If radon is present in the soil it can seep into a home through cracks and crevices in the foundation and slab floor, gaps around water pipes, poorly sealed drains pipes, sump pumps, and construction joints. Radon should not be permitted to remain in sealed areas of a home and affected areas should be properly ventilated to reduce any risk.
The EPA states that Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb and DeKalb counties are in Zone 1 of their radon risk assessment survey. This means our area is in the highest risk category. Visit the EPA site to view a United States risk map. The EPA advises radon testing of all homes in all Zone 1 to identify any potential risk.
For more general information on Radon for the homebuyer and home seller, visit the EPA Radon program site.
Identification of Risk:
If you want to test your current home, the least expensive method is to utilize small radon-absorbent canisters. The proper placement of the canisters is critical for effective testing, so be sure to follow the directions carefully. The collection period is typically from three to seven days. The canisters are then sent to a lab for analysis and results. The cost for this type of radon test is about $20-$40 and will determine the level of radon in a home. The EPA recommends remediation for any concentration at or above 4 pico curies per liter (pCi/L).
If you want to test the home you are purchasing, make sure that your purchase contract allows you enough time to perform this test. It can an extra 2 to 3 days for collection, analysis, and an official report. Your home inspector can set this up for you. The cost is about $100-$175 over the cost of the general home inspection.
Jeff’s Note: Long-term radon testing requires 3-12 months. This is a more accurate test and you may want to consider this once you move in. However, it is not usually practical to utilize this type of test during the home sales process.
What if the Home I Love Has this Problem?
Radon is fairly inert, and doesn’t usually react with other materials as it rises to the surface. Since the half-life is under 4 days, this gas loses its radioactivity quickly. This means that proper ventilation and fresh air exchange is important to radon remediation.
Radon reduction usually consists of a combination of sealing the home from the soil and proper ventilation. The cost of these actions typically runs from $500 to $5000. A partial list of recommended corrective actions includes:
- Seal gaps in the foundation
- Seal water and drain pipes
- Install more vents in the crawl space or basement
- Cover exposed soil with high density plastic
- Paint concrete slabs and basement walls
- Install a sub-slab ventilation system