Honest Home Inspection is offering $99 radon testing through the end of the year.
Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas. When radon gas is inhaled, the radioactive particles remain in the lungs. As radon gas decays further, it releases additional radioactive particles that can adhere to dust, which is also easily inhaled. Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer (after tobacco) in smokers.
Radon is a naturally occurring byproduct of the decay of thorium and uranium. Radon is found in high concentrations in igneous rocks, such as granite. This is why Minnesota, situated on the granite-rich Canadian Shield, has higher levels of radon.
The concentration of radon in a home or a business increases when the home is tightly sealed. Due to Minnesota’s extreme temperature fluctuations, many homes remain sealed in both the summer and winter months. With the addition of snow on the ground in the winter, the easiest place for radon to escape the soil is through your home’s foundation – even when your foundation doesn’t have any cracks. It can enter through spaces behind brick veneer walls that rest on uncapped hollow-block foundations, pores and cracks in concrete blocks, exposed soil, as in a sump or crawl space, and many other avenues.
The Environmental Protection Agency has equated radon exposure to smoking, making it easier for people to understand what their radon exposure is doing to their lungs. According to the EPA, exposure to 1 pCi/L of radon is equivalent to smoking 2.5 cigarettes a day.
Risk of adverse health effects increases with prolonged exposure, so if you do have basement bedrooms or a lower-level office space, you should immediately seek radon testing to ensure you aren’t needlessly exposing yourself, your family, or your employees to high levels of radon gas.
Even if you discover high levels of radon in your home, it is relatively easy and affordable to have a mitigation system installed.
Mitigation systems are best installed by National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) certified professionals.
Typically, a radon mitigation system involves inserting a pipe into the foundation of your home and exhausting it outdoors 12″ above the roof line. A fan can help create the vacuum to draw the radon from the soil. Once exhausted, the concentration is no longer at dangerous levels.
In general, radon mitigation system costs can range from approximately $800-$2500, with the average reduction system costing approximately $1500.
The Minnesota Department of Health offers this word of caution when hiring a radon mitigation professional: “Due to the recent increase in radon testing in Minnesota, consumers need to be aware of uncertified individuals conducting radon-related work. Be aware of uncertified installers and inexpensive mitigation rates (less than $1,000). Price quotes promising really low installation rates are often too good to be true and leave the consumer with sub-standard workmanship and materials and a radon system that may not be working. Be sure to get a firm price and avoid hidden fees for future work when it may become necessary. Also, do not pay for the system in full before the work is complete. A valid radon test showing reduced levels should be obtained prior to full payment.”