What is Radon?

Home Inspector with Pro Home Radon Measurements

What is Radon?

Radon is a naturally occuring radioactive gas that you can't see, taste, or smell.  It is produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. Radon is measured in picocurries per liter (pCi/L) of air.  The Illinois Emergency Management Agency Department of Nuclear Safety (IEMA-DNS) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) recommends that action be taken to radon reduce levels if the average is 4pCi/L or higher.

What are the health effects?

Radon is the #1 cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.  Radon gas decays into radioactive particles that can get trapped in your lungs when you breathe.  As they break down further, these particles release small bursts of energy.  This can damage your lung tissue and lead to lung cancer over the course of your lifetime.  Radon is estimated to cause between 15,000 and 22,000 lung cancer deaths each year.

How do you test for Radon?

The Surgeon General and EPA recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon. In real estate transactions Pro Home Radon Measurements will perform a short term test. This test takes a minimum of 48 hours. If the results of this test are 4 pCi/l or higher then mitigation is recommended.

How do you get rid of it?

In Illinois the cost will range from $800 to $1200 to have radon mitigated from your property.  Should you have more than one foundation type (i.e. crawl, basement, slab) the cost can increase slightly.  The most common type of mitigation is sub slab depressurization. This method involves drilling through the basement/slab floor, connecting pvc piping and an electric air pump and routing it all outside above the gutter line. 
This is a near 100% effective system and costs very little to operate. A contractor must be licensed through the IEMA DNS to mitigate radon in Illinois.



Comments (7)

Linda Sanderson
Coldwell Banker Solano Pacific - Benicia, CA
I'm curious, what is the mitigation process, and how much does it cost?
Dec 06, 2007 02:16 AM
Rosario Lewis
DDR Realty - Newburgh, NY
GRI, SRES - DDR Realty - Orange County, NY
The unique thing about radon in a home is how easily it can be mitigated. The presence of radon is not a death sentence for a home.
Dec 06, 2007 02:21 AM
John Stauffer
John Stauffer MBA, E-pro,CRS, ABR, GRI, SRES - Battle Creek, MI
Eric - Nice post. Radon is rather common (unfortunately) in Michigan. You forgot to mention that while radon is a deadly poisonous gas that can't be seen smelled or tasted that remediation for radon is fairly easy and inexpensive. About $600-$700 on average for our area. It is nice when we as Realtors can fix a "deadly" problem for a new home owner for under 1,000. 
Dec 06, 2007 02:28 AM
Linda Sanderson
Coldwell Banker Solano Pacific - Benicia, CA
John - Thank you for the additional information on the remediation cost.  In California, Radon isn't a big issue.  But, when someone from the east coast comes our way, it would be nice to be a little more knowledgable on the topic.  Thanks again.
Dec 06, 2007 09:14 AM
Eric Williams
Pro Home Radon Measurements - Wheaton, IL
Good points everyone. I'll edit my blog today to include the fact that radon is easily mitigated. Sub slab depressurization is an almost 100% effective method.   The cost in the Chicago area is usually between $800 and $1200. Special circumstances (i.e. several types of foundations) may increase this cost.
Dec 07, 2007 01:26 AM
Linda Sanderson
Coldwell Banker Solano Pacific - Benicia, CA
Thanks Eric, I plan to bookmark your post so if I need the info I can get to it easily.  Thanks a lot.
Dec 08, 2007 10:00 AM
Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

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