How to Keep Radon From Building Up in Your Home

What is radon and how can you keep it out of your home?

Radon is a gas produced from the radioactive decay of the element uranium. It can be found naturally moving through soil, water, or air.  After seeping from the ground, it can enter the building materials of a home through foundational cracks and/or sump pumps. From there, it can get trapped in basements (or main levels, if you live in a home built on a slab) and accumulate.

Radon is measured in units of picocuries per liter (pCi/L), and the EPA states that radon becomes harmful once it reaches or exceeds 4 pCi/L.

There are a couple ways you can test for radon. If you already own a home, you can buy a radon testing kit at any local hardware store or big-box store. If you’re purchasing a home, I recommend getting it tested by a professional. A professional radon test costs around $200 and takes two days to complete.

If you didn’t get your home tested for radon when you bought it, you can always do it now.

In either case, if the test comes back positive, the mitigation process will typically cost anywhere from $1,000 to $1,200. To mitigate radon, they simply stick a PVC pipe in the ground with a fan attached that sucks the radon out and releases it into the atmosphere. It’s not a hard fix, but it is something you should be aware of if you change your sleeping arrangements or a member of your household decides to live in the basement.

If you’re curious how prevalent radon is in your specific area, Fairfax County provides a radon potential map on their website. In the video above, we’ve printed out a copy of this map to show you what it looks like. Officially, the EPA classifies Fairfax County as “Zone 1,” which is high.

So remember, if you didn’t get your home tested for radon when you bought it, you can always do it now.

If you have any more questions about radon, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We’d be happy to help you.

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