Radon is everywhere. It's outside in the air that we breathe, so it is definitely inside our homes, workplaces and schools. Any type of building can have Radon in it. More people are spending more time at home since the pandemic and, workplaces are still allowing their employees to work from home. Testing is simple and there is a remediation solution if you have High Levels of Radon. Where are you spending a lot of your indoor time?
What is Radon?
Radon is a tasteless, odorless gas that comes from the ground. Everyone has it, it's just that when the levels are higher than the guideline levels, it can become a problem. Every type of soil or rock has at least some traces or Radon. There are also no short-term side effects of Radon, so you won't have any immediate symptoms to watch for if you are exposed to High Levels of Radon.
Why are High Levels of Radon Bad?
Exposure to High Levels of Radon can contribute to Lung Cancer. It is the 2nd leading cause of Lung Cancer after Cigarette Smoking.
What is a High Level of Radon?
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, a level of 4 picocuries per liter of Radon is the guideline that was selected to be a reasonable level. Levels over this guideline are considered to be High Levels of Radon, and it is recommended to have Radon Mitigation done. Some experts might suggest that even that number is too high, but it has been determined to be a good guideline. The goal is to get the Radon Level as low as possible with the Mitigation.
How does Radon get into my Home?
It can enter through cracks in the floor or walls where the foundation touches the soil. It can also enter through your sump pump opening, crawl spaces, spaces around plumbing fixtures, electrical wires or hollow block walls.
How do I know if I have Radon in my Home or Workplace?
The only way to know is to test for Radon.
How do I get the Testing Done?
You can get do it yourself tests at a reasonable cost from your local Health Department, a local Hardware Stores, on the internet, or you can pay to have an inspector monitor your home. If you are testing for a home inspection for a purchase or sale (approximately $150-$200), use someone who is certified by the National Radon Proficiency Program of the National Radon Safety Board. Most tests will have to be in the home for 48 hours and then be analyzed.
How often should I test for Radon?
you should test every 2-5 years because the level of Radon can change as the ground naturally shifts and your home settles. If you home has a mitigation system, there should be a way to monitor to make sure that the system is functioning. Every once in awhile you should check and make sure the fan is still working.
What do I do if I have High Levels of Radon in my Home?
If you did your testing correctly, and your Radon Levels are High, you will want to have your home remediated. There are many options of where and how to install a Mitigation System. Here is an example of what a mitigation system looks like. You can also try to run the system from the ground in a different location if you don't have a sump pump. You can also try to camouflage the fan by adding it in the attic space if desired. This was the most effective way for this home. You can also paint the outside piping the color of your exterior, so that it blends in a little more with the exterior of the home. The exhaust pipe should extend past the roof line. This will help to keep the gas from getting back into the home through open doors and windows.
Here are some common myths about Radon in your Home:
1. High Levels of Radon aren't found in newer homes. (Radon can be found in any age home)
2. I should be ok. My Home is older and drafty. (Radon can be found in any age home)
3. I should be ok. I don't have a basement. (Radon can be found in any type of foundation)
4. My Neighbor next door doesn't have High Levels of Radon. I should be ok. (Radon can still be found in your home)
5. There is a lot of clay in my area. I should be ok. (Radon can be found in any type of soil)
6. I tested for Radon and the test was good. (You should retest every 2-5 years)
7. I have a mitigation system, I'm good. (You just need to monitor the system to make sure it's still working)
Governor Whitmer has declared January in Michigan as Radon Action Month. In her release on January 5, 2023, it states that 1 in every 4 homes is expected to have Radon Levels exceeding the federal action level of 4 picocuries per liter. It also states that elevated Radon Levels have been found in all 83 Counties in the State of Michigan. Some sources automatically install a mitigation system even if their levels are lower to be proactive.
Source Used: EGLE Michigan Department Environment, Great Lakes and Energy
Michigan.gov/Radon or call EGLE's (Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy) Indoor Radon Hotline at 800-723-6642.