Radon Levels - Radon is an odorless, invisible, and radioactive gas that rises from the ground into homes, and exposure to radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers. Long-term exposure to this radioactive gas in homes leads to lung disease, but it’s possible to reduce your risk.
Radon is measured in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and World Health Organization (WHO) have recommendations for pCi/L levels where you should consider mitigation, your goal should always be to reduce radon to as low of a level as possible in a home. The guidelines created by these organizations were established to match the technology of the time, but it’s important to remember that there is technically no safe level of radon, there are just levels that pose less risk than others. This doesn’t mean you should panic, but it does mean you should install a system if you test high (depending on your radon level and usage of different parts of your home).
At Utah Radon Services, our goal is to educate and protect Utahns from the dangerous effects of radon. If you’re wondering if you should install a system based on your results, we’re here to help!
The EPA and WHO do not recommend installing a radon mitigation system if your home’s level is below 2.0 pCi/L. Outside air tests at about 0.4 pCi/L, and you are not at high risk at these levels. If your home tests below 2.0 pCi/L, the EPA recommends testing again every two years, or any time a structural change is made to your house. If you performed your last test in the summer, your next test should be conducted during the winter as levels can rise during the winter months. The goal is to ensure that your home’s radon levels average out to be 2.0 pCi/L or lower throughout the year.
Once your home starts testing at 2.0 pCi/L, the EPA recommends that you consider a radon mitigation system. The EPA has stated that any radon exposure carries risk, and even radon levels below 4.0 pCi/L pose some risk, even if they aren’t the highest levels possible. If your home tests between 2.0–4.0 pCi/L, there is a chance you could still have side effects of long term exposure, so it’s important to not fall into a false sense of security just because your result isn’t 4.0 pCi/L or higher.
When we have customers call us with questions about levels between 2.0–4.0 pCi/L, we ask them questions about their homes to help them decide if they should install a system. The main factor to help you decide if you should install a system is based on the lowest livable floor in the home. If your lowest floor is unfinished or unoccupied, there isn’t as much urgency to have the home mitigated. However, if you have someone living on that floor or if you use it frequently, it’s a good idea to have a system installed to reduce your exposure risk.
The WHO recommends installing a radon mitigation system at 2.7 pCi/L or above. Though the recommendations may vary between 2.0–4.0 pCi/L, you should do your best to reduce your radon levels as low as possible if you test high, particularly if you spend a significant amount of time on the lowest level of your home.
4.0 pCi/L is a commonly known action level and is the level the EPA strongly recommends installing a radon mitigation system. The higher your radon level is, the higher your risk of lung disease, including lung cancer. If your home has already tested above 2.0 pCi/L, you can request a free bid for a system from Utah Radon Services here.
Reputable radon mitigation companies will give clients a radon level guarantee to protect them. If a system is installed and your level is above the guarantee, the company should return to do more work to further lower the radon levels at no additional charge. At Utah Radon Services, the guarantee is not our only radon level goal—we are always trying to get the radon levels down to as low as possible with a reasonable budget to keep costs in mind for customers.