You need to be more concerned about radon than the average person if you live in Philadelphia. Home radon testing in Philadelphia is important because the city is located in an area with higher-than-average radon levels. While that doesn’t need to cause alarm, it should encourage you to seek professional radon testing in Philadelphia to ensure the health and safety of your household. Exposure to radon over time can increase your risk for developing serious health issues. Fortunately, Inspection Professionals of Huntington Valley makes it easy to schedule radon testing at your home. Keep reading to learn more about what every Philadelphia-area resident needs to know about radon levels in the area.
What Is Radon?
Radon is an invisible and odorless radioactive gas that can seep into homes from the earth. Radon is formed by the naturally occurring decay of radioactive elements found in soil and rock. The uranium that is found naturally in the ground degrades to radium before ultimately becoming a radioactive gas called radon. While radon is a natural substance, its danger cannot be dismissed. The National Cancer Institute estimates that between 15,000 and 20,000 lung cancer deaths are caused by radon annually.
Radon gas contained in the soil can easily move into the air. For people with wells, there’s also a concern that radon can move into underground water sources. What makes radon dangerous for people and pets is its ability to attach to dust and particles in the air that can be inhaled through the lungs. Once radon is inhaled, it gives off radiation that can cause damage to the DNA in cells.
Radon in the Home
Radon is present both outdoors and indoors. It’s not uncommon to find low levels of radon in both the air and sources of drinking water. However, radon levels tend to concentrate once radon gas enters homes and other buildings. Radon also reaches heavier concentrations once it enters well water.
Radon enters homes through cracks and holes in the foundation. Once radon enters a home, it becomes trapped. This makes indoor radon more dangerous than outdoor radon because radon levels can quickly build up beyond safe levels. The fact that radon has no obvious detectable presence means that a homeowner can easily live with unsafe radon levels without being aware of the problem. A home’s foundation isn’t the only channel that provides entry for radon. Radon can also potentially enter a home in Philadelphia through:
- Construction joints.
- Suspended floors.
- Cracks in basement walls.
- Sump holes.
- Plumbing penetrations.
- Small holes.
Radon entry points don’t necessarily need to be visible. Tiny, invisible cracks provide more than enough room for radon to enter. Any house that has contact with the ground has the potential to have a radon problem. The type of foundation attached to a home doesn’t impact radon’s ability to enter. Basements, slabs, and crawl spaces all provide robust environments for radon.
Health Effects of Radon
The most concerning health factor with radon is an elevated risk of lung cancer. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, radon is considered to be the top cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. It’s estimated that radon-induced lung cancer would usually occur five to 25 years after exposure. While lung cancer is the only confirmed negative consequence of radon at this point, the true effects of radon exposure represent a wildcard effect until further research is done. The bottom line is that radon is not something you want to take risks with if you own a home in Philadelphia.
Home Radon Testing
Easy home radon testing means that there’s no need to take a gamble with radon. A radon test can be performed as either a step in a full home inspection or standalone test. Here at Inspection Professionals, we’ve been performing radon tests in the Philadelphia area for 25 years. We offer testing results that give our customers the answers and peace of mind they’re seeking. The truth is that radon remediation can be a simple, inexpensive option. The only reason why most homeowners don’t fix their radon problems is that they aren’t aware of them. Finding out that you have a radon problem doesn’t make your home unlivable. It simply alerts you to the fact that it’s time for remediation that will ensure the safety of your household!
Why Test for Radon?
The only way to know if your home has dangerous radon levels is to test for radon. The EPA suggests that anything exceeding 4.0 pCi/L is considered dangerous. The EPA estimates that nearly one out of every 15 homes in the United States has elevated radon levels. Some parts of the country simply have higher radon levels than others due to higher concentrations of rock in the landscape. Even towns and cities with low radon levels may have high-radon neighborhoods. All of Philadelphia is designated by the EPA as a Zone 2 area for radon gas. A Zone 2 designation indicates that an area has radon levels of 3.0 pCi/L or higher.
“Pennsylvania has one of the most serious radon problems in the United States,” according to the EPA’s website. Approximately 40% of Pennsylvania homes have radon levels above the EPA’s safety threshold of action guideline of 4.0 pCi/L. This is why it’s recommended that any person buying a home in the Philadelphia area should require a radon test as part of a home inspection before finalizing a contract.
When to Test for Radon
Many people choose to test their homes for radon after hearing about the dangers of living with elevated radon. The EPA recommends testing for radon whenever a home is being sold. At Inspection Professionals, we recommend always working a radon test into your home inspection before moving forward with an offer on a home. In most cases, a buyer can request for a seller to pay for professional radon remediation that will help to ensure that radon levels remain within the EPA’s recommendation for safety.
It can also be wise to test for radon whenever you make updates to your home. Home renovations and construction projects can actually cause changes to the configuration of your home that allow for radon to enter. This is especially true when altering windows, doors, basements, or sewage systems. A homeowner can’t assume that low radon levels will always stay low. While your home may have passed an inspection with low radon levels when you purchased it 10, 20, or 30 years ago, changes in the soil around your home may have created altered radon levels in the time since your closing day.
How to Test for Radon
It’s possible to purchase home kits for radon testing. However, experts recommend only having radon testing performed by state-certified testing companies in Pennsylvania capable of confirming and analyzing your results for you. Home kits may not be considered acceptable if you’re doing a radon test when buying or selling a home. They also can’t provide the certainty that professional testing can provide.
Generally, it’s recommended that radon testing is done in the basement because this is the area of a home where the highest concentrations of radon are often found. The ground floor can also be a good choice. If your home’s radon results come back higher than 4 pCi/L, a second test will usually be done to confirm the results. Long-term tests can often produce more accurate results when trying to confirm high levels of radon in a home. If dangerous levels of radon are confirmed, it will be time to move forward with corrective measures to reduce radon levels in your home to safe levels.
Do You Know Your Home’s Radon Level? Get Professional Radon Testing Done at Your Philadelphia Home
Don’t take chances with radon. At Inspection Professionals, we don’t consider a home inspection done unless it includes a radon test. Radon simply isn’t something that people in Pennsylvania can afford to take a chance with because we have some of the highest levels of radon in the country lurking in all of our towns, cities, and neighborhoods. Learning that your home has high radon levels doesn’t have to come as devastating news. Radon remediation can be both simple and affordable. If your radon test shows that you have safe radon levels at your home, you can simply enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that you’re not putting members of your household at risk for lung cancer.
Inspection Professionals has performed thousands of radon tests over the past 25 years. We’ll provide you with radon testing from state-certified professionals before delivering thorough, detailed results. We can also steer you toward the best radon remediation services in Philadelphia if it turns out that your home does require an intervention. Call us today for reliable radon testing in the Philadelphia area. We can perform radon testing in homes and buildings of all ages, styles, and sizes!