Radon Testing | Angies List Tips
You can't see, taste or smell it, but it can pose a serious threat to your family's health. Radon can seep into your home from underground and build up to a dangerous level if trapped indoors.
The best way to tell if you have radon in your home is to test it. Every home should be tested regardless of whether it's new, old or been tested before.
Angie’s List went to its highly-rated experts on radon detection and reduction for information on how to keep your family safe.
Quick facts about radon:
- It's a radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium inside the earth. It enters the home through cracks in floors and walls and becomes trapped inside. Radon levels then build up over time.
- Radon is measure in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). The EPA recommends that homes with radon levels at 4 pCi/L or higher be fixed.
- Radon can be found anywhere in the U.S.; anywhere in your house.
- It is present in nearly all air. However, according to the U.S. Surgeon General, people who inhale high levels of radon are at an increased risk for developing lung cancer. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S.
- The presence of radon in the home is preventable.
Test your home:
- The only way to tell if you have a problem is to perform a test.
- Testing can be done in one of two ways: you can buy a testing kit at your local hardware store for usually less than $25. Make sure to check that the test meets EPA requirements and follow the directions carefully. Most tests take two days. After the test, you typically seal the detector back in the package and mail it to a lab.
- Or you can contact a licensed radon testing company. A professional can provide feedback immediately after the test.
- Because radon levels fluctuate, the EPA recommends a follow up test before fixing your home. If the second test confirms high levels of radon, (4 pCi/L or higher) choose a qualified radon contractor to fix your home. If you decide to do the work yourself, check first with the EPA on training courses and information.
- You should test for radon every couple of years or every time you remodel your home, or if you are buying or selling a home.
Tips to hire a qualified radon service professional to test or fix your radon problem:
- The right mitigation system depends on many factors, including the design of your home. A system with a vent pipe and fan is typically used to reduce radon.
- Check radon detection and reduction reviews on Angie's List (www.angieslist.com).
- Many states certify or license radon contractors. Call your state health or environmental management agency's radon office for information about qualified service providers in your state.
- Get more than one estimate in person because every house is different and hire a company who will install the system according to EPA’s recommended standards.
- Find someone who will stand by the work and service it. Find a contractor who promotes post-mitigation testing and provides a guarantee to get the levels at least below 4 pCi/L.
- Installing a radon control system normally takes one day. Costs vary from $700-$2,000, but complicated systems can cost up to $3,000. Pricing depends on whether there is a crawlspace, septic drainfield, or sump pump. The amount of piping needed to run the system correctly is also a factor in the cost.