Will this be a rather boring blog post about radon? Although I can think of more exciting topics to write about, radon gas is a proven carcinogen so more awareness about what it is can't hurt.
Here in the Kansas City metro area, radon is prevelant. I alway recommend my buyers have a home tested for the radon level. There are always many questions--most of all, what is radon and how much does the testing cost?
The EPA website says radon is the 'leading cause of lung cancer deaths among non-smokers in America', killing some 20,000 people per year. I don't hear of 'radon' being a cause of death, but you do hear about people dying of lung cancer who don't smoke. So those people are dying from radon?
Radon is in ground soil and escapes into the home. Soil moisture and weather can vary your radon reading. For home buyers, a test usually takes 48-72 hours, where a small machine is set up in the basement that reads the levels. This cost is usually $60-$75. Some machines can read on site when the testing is over--others have to send off for the results. If the radon level is 4.0pCi/l (picoliters) or higher, mitigation is recommended. Radon mitigation consists of inserting a large tube into the ground floor of the basement and 'sucking' the gas up through the tube into the atmoshphere. There is a fan that runs continously in the tube. An indicator on the tube tells you if the fan is working properly. A radon mitigation system costs between $750-$1000 to install.
You can get a do-it-yourself radon kit from Kansas State University. That cost is $15 for a 3-4 day test; $25 for the 3-12 month test. Send in the test when finished and the results are posted on line.