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Local Radon Hot Spots. Myths and How Dangerous is radon?

April 15, 2018

Radon is a odorless colorless substance that usually sits in the lowest room in the house (basement). Exposure to elevated levels of radon over time can lead to lung cancer. Radon is the second leading cause of cancer in Canada and Europe. The scary aspect of radon is people do not know it is present in their home.

 

Factually speaking one in fifteen homes have high radon levels. Due to the fact that radon is colorless, odorless and tasteless the only way to determine if radon is present in your home is testing for it. The longer you are exposed to higher levels of radon the more likely you are to develop issues from the exposure. This is the main reason why it is so important to test for radon prior to purchasing your home. The radon test is usually performed at the time of the home inspection. The home inspector will place 2 testing canisters in the basement for 2-5 days and return for pickup and shipment of the testing canisters to a testing lab.

 

I will try to avoid all the scientific mumbo jumbo behind the testing but these are the facts. If the radon test comes back and the results are higher than the EPA standard of 4.0 pCi/L (pico-curies per liter of air) then mitigation is recommended. Being exposed to levels of 4.0 pCi/L ((pico-curies per liter of air)) for an extended perior of time according to the EPA is equivilant to smoking A HALF OF PACK OF CIGARETTES A DAY. 

 

So what happens if the levels come back higher than 4.0 pCi/L (pico-curies per liter of air). Mitigation is recommended!

 

Depending on if your home is on a slab vs basement and many other factors will determine what type of method is recommended additionally how much the mitigation will cost. For more information on different methods, questions to ask a contractor and possible cost please visit the New York State Department of Health .

 

Most of you who are reading this article are probably residing in the Albany County or surrounding Counties. Lets take a look at the maps below to see where the predominate radon exists. Remember even if you are located in a low level area it is always worth having a radon test done! 

 

The above map indicated the "hot spots" in the red/orange color. Albany County NY has some hot spots for radon but as you can see some counties such as Otsego County NY is covered in high radon. North of Saratoga County the present of radon is less prevalent.  Schenectady County results of radon present are on the lower end.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 % of Albany County Homes tested above the 4.0 pCi/L (pico-curies per liter of air) threshold. 

Lets take a closer look at exactly where the radon levels are most concentrated within Albany County.

 

 

Elevated findings of radon are tend to pop up right in the middle of Albany County. Remember the colors indicate the PERCENTAGE of homes that had elevated issues not actual level. Reference the chart to see where your current home or future home is located and the percentages of homes that tested "higher" than the recommended levels.

 

 

 

 

 

 Above  picture represents the Albany County area and the percentage of homes that contain levels higher than 4.0 pCi/L (pico-curies per liter of air) threshold

The picture to the left reflects the high levels indicated in the above picture (red coloring in the center of Albany County.)  We zoomed right in so you can have a better idea of what towns are within the red. Towns such as New Salem, Clarksville, Feura Bush, New Scotland, Slingerland, Voorheesville and Thompson Lake are to name a few.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regardless of the location of your new home or existing home. It is recommended to have a radon test performed by your local home inspector during your home inspection and or every few years. Some may say "I don't spend much time in my basement why do I need a test done." They may be very well true but what if you decided to finish your basement into a family room? 

 

If you are on a slab your levels may be high on the habitable first floor. Regardless of your location it is highly recommended to have a radon test done by your home inspector during your home inspection. Just like with anything in life there are a handful of myths that just wont go away! Read some of them below!

 

Radon Myths

 

  • Researchers don't know if  Radon is an issue – This is false, we know for beyond any doubt it's an issue.

  • Radon testing is excessively troublesome, costly and tedious –This is not true at all. There are many factors that come into play but some solutions can cost as low as $500. 

  • Homes with raised Radon levels should never be lived in after levels test high – A home with Radon issues can be settled pretty fast at a reasonable cost.

  • Radon just influences certain  homes, Very old homes or homes built years ago. Newer Homes care not affected by radon – Radon can affect any home built any year at any time.

  • My neighbor has raised Radon levels, so I most likely do as well – Not Sure radon levels can depend on many factors one being cracks in your foundation wall, the soil around the foundation and the ventilation.

  • You can't offer a living arrangement or business that beforehand had Radon issues – IF a radon issue is mitigated and the system is installed properly you should be fine.

  • Radon just exists in the storm cellar or basement — Not TRUE! Although it may be more prevalent in basements and cellars, high levels of radon can exist in first floor living areas!

  • Versatile and fabricated homes are resistant to radon — All homes are helpless to radon 

  • You can bring down radon levels by opening entryways or windows — Not by any means, in truth sometimes radon levels may even increase significantly when you let more air inside your home.

  • Ventilation is constantly great, yet it's not a suitable answer for expel radon gas. 

  • Radon is a private issue just — Radon can be an issue in any encased structure including business structures, organizations and open structures, for example, schools or libraries. 

  • That about wraps it up for myths. In the event that you'd jump at the chance to peruse more broad data about radon gas head on finished to our committed page.

 

 

If you are in need of a home inspection with a radon test please give us a call! 

 

Thank you for reading my blogs.

 

 

 

The Author  Adam Clark is the owner and operator of Shield Guard Home Inspections. Adam Clark is a  local Home Inspector located in Albany NY that has performed over 6000 Inspections.

 

Feel Free To Call Us with ANY Questions!

(518) 720-7152

 

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