Inspections for Radon to Reduce Health Risks in New Jersey Homes
January 31, 2020
Radon in homes can be a hidden health risk, especially since this naturally occurring radioactive gas is odorless and colorless. Formed from the decay of tiny amounts of uranium in rocks and soil, radon dissipates quickly in the open air but can become trapped in structures, such as houses, offices, and schools. According to the EPA, about one in every 15 homes in the U.S. has elevated radon levels. Fortunately, radon inspections can determine whether your home — or a home you're considering buying — need radon mitigation.
Health Risks Of Untreated Radon
Because radon is in the air, people living in a home with a high concentration of radon can breathe it in and get sick. According to the World Health Organization, radon causes between 3-14% of lung cancers, making it the most prominent cause of this type of cancer after smoking. Radon doesn't cause immediate symptoms, unlike other gases, such as CO2, and there isn't any way to clear it out of your system once you have been exposed. People who smoke are at higher risk for developing lung cancer if they have also had radon exposure, so smokers should be particularly aware of radon levels in their homes.
Assessing Radon Risk Inside Your Home
Many things affect whether radon builds up inside your home, and structures next door to each other might have extremely different levels of radon. The underlying amount of radioactive uranium in the ground beneath your home is one factor. Still, the building materials, age of your home, and house design can also affect the overall radon level. Radon is highest at levels close to the ground, so professional testing typically involves checking radon levels on the lowest floor in the home. In some homes, this might be the ground floor, while in others, it might be a basement or cellar.
Cracks in your foundation or holes that let in wires and pipes might be an access point for radon to enter your home. Renovations that change a home footprint could also introduce new points of entry or areas where radon could build up. A home inspection by a professional can identify these types of risk factors before they become a major problem.
Reducing The Risk Of Radon In Homes
Essentially, radon builds up inside a structure when it rises from the ground and gets trapped inside a space instead of dissipating. Radon mitigation involves placing barriers between the lowest level of your home and the ground underneath along with creating pathways for radon and other ground-produced gases to escape into the air outside. For homes with higher levels of radon, active measures are another option. This might include fans that remove air from the areas in the home with the highest radon concentrations or sump pumps that remove water from beneath the home that could contain radon.
Radon testing helps you determine whether radon in your home is a potential problem for your family. Testing is most accurate when measurements are taken over a period of a few months. The EPA recommends mitigation for homes with radon levels above four picocuries per liter, and some families opt for radon mitigation at lower levels to be safe.
Contact Us About Radon Inspections
Whether you're buying a house, selling a house, or have concerns about the place where you currently live in New Jersey, count on the licensed, trained, and fully insured inspectors at All Jersey Home Inspection to test your home for radon and give you the information you need to make a decision about mitigation. Call us today at 908-917-0194 or contact us through our online form to find out more information about scheduling a radon inspection for your home.