Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions about Radon we’ve compiled for you:
- Are radon levels Higher in Kansas City?
Yes, Most of the Greater KC area is in the Zone 1 for Radon levels. 1 out of every 3 homes will test over 4.0 pc/l. Learn more Here.
- How do I know my system is running as it should?
Every system installed by Certified Radon has a vacuum pressure gauge. This indicates if the fan is creating an effective sub-slab vacuum. We recommend you check the gauge monthly and after any major storms. This will ensure that the fan is functioning properly. However, the only way to know what the radon levels are in the home is with periodic testing.
- What is the most cost-effective and successful means of remediation?
The most cost-effective and successful method of remediation – or radon removal – is the active depressurization system (ADS). The ADS system draws air from under the slab or from under a radon polyethylene barrier (if there is no slab) and exhausts it to EPA’s standards through PVC pipe and a specially designed in-line fan.
- If my Radon levels are high, will there be an odor or any other indicator?
No. That’s the tricky part about radon. It has no smell, is invisible to the naked eye and has no taste. It is considered one of the most life-threatening forms since it cannot be detected without proper testing. The Surgeon General and American Lung Association warn that radon gas has been proven the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.
- How long does a system installation take?
A fairly standard installation is anywhere from 2-4 hrs. We always clean the workspace and wear foot protection in the house to ensure it is as low-impact to your home and normal schedule as possible. Other than your discreet, expertly installed system, we want to leave the place looking like we were never there. We try to do that as efficiently as possible.
- How often should I test for Radon?
The EPA recommends testing every two years, even if the property has a mitigation system. Testing yearly provides extra peace of mind. Certified Radon offers discounted testing when done yearly. If you haven’t tested recently, call today! 816-587-3500
- How often will I have to pay attention to a mitigation system?
More often than not, you set it and forget it in a sense. That’s kind of the point, peace of mind. We recommend you check the levels on the system once a month to ensure your fan is getting the right amount of suction. Other than that, it requires no real monitoring. That being said, sometimes fans start running loudly or burn out (usually 10 years later), and they require service. In short, you probably won’t have to think about it 99.9% of the time.
- What kind of testing do you do?
Certified Radon conducts an affordable, professional short-term radon test that meets the EPA’s standards of radon testing. The testing device, a continuous radon monitor (CRM), is a calibrated instrument that will be placed in the lowest level of the home or building suitable for occupancy. Radon testing requires a minimum 48-hour test period with 12 hours of “closed-house conditions” prior to conducting the test. The continuous radon monitor (CRM) will take hourly readings for the duration of the test
- Does Radon Really Cause Cancer?
Yes. Radon rapidly decays, releasing radioactive particles into the air. When inhaled, these particles damage cells in the lung. This risk is associated with long-term exposure to high levels of radon. Exposure to smoke and/or other existing lung diseases compounded with radon exposure may increase risk.
- Why does the exhaust point have to be so high?
Certified Radon installs all mitigation systems per government codes & regulations. Discharge pipes are required to be 10 inches above the lowest roofline and at least 10 feet away from any openable windows or doors.
- Does the U-tube on the system indicate Radon Levels?
No. It is not an indicator of radon levels, but rather airflow through the system. It should be uneven, if it is even you are not getting proper airflow. Give us a call.
- How much debris is left once mitigation is complete?
At the end of the day, we are drilling through concrete, which comes with some mess. However, we follow our process for each job that ensures that we leave a very clean workspace. We want to have clean installs that we can be proud of as well. Rest assured, we will not be leaving a mess in your home.
- Do I have to have the fan in a specific place?
Exterior mitigation systems and the most cost common and cost-effective type of radon mitigation. In an exterior system, the primary suction point is inside the home (typically in an unfinished area) along the foundation wall. The PVC piping runs up the foundation wall and exited through the joist pocket. On the exterior of the home the fan is mounted vertically and discharge is ran up the side of the home. Where the fan is mounted is based off the most desirable spot on the interior and exterior of the home. Our licensed mitigation technician will access the property and present the best option(s) to the homeowner at the time of installation.
Interior mitigation systems are also an option for those needing to meet HOA guidelines or wanting the most aesthetically pleasing type of mitigation system. These systems are typically routed though the basement, into the garage, and through the accessible attic space above the garage. The fan is mounted inside the attic and the discharge is ran through the roof.
- Should I test the soil for Radon before building?
Testing the soil can be very costly and still not determine what type of radon pathways are opened up as a result of building. The most effective way of determining levels in an individual home is to test the home itself with the correct radon testing measures. Testing soil will not give you an accurate idea of levels once a home is built.
- What’s a High Radon Level?
The EPA recommends homeowner take action for levels over 4.0 pc/l. The World Health Organization recommends action be taken for levels over 2.7.
A radon concentration of 10 pCi/L or over has an exposure equivalent of getting 250 X-Rays in a year.
- How accurate are tests, really?
As with any testing or measurement process, variability in precision and accuracy is accounted for. Our use of Continuous Radon Monitors provides hour-by-hour monitoring and trustworthy results.
Our active continuous monitoring devices provide very accurate results when instructions are followed. Homes should be closed up for 12 hours prior to the start of testing and remain closed for the 48-hour test duration. Closed does not mean you cannot come and go as normal. But rather, exterior doors and windows should not be opened for any extended periods of time. Central heating and cooling should be ran as normal. The goal is to simulate “normal living conditions”. For information on how weather can affect testing please visit our blog.
- Does the Fan run all the time?
Yes. Radon doesn’t rest in trying to get into your house, so the fan continues to run as it creates airflow to keep pushing radon out of the house through the mitigation system. The fans, when running correctly, are very quiet and efficient. The expected life span of the fan is 10 years with proper use.
To keep dangerous radon gases from building up inside your home, the fan should be running constantly. If you are leaving for an extended period of time, like a “snowbird” you can turn off our system to conserve energy but know that it takes about 12-24 hours for the radon fan to clear out any built-up levels of radon once you return home and turn it back on.
- When will I get my test results?
Upon retrieval of the testing device, hourly readings are included in a detailed radon report specific to the structure tested. For homeowners, we present the results of the test at the point of device retrieval. In other scenarios, we send to the responsible party that paid for and requested the test.
- Why is Radon Dangerous?
Radon is a class A carcinogen, causing 21,000 PREVENTABLE deaths annually. As Uranium decays if produces Radon gas. When Radon is present inside a home, it is inhaled by humans and pets. As Radon decays every 2.4 days it releases free radicals which tear through and damage the lining of the lungs.
- How does radon get into my home?
Through the soil, showers, windows, cracks, fittings, sump pump, groundwater, well water, and drains. In other words, the radon is looking for ways to expand out of the soil and will find cracks and holes to do so. We can mitigate that intrusion by sealing and installing a mitigation system.
- What is radon?
Go Here to learn more.
- My house is brand new, it couldn’t have radon, right?
It is in every home and structure. Radon gas seeps into homes and structures from rock and soil beneath the foundation. It can be found in new construction and older homes and buildings. Certain areas of the region and country can produce higher levels based on the composition of the earth’s rock and soil in that area. You cannot detect radon with smell, taste, or sight, but it exists in EVERY home and structure. The only way to determine if radon levels are above the EPA’s Action Level of 4 pCi/L is to conduct a radon test.
- If I just seal my sump pump and floor cracks really well, can I keep radon out?
If only it were that easy. While sealing does help as part of the mitigation system as a whole, in and of itself it is not going to keep radon at bay. The only way to truly remove radon is a mitigation system.
- Is a bigger fan better? Will it pull out more radon if I “upgrade” my fan?
That’s not the way radon works. There are scenarios like if your slab is 4000 sq. ft. where a larger fan is necessary. If your house is an average-sized home, there isn’t some “bigger is better” special upgrade in radon fans. Unless the company can give you a very distinct reason for the bigger fan, they are most likely trying to upsell you for no reason. There are very few scenarios where a bigger fan is needed.
- How long until a system starts making a difference?
It starts making a difference right away. Whereas radon had been able to freely roam before, once a system has been installed it starts pulling air out immediately. We start testing after the system is installed and will be able to show the difference quickly. Mitigation systems take 12-24 hours to clear out built-up radon levels
- What if I have a non-traditional home layout?
Radon can be a problem in homes of all types: old homes, new homes, drafty homes, insulated homes, homes with basements, and homes without basements. Local geology, construction materials, and how the home was built are among the factors that can affect radon levels in homes. We’ve conducted thousands of tests across the region in homes of all ages and layouts – new and old, basements, slabs, crawl spaces – you name it.
- My neighbor’s home tested high, does that mean mine will too?
Levels can vary greatly from home to home. The only way to know if your home has a problem is to test it.
- I’ve lived here many years, what’s the point of testing now?
You will reduce your risk of lung cancer when you reduce levels, even if you’ve lived with an elevated radon level for a long time.
- Should I test my water instead?
While radon gets into some homes through water, it is important to first test the air in the home for radon. If your water comes from a public water supply that uses groundwater, call your water supplier. If high levels are found and the home has a private well, call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791 for information on testing your water.
- I have a home with no cracks or openings, what’s the point of testing?
Radon is a gas, and therefore can slip through cracks you can’t even see. it will find its way into homes new and old, finished and unfinished, big and small. The only way to know if the levels in your home are higher than what is considered “safe” is to test.
- Can I Fix it myself?
Unless you are well-versed in Radon Science, a Construction expert, and up to date on building codes, we would highly suggest you leave it to professionals. This is a radioactive gas. Trust professionals to handle it.
- Where will the test device be placed?
Based on EPA recommendations, the device is placed on the lowest livable level of the home. We place them as out of the way as we can, but there are specific guidelines we must follow to test accurately. Do not disturb the test while in-progress.
- My home is radon resistant so I’m good, right?
Unless you have a test to show you that the levels are safe, you can’t know if you have high radon or not. Radon Resistant New Construction (RRNC) as a name implies that it is inherently resistant to radon, however, that is not the case. It really means that the house is “radon system ready”, meaning that it is all set in place to have a mitigation fan installed, not that it is effectively mitigating radon currently.
- What’s the difference between an active and passive system?
A passive system is a system of pipes put in at the point of new construction that “passively” removes radon from the home without the use of a fan. An Active System uses a fan and can be installed on the exterior of the home as well. The thing to know about passive systems is that they are, at the risk of sounding cheesy, “passive”. You can absolutely have high radon levels with a passive system that isn’t doing enough. Speaking from experience, we service passive systems daily by converting them to active with the use of a proper radon fan after the homeowner’s radon levels tested high (even though they have a ‘passive’ system). There are also many times that the pipes are not installed correctly and can’t be used, rendering them pointless and leaving the necessity to install a whole new system. The only way to know if your “passive” system is working is to test. In most scenarios, active is the way to go.
A passive system is one installed by the builders during construction. They route PVC piping from the basement slab up into the attic and are able to hide it behind the drywall. These systems provide a route for the radon saturated air to exit the home. The hope is that the radon will follow that path and not enter the home in other ways. Often times passive systems are enough to keep radon levels low. Other times the passive system needs to be “activated” by adding a radon fan which then sucks the radon saturated air out instead of hoping if follow the intended path.
- Do you really need to seal my sump pit?
If you really want your system to work well…yes. We are seeking to create a vacuum underneath the house and a gaping hole in the floor goes a long way to impede that goal. We do our best to seal as neatly as possible and keep the area clean.
Our Mitigation systems are essentially creating a sub-slab vacuum, which cannot be achieved with open void into the slab. This would create a loop and not a closed, efficient system. We seal your sump pump with a clear Lexan plate. It provides and access hole to the sump pump.
- Does crazy weather affect testing?
Go here for more info.
- What happens after the radon is fixed?
Your home will be retested to make sure the radon levels have been effectively reduced. Your fan needs to run continually, so don’t turn it off or unplug it. We recommend you check your U-tube once a month to ensure that the fan is working properly. After that, re-test every at least every 2 years to ensure safe levels.
- What does a system consist of?
- One or more 2-4 inch holes in the ground called suction points
- PVC pipes inserted in the holes and extended through the home and up through the attic (if interior) or along an outside wall to extend above the roofline of the house.
- A specifically designed radon fan electrically wired
- U-tube manometer attached to the piping to monitor the operation of the fan
- What will keep rain and debris out of the open exhaust pipe?
Accounting for moisture is part of understanding these systems. The thing to know is that the amount of air coming out of the exhaust pipe prevents debris from making its way into the pipe. Interestingly enough, the amount of rainwater that gets into the system is very little. If water enters the system, it typically just trickles into the soil and disperses.
- Fan energy consumption?
Pennies a day. The fans are very efficient and don’t make a huge demand electrically.