Testing & Mitigating Radon To Keep Your House Safe

You guys know we’ve been on a recent kick to make our home greener, including getting rid of harmful chemicals around the house and starting a compost bin.  But somehow we failed to mention one of the biggest things we did in the name of good indoor air quality:  test our house for radon.

The deal with radon is that it’s an odorless, colorless gas that comes from the ground and can leak into your home if it’s built on a spot with high concentrations of this radioactive killer.  I say “killer” because radon, according to the EPA, is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers (even more dangerous than second-hand smoke). Click the link at the end of this sentence to learn if your county lies in the red danger zones.

After reading about radon in a magazine, Sherry suggested we do the test almost immediately after moving in over two years ago.  I resisted at first – seeing it as a waste of time and money –  but eventually couldn’t argue with buying this $15 test that actually took little effort on our part.  So we set out the little test kit somewhere inconspicuous and 3 days later sent it in for results (using the pre-paid packaging provided in the test- easy as pie).  Then we waited a few weeks for the good news that our house was under the 4 pCi/L level that’s considered okay.

That news didn’t come.  Instead, our house was found to have 10 pCi/L of radon present in the air.  Baaad news.  More than twice the acceptable level of radon was silently seeping into our home.  So we contacted a certified radon mitigation professional recommended by our local radon office.  After he confirmed our results, we began the process of getting a radon reduction system installed in our house.

I’ll spare you the details of this, but basically it means that all the exposed earth in our crawl space was covered in an airtight plastic sheet to trap all the radon emissions before they can leak up into our home.

Then a newly installed piping system blows this toxic air up through our house (by way of the guest bedroom closet and the attic) and out of a new vent in our roof. Peace out, radon.

The system set us back about $2,100 (which wasn’t small beans, especially right after closing) but it works like a charm. When we retested our home after the system ran for a few months we got back a reading of 1.0 pCi/L- over 10 times less radon! It was even far less than normal outdoor air (which typically registers 1.2 pCi/L). We still test our house once a year to be certain that our radon mitigation system is properly functioning, and we strongly encourage all of you to do the same.  It’s only $15 and it could save your life- and anyone with pups or little people should be especially diligent in the fight against noxious (and obnoxious) radon.






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