What is Radon?

Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that can be found in homes all over the United States. Radon comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. Although, it may sound like a foreign concept, radon is present in nearly all soils and low levels can be found in the air we breathe every day. 

Why is it an issue?

When radon gas enters your home and gets trapped, long-term exposure to high levels can be detrimental to one’s health. The biggest concern is how radon can get into the air you breathe at home, causing various health issues, such as lung cancer.

While all of this may sound a bit terrifying, there is some good news: there are effective ways to significantly reduce radon levels, if it is present in your home.

How does it enter homes?

Radon gas moves from the soil into a home; although, it is possible for it to seep directly through pores in concrete, the most common entry passages are the gaps in walls and floors.

Is my home at risk for elevated levels?

It’s important to make note that any house, of any age, in any state, can have elevated radon levels; however, it really depends on the way your house specifically interacts with surrounding soil. It is entirely possible that the level of radon in your home may differ significantly from your neighbor’s home. 

How do I test for radon?

Various inspection companies, such as Mich-Inspect, can assist in testing the radon levels in your home. The tests should be conducted in the lowest livable area of your house that is used regularly. There are short-term tests, long-term test and continuous tests that can be done. 

  • Short-term tests are most useful for determining whether further testing needs to be implemented and most measure radon levels for about two to seven days. The short-term tests are then sent to a lab and results are obtained within a few days. 
  • Long-term tests measure levels for about 90 days to one year. Most are based on “alpha particle tracking” which provides a more accurate result of the average annual levels in your home. Since radon levels can vary day to day or month to month, depending on numerous factors, such as strong winds, a drop in air pressure, variable soil moisture and snow cover (traps radon gases), this form of testing can be extremely beneficial. 
  • Continuous radon tests plug into a standard outlet and provide a running average (they can be used for both short-term and long-term testing). They utilize an ionization chamber and continuously sample air. 

Which results indicate further action needs to be taken?

The EPA suggests doing a second test if an initial, short-term test has a result of 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher. If a second test also registers above 4pCi/L, then you will need to take action in reducing the levels in your home, in order to prevent any detrimental health issues.

In order to take proper action to reduce levels, it is important to contact a proper inspection agency. If you are looking to buy a home, especially one with quite a bit of land, it’s important to have tests conducted, as this could greatly impact your decision! 

At GreenSquare Properties, we care about our clients and want to ensure that they are properly informed on all aspects of the home buying process (and that inspections are properly conducted). As you can see from the pictures, one client recently had a test conducted by Charlie, at Mich-Inspect, and is anxiously awaiting the results! They were recently informed that radon levels may be elevated in their home and reached out to us so that we could help get them in touch with the proper inspection agency.  

Stay tuned as we update this post in the next few days to reveal the results and whether or not they will need to take further action. 


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