Category: Radon Mitigation

elements radon mitigation process

For many people, including some first-time homeowners or certain others, the realm of radon mitigation can be both new and perhaps intimidating if you’re just entering it. Luckily, working with quality radon professionals will ensure that you know exactly what’s going on in your home or building with regard to radon, plus how it’s going to be remedied and any other relevant parts of this process.

At Absolute Radon Safety, we’re proud to offer the very best radon testing and radon mitigation services┬áin Boulder and other parts of Colorado, walking home and building owners through every part of this process so they’re never confused and always know exactly what’s going on. What exactly is radon mitigation, and what are the important facets of the radon inspection and mitigation process? Here’s a simple rundown.

What is Radon Mitigation?

For those who have never dealt with radon before, it’s important to first understand what this gas is and why it might be present in your home. Radon is a naturally-occurring gas which comes up from the ground and can enter into homes or other buildings through cracks, gaps, and other openings.

Once inside, it can become trapped and concentrated, presenting a serious health hazard to those who are exposed to it over long periods of time. In fact, according to the EPA, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers in the United States, and it’s believed to be responsible for hundreds or even thousands of lung cancer deaths each year.

This is why it’s so important for all homes and other buildings to be tested for radon on a regular basis, and why those which are found to have high levels of this gas need to have effective radon mitigation systems installed as soon as possible.

Our next several sections will go over the general process used to identify and remedy radon issues in a home or building.

Radon Testing

First and foremost, homes and buildings should be tested for radon on a regular basis – at least once every two years, and more frequently if there have been any changes which might have affected the levels of this gas inside.

There are two main types of radon tests which can be performed – short-term tests and long-term tests. Short-term tests take anywhere from 2 to 90 days, while long-term tests take place over the course of 3 months to a year.

At Absolute Radon Safety, we generally recommend that our customers start with a short-term test, as this will give you a quick idea of whether or not your home has elevated radon levels. Once the results of this test come back, we can then recommend either performing a long-term test or moving ahead with radon mitigation if necessary.

Radon Assessment

Also often called a radon inspection, this will be the first major step that’s carried out if elevated levels of radon are identified in your home or building by your radon test. It will involve certified technicians, like ours at Absolute Radon Safety, entering your home and performing a series of tests and inspections in order to identify the specific areas where radon might be entering.

This assessment will include several things, from determining the location of certain pipes and other potential entry points to measuring the levels of radon in different areas of your home. Once we have all this information, we can then develop a personalized radon mitigation plan for your property.

Radon Sealing

Another of the vital early steps in the radon mitigation process involves sealing any cracks in your foundation or nearby areas. This is important because these gaps can allow radon to enter your home, and they need to be properly filled and sealed in order for your mitigation system to be effective.

This can be done in a few different ways depending on the location and severity of any such damage. For foundations that are cracked, a special sealant can be injected which will stop gas and water from passing through. Walls can also be reinforced, and other areas can be caulked or otherwise filled as needed.

In other cases, such as for crawl space radon sealing, a specific vapor barrier material will be installed over the top of the soil in order to prevent radon from passing through.

Radon System Installation

Next up is one of the single most important parts of this process: The actual installation of your radon mitigation system, which comes in the form of a suction-based system that’s designed to draw gas out of your home and release it into the atmosphere above.

This system will be installed by our team of certified professionals, and it will be placed in the most strategic location possible in order to maximize its effectiveness. Installation will involve several things, including the placements of piping into the foundation plus extensions that allow us to route the gas up and out of your home.

Another important component usually utilized at this time will be the manometer, which is a device that we use to test the negative pressure inside of your system and ensure that it’s working properly. You’ll generally be shown where this manometer is and how to read it, including signs that an issue is taking place with your system.

Walkthrough and Long-Term Maintenance Tips

Finally, once your system is installed and everything has been double and triple checked for proper functionality, we’ll go over the entire system with you so that you understand how it works. This will involve an overview of all major components plus a few key maintenance tips to keep in mind.

In addition, we’ll often schedule a follow-up appointment for a few months later in order to ensure that everything is still working as it should be.

For more on the radon mitigation process and how it works, or to learn about any of our radon testing or mitigation services in Boulder or nearby areas, speak to the team at Absolute Radon Safety today.

homebuyer tips radon mitigation systems

If you’re in the process of searching the market for a home, there are a number of things you may see during a tour or inspection of a given home. How should you be proceeding if one such thing you find in a home you may consider purchasing is an existing radon mitigation system?

At Absolute Radon Safety, we’re here to help clients with every part of the realm of radon testing and radon mitigation for clients throughout Colorado. We even offer radon testing for real estate agents, as we know limiting the risks of radon is often a vital area of consideration for those looking to purchase a home. Here’s a rundown of what you should be thinking about if a home you’re considering already has a radon mitigation system, and how this may impact (or not impact) your decision to move forward.

It’s Not a Bad Thing

First and foremost, we wanted to get this out there up front: Finding a radon mitigation system active in a home you’re considering is not a negative thing. In fact, it can actually be seen as an indicator that homeowners in the past have taken steps to limit their risks surrounding radon and mitigate the risks of exposure to it.

That said, you do need to remember that the mitigation system may not have been installed very recently. Depending on when the home was built, and how frequently the homeowners have been testing and mitigating, there may be a good chance the system is no longer functioning as it should.

Many of our upcoming sections will focus on how to assess and value the radon mitigation system that’s present if you find one.

Qualities of a Properly-Installed Radon Mitigation System

As noted, one of the first things you should be doing upon locating a radon mitigation system in a home you’re considering is confirm its quality, both at installation and moving forward. Here are some signs that you’re in good shape:

  • Fan on the attic, roof or other exterior location: One important sign that a radon mitigation system is properly installed is the presence of an exhaust fan on the attic, roof or other exterior location. This is vital to making sure the system can remove radon from beneath the home and mitigate risks accordingly. This fan should never be located in a crawlspace, mechanical room or any other area that is only accessed during an inspection.
  • Noise levels: If a radon system is operating properly, there should be very little to virtually no noise present. While functioning, the fan should be running at a very low speed and may produce some noise, but this should not be a loud or obnoxious level of sound.
  • Airflow gauge: On the pipes inside the home, there should be an airflow gauge installed. This will help you confirm that the system is pulling the appropriate amount of air through to work as intended, and can also help you troubleshoot any potential issues with it down the road.
  • Hidden where possible: While certain visible pipes must be present in the home, both the mitigation system and its piping should be hidden from sight as much as possible. This will help limit the risk of damage, and also give you a sense of whether or not the system is in good shape moving forward.
  • Installer information: Maybe most importantly, you want to take note of who installed the radon mitigation system and make a point to ask about that company’s reputation. If you’re able to review past work or speak with the installer, it will help give you confidence in their abilities moving forward.

Even if you find a radon mitigation system active in a home you’re considering purchasing, it should not dissuade you from moving forward. But it’s vital to know what to look for and how these systems can operate, so that you know whether or not the mitigation system is providing enough protection and value in the home.

As always, we encourage all interested parties to consult with professionals like us if they have any questions about radon mitigation systems.

Possible Problem Signs

On the other hand, here are a few possible signs that a radon mitigation system was not properly installed, or has had issues in the time since it was put in place:

  • Fan in wrong location: As we noted before, a major sign of a properly installed system is the presence of an exterior fan. If you find that fan in a crawlspace, mechanical room or any other interior location, it’s a cause for concern and may mean the system isn’t operating as intended.
  • Multiple fans: In some cases, two fans may be present in the home instead of just one. If they are, they should be placed in a balanced location and connected to the same piping, rather than located at opposite ends of the house. If you find multiple fans present in your home, it’s likely there is a problem with this system that you need to bring up before moving forward with the purchase.
  • No installer information: Finally, if you don’t see the information of who installed the system in your home, it’s a concern. An installer will be able to help fix problems with their own work, and should also be able to give you peace of mind moving forward.

Get it Tested

If you have any concerns or doubts about the radon mitigation system in a home you’re considering purchasing, get the home tested on your own. Our team of professionals can conduct a full test of both the home and the existing mitigation system to give you an accurate picture of what’s going on, and what needs to be done to mitigate risks as effectively as possible.

For more on how to approach the situation if a home you’re considering has a radon mitigation system already installed, or to learn about any of our radon testing or mitigation solutions, speak to the staff at Absolute Radon Safety today.

risks DIY radon mitigation

Major Risks of Attempting DIY Radon Mitigation

If radon levels in your home are higher than known safety thresholds, proper mitigation of these levels is of vital importance for the health of anyone who lives or spends time in the structure. Radon is a Class A carcinogen, one that causes some significant health issues in both people and animals, and quality must be ensured when protecting against it — which is why in many cases, DIY efforts down these lines are not recommended.

At Absolute Radon Safety, we’re here to provide the very best radon mitigation systems and equipment, installed by experienced professionals who know precisely how to trap radon at its source and stop it from existing in your air supply at dangerous levels. We strongly recommend leaving radon mitigation installations to our experts, as there are a number of risks you’re exposing both yourself and your structure to if you attempt this sort of thing without specific professional training. Here are some of these risks to keep in mind as reasons why you should call up the pros for this job.

Piercing Pipes

First and foremost, the installation of a radon mitigation system involves working with a lot of piping. Not only will we be installing new piping in your home or building to transport radon away from the structure, we may also be working near or around other pipes or systems.

As professionals, we know how to steer clear of these areas and take care with the installation so that no damage is done. If you’re not a professional, there is a very real risk of piercing or damaging other pipes in your home as you try to install the mitigation system yourself. This could lead to costly repairs down the line and create even more of a hazard from radon gas.

Backdrafting

Another major DIY radon mitigation risk is the possibility of backdrafting, or an issue where the radon system doesn’t only suck in radon, but also carbon monoxide from the furnace and water heater flues. This is a potentially dangerous issue that can cause serious health problems for you and your family.

Professionals know how to avoid this issue by ensuring the radon system is properly vented and doesn’t create a negative pressure in your home. If you’re not experienced in these matters, it’s very easy to create a backdrafting problem that could be hazardous to your health.

Radon Re-Entering

Maybe the single most common error made during DIY radon mitigation efforts: Improper sealing in any of the several areas where radon can enter the home again.

This is an easy mistake to make, but it can have serious consequences. Radon that has been sucked out of your home can easily re-enter if even one seal is not properly in place. This means that all of your mitigation efforts could be for naught, and you and your family could still be exposed to dangerous levels of radon gas.

Condensation

Radon mitigation systems have to deal with air that’s high in humidity on a regular basis, and care is required in their installation to ensure that water and condensation are directed away from the system and don’t cause damage.

If you’re not familiar with how to deal with humidity and moisture, there’s a good chance you’ll accidentally cause damage to your mitigation system through condensation. This could lead to a host of other problems down the road, including the growth of harmful mold in your home and even the potential for major flooding.

Sub-Slab Issues

Radon mitigation systems are known to work best when there’s gravel under the concrete slab at their base, but many homes or buildings have dirt or even clay as the base material. If this is the case in your structure, there’s a good chance that the mitigation system won’t be as effective as it could be, and you may still be exposed to high levels of radon gas.

Only a professional installer who understands the specific needs of your home or building will be able to install a mitigation system here, as this may require a redesign of the sub-slab for your structure. Without this knowledge, you could easily install a mitigation system that doesn’t work as well as it should.

Post-Installation Testing

Another benefit of working with our team of professionals is the range of post-installation testing and inspections that we provide. We want to make sure that the system is working properly and that you and your family are safe from the dangers of radon gas.

If you try to install a mitigation system yourself, you may not be aware of the importance of post-installation testing or even know how to conduct such tests. This could lead to dangerous levels of radon gas going undetected in your home, putting your family’s health at risk.

Warranties

Another major benefit of hiring a professional for your radon mitigation needs is the warranty that comes with the job. Most professional mitigation companies offer a full warranty on their work, meaning that if any issues should arise after the installation is complete, you can count on them to come back and take care of it at no additional cost to you.

When you try to do the job yourself, you’re not likely to get the same level of warranty or protection for your home. If something goes wrong after you’ve installed the mitigation system, you’ll be on your own and will likely have to pay out of pocket to get it fixed.

Future Home Value

Finally, if you plan to sell your home in the future, having a professional-installed radon mitigation system will likely add value to your property. Many potential home buyers will be looking for a home that already has a mitigation system in place, as this is seen as an indication of a proactive approach to health and safety.

When you try to do the job yourself, you may not be able to properly assess the impact that a mitigation system will have on your home’s value. This could lead to you spending money on a mitigation system that doesn’t add any value to your property when it comes time to sell.

For more on why DIY radon mitigation efforts should typically be avoided unless you have specific professional training, or to learn about any of our radon testing or radon mitigation solutions, speak to our team at Absolute Radon Safety today.

basics radon manometers homeowners

If your home or building has high levels of radon that require mitigation through a pipe-based system that removes radon from the space so it cannot be a threat to health, there are a few important components that will often or always be included in this setup. One of these components that’s important for many homeowners who want to be able to monitor their radon levels in the future and ensure nothing goes wrong is known as a radon manometer.

At Absolute Radon Safety, we’re proud to offer the very best radon mitigation systems to clients throughout Aurora and nearby areas, offering the highest-quality radon fans and pipe materials to ensure this harmful substance is not present at high levels in any space we’re working on. Our systems stay out of the way and do not impact your day to day life, another major benefit.

What is a manometer, and what role does it play in a radon mitigation system? Here’s a basic rundown.

Radon Manometer Basics

Some people who have radon mitigation systems in their homes will already be aware of the radon manometer, which refers to the clear curved tube that’s often mounted near the top of the mitigation system’s pipe. The manometer has colored liquid at the bottom, and is attached to the pipe itself.

The purpose of the manometer is to display the level of air suction taking place within the radon mitigation system. The colored liquid represents atmospheric pressure, with the highest level of suction being at the top of the manometer and the lowest level at the bottom.

To be clear, the radon manometer is not reading the radon levels within your home – it’s simply measuring the suction taking place within the system. This information can be useful for homeowners who want to monitor their system and make sure it’s functioning properly, as well as for technicians who are working on a mitigation system to ensure everything is running smoothly.

How to Read and Interpret a Radon Manometer

As one of our installers will explain to any client who is having a radon mitigation system with a manometer installed, the expectation during normal operations is that one side of the colored liquid on the manometer will be much higher than the other. This indicates that suction is taking place and that the system is functioning as it should.

If the two sides of liquid are at the same height, however, this is a sign of a problem with the suction. It indicates that there is a low level of suction within the system, and could mean that the radon fan is not working properly. In this case, our team should be alerted so that they can investigate and take corrective action if necessary.

For homeowners who want to keep an eye on their system, it’s important to remember that a high level of liquid on the manometer doesn’t necessarily mean that the radon levels in their home are high. The manometer is simply measuring the suction taking place within the system – not the levels of radon present.

Manometer is at Zero

Next to the manometer is a number that indicates the level of suction taking place within the pipe — when liquid levels are far apart, as they should be, this number will be relatively high, and well over zero for sure.

When the liquids are even, however, this number will show zero. Here’s what to do if you notice this:

  • Verify tube connection: First and foremost, it’s possible your manometer reading is due to the flexible tube that connects the manometer to the pipe. Before doing anything else, check to see if this is the case, and try to pop the tube back in if possible. If you have a spare tube, try swapping it out and see if the problem goes away.
  • Listen for airflow: Another possible issue here is that the fan in your radon mitigation system has turned off, often due to a short-circuit or power outage. If you’ve ruled out the tube connection and you can’t hear the fan running, it’s likely that there’s a problem with your fan — you may need to reset a circuit breaker, for starters. It’s also possible that the system’s switch has simply been unplugged, so check around your house for anything that may have been accidentally bumped.
  • Low pressure: If the fan is on and you can hear it, but the manometer is still at zero, there may be a low-pressure issue with your system. This could be due to clogs in the pipe, a faulty fan, or other problems. In these cases, it’s time to call your radon mitigation partner for assistance.

Readings Changing With Time

Generally speaking, if your mitigation system and manometer were installed properly, the readings should not change all that much over time (minor alterations are expected). However, if you notice that significant changes keep happening, there are some simple troubleshooting steps to make sure the manometer is working properly:

  • Pull tube out: Pull out the flexible tube from your pipe, meaning the manometer is no longer connected to the pipe.
  • Take reading: At this point, the liquids should be even and your reading should be zero. If this is the case, your manometer is calibrated correctly.
  • If this is not the case, the liquid was likely “bumped” and the manometer may need to be re-mounted. Call our team for assistance here.

However, as we noted above, it’s common for readings to vary slightly through the year. Any changes under 0.4″ on your readings shouldn’t be much of a concern.

For more on radon manometers and how to read and interpret them, or to learn about any of our radon mitigation or radon testing services in Aurora or nearby areas, speak to the team at Absolute Radon Safety today.

debunking myths radon testing mitigation

While certain myths or bits of misinformation in our world aren’t all that harmful, the realm of radon is not one of these. Misconceptions about radon, which is a harmful gas that causes thousands of deaths annually, can lead to unsafe conditions and other major risks, and it’s important to have the proper information on this substance for any home you live in.

At Absolute Radon Safety, we’re here to not only provide high-quality radon testing and radon mitigation services, but also to ensure our clients are properly informed on this substance at all times. Here are some of the most common myths we’ve heard about radon over the years, plus the correct information in each of these areas.

Myth #1: Scientists Are Still Unsure if Radon is Truly Harmful

We’re truly unsure where this myth even originated from, and it’s one of the most harmful when it comes to radon. The truth is, there is an overwhelming amount of research that proves radon exposure can cause lung cancer, and the gas has been classified as a known human carcinogen by both the US Environmental Protection Agency and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

If anyone is telling you that scientists are still unsure about the effects of radon exposure, be sure to set them straight and educate them on this harmful gas.

Myth #2: Radon is Only a Problem in Certain Areas of the Country

While it’s true that radon levels can vary depending on your location, this doesn’t mean that it’s not a problem anywhere. In fact, the EPA has estimated that over 20% of homes in the US have elevated radon levels.

No matter where you live, it’s important to get your home tested for radon and take proper mitigation steps if levels are high.

Myth #3: Radon is only a Problem in Old Homes

Not at all. Radon can enter any home, new or old, through cracks and other openings in the foundation. It’s important to test for radon in any home you live in, regardless of its age.

In fact, some of the worst radon issues are found in newer homes whose owners have not tested for the gas. Be sure to always test for radon, and if levels are high, take the necessary mitigation steps.

Myth #4: Radon Testing is Expensive and Time-Consuming

Again, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Radon testing is a quick and easy process that only takes a few minutes, and it’s one of the most important things you can do to protect your family’s health.

If you’re concerned about the cost of testing, many states offer free or discounted test kits through their state radon program. Be sure to check with your state radon office for more information.

Myth #5: You Don’t Need to Test for Radon If You’ve Recently Had Your Home Tested

This is one of the most dangerous myths when it comes to radon, as it can lead to people thinking they’re safe when they’re not. Just because you’ve recently had your home tested for radon doesn’t mean levels haven’t changed since then, or that your home is now safe.

It’s important to test for radon regularly, especially if you’ve recently made any changes to your home that could have affected the levels of the gas. And remember, even if levels are low, it’s still important to take mitigation steps to ensure your family is safe.

At Absolute Radon Safety, we’re dedicated to educating our clients on all things radon. Be sure to check out our website for more information on this harmful gas, and contact us if you have any questions or need help testing or mitigating your home’s radon levels.

Myth #6: Once Radon is Present, It’s Here to Stay

Nope! One of the only misconceptions on our list that’s actually too negative is this one, as there are multiple methods for mitigating high levels of radon in your home. If you find out that your home has high levels of radon, don’t panic! There are many solutions available to you, and Absolute Radon Safety can help you find the best one for your home.

Myth #7: Homeowners Can Mitigate Radon By Themselves

Simply put, no one without extensive training and experience in radon mitigation should attempt to mitigate high levels of the gas in their home. It’s important to have a professional inspect your home and take the necessary steps to reduce levels, as improper mitigation can actually make the problem worse.

Not only this, but attempts to DIY a radon solution can create extreme health and safety risks for you and your family. Leave the mitigation to the professionals at Absolute Radon Safety and rest easy knowing your home is safe from this harmful gas.

Myth #8: Your Neighbor’s Test Works for You, Too

Some people are under the mistaken assumption that if a friendly neighbor has recently had a radon test and is willing to share the results with you, then your home must be safe as long as their levels aren’t too high. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case – in fact, every home should have its own individual test to ensure accurate results.

Even if levels are low in your neighbor’s home, that doesn’t mean yours will be the same. Even within properties that are right next to one another, levels can vary significantly, so it’s always important to test for radon yourself.

For more on the common myths out there surrounding radon and how to get the proper information in any of these areas, or to learn about our radon testing, radon mitigation and other services, speak to the team at Absolute Radon Safety today.

steps home protected high radon

For homes or buildings that may have a significant radon presence, this is no small concern. Radon is a harmful element that can have significant health effects on those who are exposed to it — luckily, though, if you’re in this position, there are several solutions available to you.

At Absolute Radon Safety, we offer comprehensive radon mitigation services to help any homeowner remove the harmful levels of radon in their home and keep all occupants safe. Our radon mitigation systems are completely maintenance-free, meaning you won’t even have to think about it once it’s installed in your home — it will simply do the job for you. What are the steps to follow if you’re concerned about the levels of radon in your home, and how can you ensure these high levels are remedied quickly and effectively? Here’s a rundown.

Step 1: Learn Why Radon is Concerning

You can’t identify an issue if you don’t know why it’s a problem, so the first step here is to educate yourself on radon and why you should be concerned about it. The EPA estimates that over 21,000 people die each and every year due to radon, with another 15,000 people being diagnosed with lung cancer. That’s a huge hazard, and it’s one that can be easily managed.

In addition, you might read up on information that may shock you in terms of how common high radon levels are. Depending on your area, it may be something you find in up to 50 percent of the homes. Knowing the risks and reading about how prevalent this problem is, it becomes much more important to address — especially when there are such simple mitigation options like supplying your home with a radon reduction system.

Step 2: Test Your Home For Levels

The next step is to test your home for radon levels, especially if you are in an area where high quantities have been known to exist. This should be done by a professional, though, so it’s best to hire one of our experts to come test your space.

There are various tests that can be run — some are long-term while others will give you quick results right away. The difference between them is that one will give you an initial reading so that you can determine whether your home needs further testing, while the other will provide more in-depth results over a period of time.

In addition, as our team of pros will tell you, the construction of your home will play a significant role in terms of how much radon is coming in. If your home has several cracks, is poorly built, or the ventilation system is insufficient, then you are more likely to have a problem with high levels of this element.

Step 3: Receive and Interpret Your Radon Test Results

For the long-term tests that are sent out to your home, you will need to send them back in so that the second stage of the process can be carried out — this is where our team of experts will use radiation detectors to measure the levels and determine how extensive the problem is. If high levels are found, then it’s time for mitigation (and this is something we’ll get into in just a bit).

What defines “high levels” of radon? Well, radon is measured in picocurries (abbreviated pCi/L) — you may not know exactly what that means, but that’s okay. Generally speaking, if your levels are above 2.7 pCi/L, you have an issue here. At 4 pCi/L it becomes a serious problem, and anything above that requires immediate action due to immediate threats to the health of those in your home.

Step 4: Obtain a Radon Mitigation System Estimate

Now that you’ve confirmed the existence of high radon levels in your home, it’s time to figure out what you need to do to correct the situation. Radon mitigation systems are available, and we offer free estimates.

The very first thing we will want to know is where in your home the levels are highest, so we can determine where we will be installing our system — but don’t worry: This won’t take away from the clean and polished look of your home.

As for the types of systems, our team will walk you through the process and explain each to you in detail so that there are no questions or confusion — you’ll find that these aren’t the cheapest systems around, but they also don’t require much to maintain. Plus, when it comes to your health, investing in radon mitigation is one of the best possible routes you can go, so it’s well worth it.

Step 5: Schedule Radon Mitigation Installation

Despite how complex they can be, you might be surprised how quickly one of our radon mitigation systems can be installed — it’s not long before your family and friends will hardly notice anything has changed. Our team of pros knows exactly what they are doing, so there is little-to-no chance that you’ll have any issues with this process whatsoever. With just a bit of time on the front end to get everything set up, you’ll be on your way to a healthier lifestyle.

From here, while you won’t have to do any maintenance on your system, your installers will instruct you on where to keep an eye out in case your radon ever returns to unsafe levels — unlikely, but it’s always good to be prepared!

If you have a significant amount of radon in your home, it’s time for action — and the best possible solution is going to come from hiring our team of pros. From helping you choose which system works best for your home to providing professional installation, we’ve got everything under control. Contact us today at Absolute Radon Safety to learn more about any of our radon protection solutions.

radon testing mitigation rental

Everyone who will be living in a given home should be conscious of radon levels and mitigation if these levels are too high, but one group that may have a bit of a tougher time here is renters. Radon tests and inspections are often carried out by homeowners themselves and aren’t generally part of typical rental lease agreements — but it’s still very important that renters know the radon content in the home they’re moving into, as many homes in Colorado have levels of radon that are far higher than is safe for human health.

At Absolute Radon Safety, we’re happy to offer a wide variety of radon testing and radon mitigation services, including to clients who are renting and want an idea of their home’s radon levels. What steps should you be taking if you want a radon test in a rental, and what do important bodies like the EPA say about the approach you should take here? Let’s go over this plus some important info on what qualifies as too high a radon level in a rented property.

EPA Radon Checklist

The EPA, or Environmental Protection Agency, maintains a comprehensive list of areas you should be considering with regard to radon if you’re a renter of any home or property. Here are some of the most important items on this list:

  • Find out whether your building has been tested for radon in the recent past
  • If the building has not been tested, send a letter to the owner advising him or her of the dangers of radon, and provide a link to an EPA training program that educates on these dangers.
  • Get your landlord’s permission for any radon testing you do, as results might not be permissible down the line otherwise.
  • If results are even slightly elevated, get your landlord’s permission and hire a qualified contractor to make all repairs necessary to lower radon levels.
  • If your building is getting its water from a well, be aware that any nearby land may also have high radon levels. Be sure to use a test kit for locations near the well as well as at the source itself to rule out significant higher than normal concentrations of this colorless, odorless gas.

Responsibility for Radon Mitigation

In nearly every case where radon levels in your rented property are too high, it will be the responsibility of the landlord or property manager to fix the issue by hiring a qualified contractor to conduct mitigation. The EPA maintains that radon levels can be lowered in around 90% of cases if the right mitigation techniques are employed, and this is something you should be asking your landlord about immediately if such issues arise.

If you’re already under lease with a landlord or rental company, you can use the terms of this lease to extract permission for mitigation as long as you aren’t breaching any part of the agreement. And even in situations where a landlord is not required to mitigate due to your lease, he or she might be willing to partner with you on have radon levels checked and fixed if they’re deemed to be too high.

What’s Too Much Radon?

If you’re performing an at-home radon test, the general threshold indicating too high a radon quantity is 4.0 pCi/L. This level of radon poses lung cancer risks at the same level as someone who smokes eight cigarettes every single day, or the equivalent of 200 chest X-rays every single year.

If your home test results come in at 4.0 pCi/L or above, you should immediately talk with your landlord about having mitigation performed by a qualified contractor. If this isn’t possible and your lease is up for renewal soon, it might be time to consider moving into a home that has lower radon levels, as the elevated risk posed at these levels can be quite dangerous. And if you haven’t yet signed a lease, plus the landlord doesn’t signal a willingness to mitigate before you do so, you should look elsewhere for a rental property.

Value of Professional Radon Testing

While at-home radon tests may do well enough for certain basic testing needs, those who want a truer idea of radon levels in their rental should consider using a professional service to conduct testing. Some reasons why this is so can include the following:

  • Landlord cooperation: Some landlords try to hide behind inconclusive tests or other confusing information to avoid paying for radon mitigation. If you have test results from a professional, that kind of evasion is much harder to pull off.
  • Confirmation: A professional service can easily tell you if your building has radon issues, which some at-home testers may have problems doing accurately.
  • Testing protocol: Professionals are going to use EPA protocol for testing pools and spas, ensuring standardized results. If there’s any question about the efficacy of your testing, this is a surefire way to remove that doubt.
  • Professional testing companies can also tell you whether your levels are elevated beyond safe standards, and take action on your behalf if they are. As most rental contracts include a provision for potential radon mitigation, it’s important that you let professionals do their job and simply deliver the results rather than trying to get involved in testing protocol yourself.

For more on radon testing in rental properties and why it’s so important, or to learn about any of our radon testing or radon mitigation solutions, speak to the staff at Absolute Radon Safety today.

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