January was Radon action month, but even as we hit the first days of February, it's still very important to be aware of this dangerous natural gas and how it can impact you and your home.
"Radon is a gas that comes up through the soil. It's basically same as oxygen you can't taste or smell it. It's a cancer causing gas. Most people don't know what radon is until they go to sell their house and somebody will do a radon test," said Torry Dorsey, an ASHII certified home inspector.
There are various kinds of testing kits for radon detection. Some are done licensed professionals; some can be done by homeowners.
"I use electronic monitors. They're going to give you an hour by hour test. They're going to tell you temperature, humidity, certain things like that. There are other types of tests. You can buy canisters, which are very popular with homeowners," said Dorsey.
Testing for radon should be done every few years and it's a pretty easy procedure.
"You always have to have them in the house for 48 hours. If it's an electronic test, it has to be three feet away from the wall and probably about two feet above ground -- the more in the middle of the room, the better. You don't want it near furnaces, humidifiers, things like that. Typical levels, anything over four picocuries per liter, is cause for concern and should be remediated," said Dorsey.
Depending on the amount of radon you find in your home and how much money you're willing to spend, mitigation methods vary.
"There is different types of remediation. One of the first things you do is try seal up all the cracks. If you have a crawl space with dirt, you'll put down plastic, a type of vapor barrier. You do sub slab pressurization, HRV, heat recovery ventilation systems," said Dorsey.
Remember, although this is a test that is not required, it is highly recommended. If the home you're buying is found to have a radon problem that will be another aspect of the purchase to figure out at the negotiation table.