New Homeowner’s Guide to Radon Mitigation and Testing

Becoming a new homeowner is an exciting process! As you settle into your new home, ensuring your home is safe and healthy is a top priority for you and your loved ones. From looking out for water damage and mold to checking the smoke alarms, there are many home safety checks you need to perform. One of the most important checks you should perform as a homeowner is radon testing. Nearly one out of every fifteen homes in the US test positive for dangerous levels of radon. Radon, an invisible, odorless gas, can accumulate in your new home and go unnoticed which is why we recommend testing your new home before you move in. This guide will provide you with essential information on radon testing and mitigation, including the role of vapor intrusion mitigation systems in protecting your home and occupants. 

What is Radon and Why Should You Care When Purchasing Your New Home?

As previously stated, radon can go undetected unless tested for due to its invisible nature. Radon forms from the natural decay of uranium in soil, rock, and water and can seep into homes through cracks and openings in the foundation. Prolonged exposure to high levels of radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, making it a significant health concern and a reason to protect your new home against it.

Understanding Vapor Intrusion

Vapor intrusion occurs when radon seeps into homes, leading to contaminated indoor air. This goes unnoticed to the human senses and can lead to serious health risks if unaddressed for long periods of time. For new homeowners, addressing vapor intrusion through air testing and installing a proper vapor mitigation system will ensure a safe living environment. 

The Importance of Radon Testing for Vapor Intrusion Mitigation

Testing your home for radon is the only way to detect the presence of this gas. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends all homes below the third floor be tested. Testing is straightforward and can be done using a DIY kit or by hiring a professional such as the experts at Clean Vapor.

Radon Testing Process

Short-Term Testing

Short-term testing is the quickest way to assess the radon levels in your home.These tests typically last between 2-90 days with most commonly used tests running for 2-7 days. Radon test kits are available at hardware stores, online retailers, or your local health department, but it’s important to choose a kit that is certified by the EPA or your local state radon program. After you purchase your radon test kit, place the test kit in the lowest level of your home and avoid areas with high humidity or drafts to ensure the accuracy of the results. Leave the test undisturbed for the recommended testing time. Finally, seal the kit and send it to the laboratory where the sample will be analyzed for radon levels in your home.

Long-Term Testing

Long-term testing will provide a more accurate and comprehensive reading of your new home’s radon levels by measuring it over a 90 day period. Long-term radon tests can last from three months to a year, capturing differentiating levels of radon due to seasonal changes and other influencing factors. Long-term radon test kits are available from the same sources as short-term kits but be sure the kit is certified and made for long-term radon testing. Place the radon test in the same place you would a short-term test, and leave it for the appropriate testing duration. Once complete, send the radon test kit into the laboratory to receive a detailed report of your new home’s average radon levels over the testing period. 

Mitigating High Radon Levels

The EPA recommends addressing homes with a radon level at 4pCi/L or more. If testing reveals high radon levels, taking immediate action to mitigate harmful effects is crucial. To mitigate vapor intrusion, there are several systems which can be used to effectively lower your new home’s radon levels. The following are effective choices for vapor mitigation systems for your new home: 

Sub-Slab Depressurization (SSD)

The most common and effective method, sub-slab depressurization system involves creating a vacuum beneath the home’s foundation, preventing radon from entering the living space. This is a type of sub slab vapor mitigation system which can rid your home of radon. 

In a sub-slab vapor mitigation system, one or more suction pipes are inserted through the floor slab into the soil beneath your home; these pipes are typically installed in the basement. The suction pipes are then connected to a vent pipe which runs from the foundation to the roofline, allowing radon gas to escape safely outside. A in-line fan is tyhen installed into the vent pipe to continuously draw radon gasses from beneath the slab. We recommend using a sub-slab vapor mitigation system if your home is at a high level of radon as it is the most effective vapor mitigation system.

Drain Tile or Sump Hole Suction

The drain tile or sump hole suction method leverages existing water drainage systems to reduce radon levels. This method is particularly effective in homes with existing drain tile systems or sump pumps, as it uses these structures to collect and vent radon gas. A suction pipe is connected to your home’s existing system to allow for radon gas to escape safely. Similar to the sub-slab depressurization system, the suction pipe is connected to a vent pipe that extends to the roofline, venting it outside. 

Block Wall Suction

Block Wall Suction is a specialized method for homes with hollow block foundation walls. This technique involves extracting radon gas directly from the foundation walls and venting it outside, making it an effective solution for homes with this type of construction. In this vapor mitigation system, small holes are drilled into the hollow block to allow for the insertion of suction pipes. An in-line fan is installed into these pipes to create a vacuum and draw radon gas from the walls and safely outside.

Benefits of Vapor Intrusion Mitigation Systems

  • Health Protection: Vapor mitigation systems reduce exposure to radon and other harmful gasses, lowering the risk of lung cancer and other associated health issues.
  • Increased Property Value: Homes with radon mitigation systems are often more appealing to buyers, potentially increasing your home’s market value.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing your home is safe from radon contamination provides peace of mind for you and your family.

Maintaining Your Radon Mitigation System

Once installed, radon mitigation systems require minimal maintenance. Ensure the system’s indicator shows it’s functioning correctly and schedule annual inspections with a radon professional such as the experts at Clean Vapor to maintain its efficiency.

Contact Us Today for Professional Radon Testing and Vapor Intrusion Mitigation Services for Your New Home

As a new homeowner, addressing radon and vapor intrusion is vital for ensuring a safe and healthy home. Regular testing and installing vapor intrusion mitigation systems, such as sub slab vapor mitigation systems, can significantly reduce radon levels, protecting your family’s health. Stay proactive and informed to create a safe living environment in your new home.

For professional radon testing and vapor intrusion mitigation services, contact Clean Vapor today. Our experts are here to help you ensure your home is safe and radon-free!