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Radon Testing

 

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Radon Testing

Radon Gas: What are the Risk Factors?

Radon Gas ChartThe United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Surgeon General of the United States, The American Lung Association, the National Safety Council, Consumer Federation of America foundation, The American Association of Radon Scientist and technologists and the National and American Society of Home Inspectors recommend that all Homes be tested for Radon. In most Real Estate Contracts a 'Radon' clause is present stating that a radon inspection must be made on the property. Many Mortgage Companies are also requesting that the home be tested for Radon before a mortgage is approved.

Simply stated, Radon is a Cancer-Causing, Radioactive Gas that causes 15,000 to 22,000 or 12% of Lung Cancer deaths annually. Radon is the second leading cause of Lung Cancer in the United States behind Smoking. Radon is colorless, odorless and undetectable unless a test in done. EPA says that 1 in every 15 Homes has a high level of Radon above the take action amount of 4 picas curies per liter. (4 pCi/L) It is unfortunate but most of the Maryland area is in a high level zone according to the EPA map of high level zones in the United States.

A quick summary of radon information clearly states that no matter how high the radon levels are your home, they can become Hazardous to your Health or cause lung Cancer, if you are exposed to radon gas for long periods of time. The higher the Radon Level is in your home and the more time you spend in your home the more likely you could develop lung cancer. If you smoke or have smoked in the past your chances of developing Lung Cancer are 17 times greater.

Radon video
Click here to view the EPA video on Radon 

High levels of Radon in your home can be corrected for an average cost of between $800 and $2500 according to the EPA. It is better to correct a radon problem before placing your home on the market because, you have more time to address a radon problem before a Real Estate Transaction takes place, Plus the buyer has Peace of Mind which normally generates a higher selling price for your home and a lot less problems getting to the settlement table.
For complete details visit the EPA WEB site to see the Maryland Zone Map

How Does Radon Enter The Home?

Typically the air pressure inside your home is lower than the pressure in the soil around your home's foundation.
Due to this difference, your house acts like a vacuum, drawing radon gas in through foundation cracks and other openings of your home. Radon may also be present in well water and can be released into the air in your home when water is used for showering and other household uses.

Potential Entry Points:

Potential Entry Points for Radon

What Happens during a Radon Test in your home?

Short Term Tests vs. Long Term Testing: Normally performed for most Real Estate transactions, the 48 Hours Short Term test is provided. A Long Term test remains in your home for more than 90 days, is more accurate, and obviously has higher costs associated. This includes using different type testing devices designed for a longer period of time. If time permits a long term test can be used to confirm the accuracy of short term test results.

Different testing devices can be used that are of a passive nature (do not need electricity or batteries) they include alpha track detectors, charcoal canisters, charcoal liquid scintillation detectors and electret ion chambers. The active device needing electricity is a continuous monitor. Each device has some advantages and some disadvantages but one of the best devices which has the highest precision of accuracy is the electret ion chambers. According to Consumer Reports the electret ion chamber provides a 92% accuracy rate, while others can be as low as 64% accurate. They are safe to use and require the least amount of time to be in your home, which means less interruption to your daily home life when a test is under way.

Our Testing Procedures

The inspectors at APECS, Inc. use the E-Perm ion chamber system. A 12 Hour closed door and window prerequisite, before the short term test, is required.  Two tests are take at the same time (simultaneous) which improves the precision of the radon test. The Test devices are placed in your home by our Certified Radon professionals and after 48 hours they are picked up and processed in our certified laboratory for immediate results. The results can be provided with in hours after the test is completed.

Radon Testing Checklist

For reliable test results, follow this Radon Testing Checklist carefully. Improper testing may yield inaccurate results and require another test. Disturbing or interfering with the test devices, or with CLOSED HOUSE CONDITIONS, may invalidate the test results and is illegal in some states. If the seller or qualified tester cannot confirm that all items have been completed, another test must be taken.

• Notify the occupants of the importance of proper testing conditions and give them a copy of this guide if possible and explain the directions carefully.

• Conduct the radon test for a minimum of 48 hours using the electorate ion chambers and maintain closed house conditions for a minimum of 12 hours before the 48 hour test begins.

• The test will include methods to prevent or detect interference with testing conditions or with the testing devices itself.

• If the house has an active radon-reduction system, make sure the vent fan is operating properly. If the fan is not operating properly, have it (or ask to have it) repaired and then test.

• Maintain closed-house conditions during the entire duration of a short -term test, especially for tests shorter that one week in length.

• Operate the home's heating and cooling systems normally during the test. For tests lasting less than one week, operate only air-conditioning units which re-circulate interior air.

• Do not disturb the test devices at any time during the test.

• After the test is complete, the devices will be picked up and taken to our laboratory where the results of the test will be determined. Results of the test will in most cases be e-mailed, faxed or mailed to you within 12 hours after the laboratory has determined the results.

• Levels of radon 4 pCi/L or more the EPA recommends that you take action to fix the home to reduce the level of radon gas. In most cases, a system with a vent pipe(s) and fan(s) is used to reduce the radon. Radon mitigation contractors may use other methods that may also work in your home. The right system depends on the design of your home and other factors. Only use a licensed certified mitigation contractor to do the repairs.

• After the radon reduction system is installed another radon test should take place in the same location as the last test was performed.

• For more information on radon, visit the EPA's Radon website or the National Radon Proficiency Program website.

What does Closed Door Conditions mean when conducting a radon test?

Closed Door Conditions must be maintained for a 12 hour period before a short term Radon test can be done in a home. The results may not be accurate if the following conditions are not kept and the test will need to be preformed again. The radon levels can be influenced significantly either plus or minus if these conditions are not met.  Closed-House conditions means keeping all windows closed, keeping doors closed except for normal entry and exit, and not operating fans or other machines which bring in air from the outside. Fans that are part of a radon-reduction system or small exhaust fans operating for only a short period of time may be run during the test. 12 hours before the devices are placed in the home for a short term test, these conditions must be met and maintained during the test or the test is considered invalid. 

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APECS, Inc.
Advanced Property & Environmental Contracting Services

P.O. Box 43957
Nottingham, MD  21236
410-529-5505
License # 29775

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