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Owners encouraged to test homes during National Radon Action Month

Date Published: 01/24/2020 [Source]

Most homeowners don't bother testing their homes for radon, an invisible, odorless, naturally occurring radioactive gas that is the second-leading cause of lung cancer.

"Usually they don't test when they live in a house. It's when they go to sell. The potential buyer will have the opportunity for a home inspection and a radon test and it usually gets fixed from there,'' said Mary Jones, a certified employee for radon mitigation for Precision Home Inspectors and Alpha Detection and Control, located in Connellsville and owned by her husband, Dan.

"In a real estate transaction, you have to hire someone to do the testing as well as radon removal,'' explained Jones. "But if you live in a house and are curious, you can buy a test kit, follow the directions and see what your numbers are.''

January is recommended as the state noted in the release, "Winter is a good time to test, because doors and windows are closed, providing more accurate results.''

The state explains radon occurs from the breakdown of uranium in the ground that enters homes through cracks in the foundation or other openings.

"Because of Pennsylvania's geology, there are high radon levels in locations around the state, putting residents at risk of exposure," Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in a release. "Fortunately, it's simple to determine the radon level in your home using an inexpensive test."

It is recommended that testing be done in the basement as radon levels are often highest there.

The state explained in the release, "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identifies 4 picocuries of radon per liter of air as the action level for radon. If your home's radon level is higher, EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General recommend having a radon reduction system, with a pipe and exhaust fan, professionally installed to vent the gas outside. The cost is generally in line with other home improvements, such as replacing a water heater. Having a radon reduction system installed makes the future sale of a home easier, too.''

Jones said, "There's a system that can be installed in a day and costs between $800 and $900. You have to be certified to install it."