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Radon and water testing are the two most common services I'm asked to perform along with a home inspection.
What is radon?
Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that’s produced by decaying uranium. It’s present in nearly all soils, and very low levels of radon are found in the air we breathe every day.
Why is it a problem?
The problem occurs when radon gas enters your home and gets trapped. Long-term exposure to high levels of radon can cause lung cancer.
How does it enter a home?
The gas moves from the soil into a home. Although it can seep directly through pores in concrete, the worst entry points are gaps in walls and floors. Any house, of any age can have elevated radon levels. It really depends on the way your specific house interacts with the surrounding soil. Your neighbor’s radon level may differ significantly from yours.
How is it tested?
Two types of devices are most commonly used to test: electronic monitors and canisters. I use electronic monitors that test continuously for a minimum of 48 hours after a 12 hour "closed house period." All windows and doors must remain closed, other than normal entrance and exit. I return to pick up the monitor, typically three-four days after drop off and have readings immediately. Canisters have set exposure limits and require shipping and lab time, so I only use them if all my electronic monitors are out for other Customers or out for the state's required annual calibration.
What do my results mean?
The EPA recommends mitigation when results reach or exceed 4.0 pCi/L, or picocuries. Picocuries are a measure of Radon. If results are below 2.0 pCi/L, your results are within normal, acceptable levels. If between 2.0-4.0, your results are normal, but should be retested every two years to confirm the levels have not climbed.
What if my results are above 4.0 pCi/L?
If higher than 4.0 pCi/L, you should mitigate the radon so its pulled from your home. There are a variety of different ways to do this and I recommend speaking with a Maine State certified Radon Mitigation contractor. I don't recommend contractors or mitigate myself due to a potential conflict of interest. Click Here for the State of Maine Radon Website.