Every so often, I write a newsletter on a subject I think might be of interest to both real estate professionals and their clients. You can find links to them below.
Radon is a slightly radioactive gas that is produced in the earth's crust when naturally-occurring traces of Uranium break down into other elements. Radon is invisible and odorless, and it is all around us in the air we breathe. Usually, radon levels are low enough that they pose no threat to human health, but sometimes, when conditions are right, unhealthy levels of radon can build up in enclosed spaces. If people are exposed to high radon levels for long periods, it can lead to lung cancer. The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 21,000 people die from radon-related lung cancer in the United States each year.
The most accurate radon measurement techniques involve monitoring radon over the course of an entire year. This is because radon levels can vary wildly depending on many factors such as time of day, atmospheric pressure, temperature and humidity. But spikes and dips are not important with radon. The relevant data point for radon exposure is the average daily exposure over time. For this reason, there would be little value in an “instant” radon measurement.
In the real estate business, where transactions usually happen on short time frames, year-long testing would be impractical. However,as radon awareness spreads there has been an increasing demand for radon testing among home buyers. The current consensus is that the shortest useful measurement of radon levels in a home is 48 hours, and this has become the standard practice in the US.
Radon test results are expressed in pCi/L. According to the EPA, results averaging above 4.0pCi/L are considered unsafe. Radon mitigation measures are recommended in those cases. Specialized contractors install systems to draw off radon gas from beneath the building's foundation before it can enter the home.
Due to the high demand for radon testing, Brett Inspections has invested in a high-end radon air testing machine that can provide a detailed report the same day it is picked up from the testing site. The Corentium Pro contains four separate silicon photodiode sensors to provide parallel results that ensure greater accuracy. In addition, temperature, air pressure, and humidity sensors monitor and control for local conditions when creating the report. A tilt sensor and lockable controls even prevent tampering while the test is ongoing. The Corentium Pro is AARST/NRPP-certified for home inspections and radon testing.
Brett Inspections is now offering radon air testing (48 hr test duration) for $100 as part of a standard home inspection, or $150 as a stand-alone test. Please mention any required test when scheduling the inspection so we can assure the equipment is available.