Home Inspections
Building Inspections
Prime Building InspectionsBuilding Inspector

Radon

The EPA Recommends:
1. If you are buying a home or selling your home, have it tested for radon.
2. For a new home, ask if radon-resistant construction features were used and if the home has been tested.
3. Fix the home if the radon level is 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher.
4. Radon levels less than 4 pCi/L still pose a risk, and in many cases, may be reduced.
5. Take steps to prevent device interference when conducting a radon test.

Radon is a radioactive gas that has been found in homes all over the United States. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water, and gets into the air you breathe. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above, and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Radon can also enter your home through well water. Your home can trap radon inside.

Any home can have a radon problem, including new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements. In fact, you and your family are most likely to get your greatest radiation exposure at home. That is where you spend most of your time.

Nearly one out of every 15 homes in the United States is estimated to have an elevated radon level (4 pCi/L or more). Elevated levels of radon gas have been found in homes in your state.

Measuring radon levels is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. The EPA and the Surgeon General recommend measurements be taken at all homes below the third floor for radon.

You cannot predict radon levels based on state, local, or neighborhood radon measurements. Do not rely on radon test results taken in other homes in the neighborhood to estimate the radon level in your home. Homes which are next to each other can have different radon levels. Radon measurements are the only way to find out what your home's radon level is.

Since you cannot see or smell radon, special equipment and training is needed to detect it. When you're ready to measure your home for radon levels your home, you can hire a qualified radon measurement technician who will use the radon device(s) suitable to your situation. If you hire a home inspector, make sure you hire a qualified InterNACHI member like PRIME Building Inspections. We are licensed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to measure radon levels in homes and buildings.

The quickest way to measure is with short-term measurement tests. Short-term measurement tests remain in your home from two days to 90 days, depending on the device. There are two groups of devices which are more commonly used for short-term radon measurement. The passive-device group includes alpha-track detectors, charcoal canisters, charcoal liquid scintillation detectors, and electret ion chambers. The active device group consists of different types of continuous monitors.

If you are measuring radon levels for a real estate transaction and need results quickly, take two short-term tests at the same time in the same location for at least 48 hours. Any real estate test for radon measurement should include steps to prevent or detect interference with the testing device.

PRIME Building Inspections highly recommends a minimum of two charcoal canisters for simultaneous short-term measurements performed on the lowest occupiable level, and one at the main living area below the third level.