Radon is a radioactive gas that can enter your home through the foundation. Once it enters your home, you breathe it in and it actually begins to change the DNA in your lungs, sometimes leading to lung cancer. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, just behind smoking. The only way you can determine the radon levels in your home is through specialized testing. Once you get the results back, there are certain levels that require immediate action, and some that are not so clear. The Environmental Protection Agency has very clear guidelines on what to do if your home comes back with a level above 4 pCi/L (picoCuries per Liter), but is a little more unclear about radon levels between 2-4 pCi/L.
Anything 4 pCi/L or above is considered high and the EPA recommends you take immediate action. This means you should have a radon mitigation or removal system installed in your home. These systems are affordable and installed in less than one day. You can click here to learn more or to request a mitigation system for your home if you have already tested and found high radon levels.
While there is no "safe" level of radon in your home, below a 2 is generally not something that requires immediate action. If your home has radon, it is difficult even with a mitigation system to get it much below a 2, although you should retest it in two years.
But what happens if your home falls in the gray area between 2-4?
Although the EPA recommends action above a 4, the World Health Organization says that your home should be under 2.7 pCi/L. For homes levels between 2-4, you should consider having a radon system installed in your home. This main factor in making this decision is the lowest livable floor in the home. If your basement is unfinished or unoccupied, there isn't as much urgency to have the home mitigated. However, if you have someone living in the basement and have a level of 3 pCi/L that is the equivalent of smoking 6 cigarettes each day. This is significant exposure for their lungs and you should probably install a radon mitigation system.
If you do choose not to install a mitigation system right away, you should make a note to retest your home within another year or two as radon levels can increase over time. You may be able to delay it a few years but if it jumps up over 4 pCi/L, you will need to install a system in the future.
If you have questions or want to request a test or bid for your home, contact our radon experts at 801-871-0715.