Radon Testing Fees
Radon Testing with a Home Inspection: $135
Radon Testing without a Home Inspection: $175
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Radon Certification #2527
Professional Home Inspection uses the latest technology in radon gas detection using Sun Nuclear 1028 continuous radon monitors.
The radon certification act requires that anyone who provides any radon-related service or product to the general public must be certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. You are entitled to evidence of certification from any person who provides such services or products. You are also entitled to a price list of services or products offered. If you have any questions, comments or complaints concerning persons who provide radon-related services, please contact the Department at the Bureau of Radiation Protection, Department of Environmental Protection, P.O. Box 8469, Harrisburg, PA,. 17105-8469, (717)783-3594 or (800) 237-2366.
Protecting Yourself and Your Family from Radon
Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas. You can’t see radon you can’t smell it or taste it. But it may be a problem in your home. Radon is estimated to cause many thousands of deaths each year. That’s because when you breathe air containing radon, you can get lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.
Radon comes from the natural radioactive breakdown of uranium in soil rock and gets into the air you breathe. Radon can be found all over the U.S. It can get into any type of building, homes, offices, and schools and result in a high indoor radon level. But you and your family are most likely to get your greatest exposure at home, where you spend most of your time.
Testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. The EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes for radon. Millions of Americans have already tested their homes for radon. You can fix a radon problem. Radon reduction systems work and they are not too costly. Some radon reduction systems can reduce radon levels in your home by up to 99%. Even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels.
How does Radon get into Your Home?
Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up. Any home may have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements.
Radon gets in through:
- Cracks in solid floors
- Construction joints
- Cracks in walls
- Gaps in suspended floors
- Gaps around service pipes
- Cavities inside walls
- The water supply
Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels. Elevated levels of radon gas have been found in homes in Pennsylvania. While radon problems may be more common in some areas, any home may have a problem. The only way to know about your home is to test.
Test Your Home
It’s not hard to find out if you have a radon problem in your home. All you need to do is have your home tested for radon. The amount of radon in the air is measured in “picocuries per liter of air,” or “pCi/L”. If you are buying or selling a home, you should hire a qualified tester.
Every new home should be tested after occupancy, even if it was built radon-resistant. If radon levels are still in excess of 4 pCi/L, the passive system should be activated by having a qualified mitigator install a vent fan.
What Your Test Results Mean
The average indoor radon level is estimated to be about 1.3 pCi/L, and about 0.4 pCi/L of radon is normally found in the outside air. The U.S. Congress has set a long-term goal that indoor radon levels be no more than outdoor levels. While this goal is not yet technologically achievable in all cases, most homes today can be reduced to 2 pCi/L or below. However, the EPA believes that any radon exposure carries some risk, no level of radon is safe. Even radon levels below 4 pCi/L pose some risk, and you can reduce your risk of lung cancer by lowering your radon level. If your living patterns change and you begin occupying a lower level of your home such as a basement you should retest your home on that level. Even if your test result is below 4 pCi/L, you may want to test again sometime in the future.
The EPA Recommened Action Level is 4 pCi/L
The EPA recommends you test your home for radon, it’s easy and inexpensive. The EPA’s action level to fix your home is 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher. Radon levels less than 4 pCi/L still pose a health risk, and in many cases may be reduced.
How to Lower the Radon Level in Your Home
Since there is no known safe level of radon, there can always be some risk. But the risk can be reduced by lowering the radon level in your home. There are several proven methods to reduce radon in your home, but the one primarily used is a vent pipe system and fan, which pulls radon from beneath the house and vents it to the outside. This system, known as a soil suction radon reduction system, does not require major changes to your home. Sealing foundation cracks and other openings makes this kind of system more effective and cost-efficient. Similar systems can also be installed in houses with crawl spaces. Radon contractors can use other methods that may also work in your home. The right system depends on the design of your home and other factors.
The cost of reducing radon in your home depends on how your home was built and the extent of the radon problem. Most homes can be fixed for about the same cost as other common home repairs. The average house costs about $1,200 for a contractor to fix, although this can range from about $800 to about $2,500.
Radon and Home Sales
More and more, home buyers are asking about radon levels before they buy a home. Because real estate sales happen quickly, there is often little time to deal with radon and other issues. The best thing to do is to test for radon NOW and save the results in case the buyer is interested in them. Fix a problem if it exists so it won’t complicate your home sale. During home sales Buyers often ask if a home has been tested, and if elevated levels were reduced. Buyers frequently want tests made by someone who is not involved in the home sale.
The Risk of Living with Radon
Radon gas decays into radioactive particles that can get trapped in your lungs when you breathe. As they break down further, these particles release small bursts of energy. This can damage lung tissue and lead to lung cancer over the course of your lifetime. Not everyone exposed to elevated levels of radon will develop lung cancer. And the amount of time between exposure and the onset of the disease may be many years. Like other environmental pollutants, there is some uncertainty about the magnitude of radon health risks. However, we know more about radon risks than risks from most other cancer-causing substances. This is because estimates of radon risks are based on studies of cancer in humans (underground miners). Your chances of getting lung cancer from radon depend mostly on how much radon is in your home the amount of time you spend in your home.
MYTH: Scientists aren’t sure radon really is a problem.
FACT: Although some scientists dispute the precise number of deaths due to radon, all major health organizations (like the Centers for Disease Control, the American Lung Association and the American Medical Association) agree with estimates that radon causes thousands of preventable lung cancer deaths every year.
MYTH: Radon testing is difficult, time consuming and expensive.
FACT: Radon testing is easy. You can hire a qualified radon test company.
MYTH: Homes with radon problems can’t be fixed.
FACT: There are simple solutions to radon problems in homes. Hundreds of thousands of homeowners have already fixed radon problems in their homes. Radon levels can be readily lowered for about $800 to $2,500 (with an average cost of $1,200).
MYTH: Radon only affects certain kinds of homes.
FACT: House construction can affect radon levels. However, radon can be a problem in homes of all types: old homes, new homes, drafty homes, insulated homes, homes with basements, homes without basements. Local geology, construction materials, and how the home was built are among the factors that can affect radon levels in homes.
MYTH: Radon is only a problem in certain parts of the country.
FACT: High radon levels have been found in every state. Radon problems do vary from area to area, but the only way to know your radon level is to test.
MYTH: A neighbor’s test result is a good indication of whether your home has a problem.
FACT: It’s not. Radon levels can vary greatly from home to home. The only way to know if your home has a radon problem is to have it tested.
MYTH: It’s difficult to sell homes where radon problems have been discovered.
FACT: Where radon problems have been fixed, home sales have not been blocked or frustrated. The added protection is sometimes a good selling point.
MYTH: I’ve lived in my home for so long it doesn’t make sense to take action now.
FACT: You will reduce your risk of lung cancer when you reduce radon levels, even if you’ve lived with a radon problem for a long time.
For Further Information visit www.epa.gov
Check the above Web site for a listing of your EPA regional office.
EPA Regional Offices – 1-800-SOS-RADON (767-7236)
Operated by the National Safety Council in partnership with the EPA.
Sample list of some of the publications available through the above sources and at www.epa.gov/radon/pubs:
- Home Buyer’s and Seller’s Guide to Radon
- Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction
- EPA Map of Radon Zones and Fact Sheet
- Buying a New Home? How to Protect Your Family From Radon
- Building a New Home, Have You Considered Radon?
- Building Radon Out: A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Build Radon-Resistant Homes
- EPA Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes
- A Citizen’s Guide to Radon