are most at risk from exposure lead-based paint because they crawl on the floor and they put their hands and other items which can have lead-based paint dust on them into their mouths. Because their bodies are still growing, children tend to absorb more lead than adults.
Many houses and apartments built before 1978 have some lead-based paint. Lead from paint chips, and dust can pose serious health hazards if not taken care of properly. Federal law requires that individuals receive certain information before renting or buying pre-1978 housing. Sellers and landlords must:
• Disclose information on known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in the housing being sold or rented;
• Provide buyers and renters with any available records or reports pertaining to lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards in the housing; and
• Provide buyers and renters with a copy of the pamphlet entitled “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home.”
In addition, sellers must give potential buyers an opportunity to check the home for lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards. To learn more about the lead disclosure rule for real estate, visit https://www.epa.gov/lead/real-estate-disclosure.
The older your home, the more likely it contains lead-based paint. For example, 87% of homes built before 1940 have some lead-based paint, while 24% of homes built between 1960 and 1978 have some lead-based paint. Lead-based paint may be present in private single-family homes or apartments, government-assisted, or public housing, and in urban, suburban, or rural settings. If you want to know whether or not your home contains lead-based paint, EPA recommends one of the following:
• Assume your home contains lead-based paint and take the appropriate precautions. In pre-1978 homes and buildings, this is the simplest and safest approach.
• Hire a certified professional from Breathe Wright Radon and Air Quality Services to test for lead-based paint.
To test for lead-based paint in your home, EPA recommends that you hire a certified inspector or risk assessor. Breathe Wright Radon and Air Quality Services is certified for lead-based paint testing.
We will conduct an inspection to determine whether your home or a portion of your home has lead-based paint and where it is located. This will tell you the areas in your home where lead-safe work practices should be used for renovation, repair, or painting jobs.