Radon Gas IS Something You Should be Aware of...


You cannot get rid of Radon; there is no such thing as zero radon gas.  It is here to stay.  Radon is a carcinogenic gas that is hazardous to inhale. Build-up of radon in homes is a health concern and many lung cancer cases are attributed to radon exposure each year. About 12% of lung cancers and more than 20,000 Americans die of radon-related lung cancer each year. The Surgeon General of the United States has issued a Health Advisory warning Americans about the health risk from exposure to radon in indoor air.  Dr. Carmona, the Nation's Chief Physician urged Americans to test their homes to find out how much radon they might be breathing.  He also stressed the need to remedy the problem as soon as possible.

You cannot see, smell, or taste radon. But it still may be a problem in your home.  When you breathe air containing radon, you increase your risk of getting lung cancer.  In fact, the Surgeon General of the United States has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today.  If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.

Testing is the only way to find out your home's radon levels. EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon. If you find that you have high radon levels, there are ways to fix a radon problem. Even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels. Radon has been found in homes all over the United States. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Radon can also enter your home through well water.  Your home can trap radon inside.

Any home can have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements. In fact, you and your family are most likely to get your greatest radiation exposure at home. That is where you spend most of your time. Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the United States is estimated to have an elevated radon level. Elevated levels of radon gas have been found in homes in your state.

High Levels of Radon Gas

I have been a licensed home inspector (RBI-1412) since 2003.  I always recommend that my clients have a radon test performed at the time of a home inspection.  While I will not specifically name Greenville County neighborhoods in this article, I can tell you that there are several well-established neighborhoods in the Greenville, Greer, and Simpsonville areas that are prone to elevated levels of radon gas.  Having said that, I have yet to see a home NOT be successully remediated.  I have seen costs to remediate a typical home of radon gas be anywhere from $1,200 - $3,500;   I am not in the radon gas remediation business.  However, I am in the business of educating home buyers, sellers, and owners to the very real danger of long term exposure to elevated levels of radon gas.  

Don't run!

Don't run for the hills yet.  Awareness is half the battle.  Get your home tested.  If a short-term test reveals there are elevated levels of radon, you may want to re-test to be sure.  If the radon test reveals levels at or above 4 pCi/L, you will want to get your home remediated  Consult with your knowledgeable Del-co agent.  They can refer you to a radon gas mitigation specialist.    Hey... do you move out of your home when the roof leaks?...  of course not!  You get the roof repaired or replaced.  A radon mitigation specialist can help if you have elevated levels of radon gas.

Just a couple of months ago, I inspected a home in the Greer area that had radon levels that averaged 18 pCi/L (picocuries per liter).  Safe levels are below 4 pCi/L.  Immediately after a radon mitigation system was installed (for about $1,700), the home tested at just over 1.4 pCi/L.  This is well within safe radon levels - in fact on par with the levels you would see in the outdoors! 

Posted by Robert Alexander on


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