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Frequently asked questions about Radon - New York State Home Inspections

Frequently asked questions about Radon

What is radon? Radon is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless inert gas produced by decay of uranium and radium. It is naturally occurring radioactive gas produced in many soils and rocks. Radon is a known human carcinogen. Radon decay products or RDPs are the solid material that cause the cancer risk.

What are the risk factors of being exposed to radon? When alpha emitting particles are inhaled into the lungs there is an increased risk of lung cancer which grows exponentially in smokers. Low exposures to Radon over long periods of time are associated with a greater risk than high exposures for a shorter duration. Wearing a filtered respirator, which does not remove radon
gas, will provide substantial protection due to filtering out the cancer causing RDP’s that are now solids.

What is consider a safe level (if any) for radon? The EPA uses 4pCi/L (the unit of measurement for radioactive materials called Curies a picocurie is a millionth of a millionth). A picocurie per liter is noted as pCi/L. EPA notes the “action level” at 4pCi/L, but has clarified that radon levels lower than 4pCi/L pose a risk, and thus, the EPA advises that the public may wish to consider reducing levels from 4 to 2pCi/L. The average indoor levels have been estimated at 1.3pCi/L while average outdoor levels are at 0.4pCi/L in the United States.

What should I do if I find elevated levels of radon in my home? If you conduct a short term radon test and the results are near or at the “action level” 4pCi/L you have two clear choices. You can conduct a second short term test to confirm original findings. You could also choose to go directly to mitigation. Mitigation systems are known to maintain safe levels of radon within the home. The systems have an average cost of $800 to $1500, depending on house and market conditions. EPA suggests radon gas testing every five years or after any major renovation. Radon water testing every two years.

Does this area have an elevated radon level? 1 out of 15 homes in the US have elevated levels of radon. To find the average radon level in your area you can ask me and I can give an estimate by county or a more accurate by town/city, or you can visit the map of Radon Zones in New York based on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data

How much is this going to cost me? What type of test are you conducting? To test radon gas in the air the fee is $105/2000sqft (this is a 48 to 72 hour test requiring two visits to the site). A two charcoal canister system will be used and the test is conducted (for Real Estate transactions per EPA) in the lowest level suitable for occupancy. Radon in water singer sample cost is $75 for collection and laboratory analysis.

New York State Home Inspections offers servicers anytime day or night weekday or weekend with little to no advanced planning. If there are time restrictions, we can work around them to make sure your home purchase is not delayed. Do not decline your right to a home inspection because you’re worried it cannot be done in time.