There are several ways to inspect your home for radon. Feeling comfortable about Radon Gas that may be in your home causing lung Cancer would make me feel a little uneasy. Testing is cheap compared to the comfort of knowing.
Sorry if it freaks you out a bit, but you know what - I like living - I love waking up every day and LIVE. And I am hoping you like to live too.
1. Radon Gas is the 2nd leading cause of Lung Cancer
This is not speculation, guys. This is straight from the EPA government website. The first cause is smoking. At least you know if you're breathing in smoke. With radon gas, you don't even know you're breathing it in. You could be sucking in boatloads of radon gas and never know it. It's odorless and invisible.
2. Radon is natural gas released by the earth
Yup, you're breathing in the farts of mother earth. Let that sink in… you are breathing earth farts. And they're deadly! Here's the kicker. Your neighbor might do radon testing and get completely safe results. But your house could be the one. From house to house, it can change.
You need to test YOUR house specifically. Test kits are accurate and inexpensive
3. Radon is invisible, tasteless, and odorless.
That's right; this deadly stuff is basically impossible to detect with human senses. It's a lot like carbon monoxide. It's different, though, in that it won't kill you or anything else right away. It's a slow killer - it can't take years, or it can take a decade, just like smoking. Because it's so slow a lot of people ignore it. Then one day, you're at the Doctor, and he's like, "you've got cancer," but by that time, it's too late.
OK, are you freaked out? Maybe just a little bit?
I'm like your Dad trying to scare the hell out of you about taking candy from strangers. I love you, but I need you to pee your pants a little when you see that creepy white van roll by while you're outside playing kickball.
Here's what you need to do to make sure your house is safe from radon gas. Ideally, you want to do this before you start finishing your basement, but after is okay too. If there is a problem, you can still fix it, even if your basement is already finished.
Buy and use 2 home radon test kits. Place both test kits in your basement. Let the first sit there for about 3-4 days, then you mail it to your lab, and they send you back the results.
Use the second one as the long-term test. It needs to sit around for about 90 days. Then send it off to the lab. Make sure the lab costs are included!
If your test results are in the safe zone, you're pretty much good to go. If they are in the "unsafe" zone or close to it, you should hire a professional Radon firm to come out and do a second test and assessment. If it's still high when they test, you need to install a system to remove radon.
So what if your radon gas test comes back positive? Now what? Don't worry; you can install a fairly full-proof system to ensure the air you're breathing is safe.
Here are the 3 main points to removing radon gas
1. Seal up any cracks in your basement walls and floor.
2. Install an exhaust pipe that runs from your basement to the top of your house. (this is the hard part)
3. Install an exhaust fan that pulls air from below your basement floor and out the exhaust pipe.
Hire a professional firm -
For me personally, I'd probably leave this one to the pros. The pricing I've seen runs between $800 and $1500 depending on your location and the size and condition of your basement.
Install your own radon gas mitigation system -
Obviously, I'm a DIY type of guy. I love the challenge, learning new things, and saving lots of money. BUT...
Running that exhaust pipe up through my house or even outside would be the part I would not want to tackle.
Some of you may be up for it. If you are, I say go for it. Here's a great video from this old house that shows a few steps… but conveniently leaves out the part about running the exhaust pipe through your house.
Here's a decent website that walks you through what you have to do to install the vent pipe.
Well, that about covers it. Start with the Radon testing kit and only worry about the rest of your test results come back high.
Don't just shrug it off. Decide today that you're going to be the type of person that takes the extra step to get things done right.
Be patient and stay alive!
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