Louisville Radon Testing
Earlier this month I decided to take on one of the most challenging clients in history. My wife and I. We started our search the same way all of my clients start their search. We began searching for homes for sale on this website. Once we narrowed down the search we went out and viewed homes in person. The first house we looked at had a power-assisted radon mitigation system in place. My wife, unfamiliar with radon and the system, had questions. So I began explaining how the system worked to her and through the course of that conversation we realized that I should share this info with you, my readers. Radon exists everywhere, so it doesn't matter if you are house hunting for homes in Oldham County, or looking at new construction in the Norton Commons neighborhood.
What is Radon?
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the natural breakdown (radioactive decay) of uranium. You cannot see smell or taste radon. It has little trouble passing through most building materials, even plastic and concrete. It is simply part of the earth. The concern with radon is that it is a known carcinogen. Of course, carcinogens are all around us, including ultraviolet light from the sun. But limiting our exposure where we can is the safe thing to do. Since radon is found in the ground, it exists everywhere.
How Do I Test For Radon?
Testing for radon is usually done via a device that is placed in the home for at least 48 hours. It periodically checks the air for radon and then generates an average over that time period. There are kits that you can purchase online that allow you to do a portion of the test yourself and then you mail off the package and a laboratory processes your test and then gives you the results. The tricky part about radon testing is that radon levels fluctuate through the year, and typically you can only test for a 48 hour period. The EPA has decided that radon should be acted upon if the level is over 4 pCi/L -- which I know means NOTHING to you right now. But 4 is the magic number that you need to remember when you get your test results.
How do I Mitigate Radon?
Radon mitigation is pretty straight forward. Since radon is a gas that occurs naturally in the earth, you begin the fight closest to the ground. Your basement or concrete slab are the first defense against radon entering your home. But as we discussed above, the atoms of radon are very small and it is able to pass through concrete. Even though radon is a gas, it acts a lot like water. Meaning, it will follow the path of least resistance. Typical radon mitigation is as "simple" as cutting a hole into your slab and venting the ground through your roof and out of your house. This pipe acts as a chimney for the ground and allows the radon gas to travel up the pipe and into the atmosphere instead of collecting in your home. That is called a passive system. An active system uses the same pipe, but instead of only creating a path of least resistance for the gas, a motor is placed on the pipe and air is pulled through the pipe. This is a lot like sucking on a straw. All of the air under the slab gets sucked up the pipe and then vented through the roof.
First things first
Of course, none of this matters until we've found the right house. The inspection process, and specifically a radon inspection, is just a VERY SMALL portion of the overall transaction. If you have specific questions about the home buying process, get in touch. We are here to help. Use the comment section below to submit your question or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get your questions answered.