3 Things to Know about Radon in Pennsylvania

radioactive symbolPerhaps you’re looking to buy or sell a home, and this was the first time you’ve heard the buyer, homebuilder or your realtor discuss radon. Or maybe a neighbor or family member installed a radon mitigation system and now you wonder if you need to worry about one for your own home.

Whatever the case, we’re glad you’re learning about this odorless, invisible, radioactive gas, because nearly 40 percent of homes here in Pennsylvania have radon levels above the EPA’s recommended action level of 4 pCi/Ls (pico-Curies per liter). In fact, of the three radon zones classified by the EPA, Lancaster County and most neighboring counties are in zone 1, which means the predicted average for an indoor radon screening is greater than the recommended 4 pCi/Ls.

Whether you’re building a new home or buying one built years ago, radon can be an issue if appropriate measures aren’t taken. The EPA estimates that radon is the cause of thousands of cancer deaths in the US each year, and is the second-leading cause of lung cancer (after smoking).

The most important things to know about radon here in Pennsylvania are these:

  1. If you test your home and the radon levels show above the recommended 4 pCi/Ls, you can work with a certified mitigation specialist to have this reduced. Typical active mitigation systems are based on sealing cracks and joints in the basement slab, then running a vent pipe from beneath the slab to a suction fan which exhausts to the roof or eave. Even if your home is below the recommended 4 pCi/Ls, you may want to consider taking measures to see how low you can reduce it.
  2. To get ahead of the radon problem when building your new home, talk with your builder about construction techniques designed to mitigate radon passively. Unlike the active suction systems installed in existing homes, passive mitigation systems don’t use a ventilation fan, but they’re generally only feasible with new construction.
  3. Regularly test your home even after mitigation measures have been taken. Kits can be found at most hardware stores, or you can even purchase monitors that consistently measure levels on websites such as Amazon. If you’re renovating or the home undergoes significant changes, you’ll definitely want to retest.

Protect your family by making sure high radon levels in your home are not ignored!  Norman Graham Builders is experienced in building homes with both passive and active radon mitigation systems. If you’d like to get started on you’re a new home project, but want to make sure radon is dealt with professionally, contact us today and we’ll be happy to discuss the topic in more detail.