Radon testing in Utah should be a priority for every homeowner. Here are the answers to the most common questions about Utah radon services.
Radon is a severe issue for Utah residents. As a homeowner and full-time discount real estate agent, I always recommend radon testing to all home buyers. The health risk of not radon testing your home in Utah is high.
You will learn where to purchase accurate radon tests, how to understand the radon test result and the health effects of living with elevated levels of radon.
After reading this post, you will understand why the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends you test your home and protect your family from the second leading cause of lung cancer.
What is Radon?
Radon is a natural radioactive, odorless, and tasteless gas from uranium(radioactive element atomic number 92) in the ground.
Utah has five times the radon levels compared to the national average.
A third of Utah homes have radon levels above what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers safe.
Unsafe levels are 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) or higher.
Health effects of living with Radon
Radon is a carcinogen (causes cancer) and is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the USA, behind smoking cigarettes. Utah has one of the lowest rates of citizens that smoke, yet hundreds of Utahans are diagnosed with terminal lung cancer annually.
Utah’s above-average exposure to this cancer-causing gas is likely to blame.
The EPA estimates radon is responsible for twenty-one thousand lung cancer deaths annually in the United States.
How Does Radon Get In Your Home?
Radon gas can seep through tiny cracks and holes in the home's basement floors and foundation.
Common ways for radon to enter your home are as follows:
Rocks. Radon gas is released from radioactive decay in rocks containing uranium beneath your home.
Natural stone. Small amounts of radon can be released into your home from the stones used during the construction of your house. For example, Granite, typically used for countertops and other natural stones used for fireplaces, could add to the radon in a home.
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Foundation Cracks. Cracks in the foundation or basement floor are the easiest way for radon to enter the home.
Water Source. Well water comes from the deep ground and near rocks, naturally releasing radon gas. Radon enters the home through the plumbing as you wash your hands, wash your dishes, wash your laundry, or bathe.
What levels of radon are considered Safe?
Radon, a radioactive gas, can be found in Utah's indoor and outdoor air. Proper ventilation is necessary to eliminate or reduce the amount of radon in a home.
Since radon exposure is a leading cause of lung cancer, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) strongly recommends radon testing in every home. In addition, a certified radon mitigation company should mitigate homes with radon levels exceeding 4pCi/L (EPA action level).
Even levels between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L should prompt homeowners to consider radon mitigation. Lowering radon in the home can significantly reduce the potential health risks to the occupants and their families.
The average radon level in US homes is approximately 1.3 pCi/L. at the same time, the average radon level in Utah homes is 5.3pCi/L.
Radon testing your home and installing a mitigation system if test results exceed 2pCi/L is recommended.
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What is a Picocurie?
The intensity of radioactivity in a sample of radioactive material is commonly measured using the curie, a standard unit named after the French scientists Marie and Pierre Curie, who pioneered radioactivity research. The curie is the radioactivity of one gram of radium, which decays at approximately 2.2 trillion disintegrations per minute.
A picocurie, one trillionth of a curie, represents only 2.2 disintegrations per minute.
How Often Should You Test For Radon?
While most inspectors recommend testing every two years for homes that initially tested between 2pCi/L and 4pCi/L, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recommends homeowners test their home every two years, even if the house has a radon system installed.
How do I get a radon test in Utah?
If you're purchasing a home, the easiest way to test for radon is through your inspector. Any certified home inspector worth trusting is qualified to test for radon.
Unfortunately, Radon testing through a home inspector is more expensive than the do-it-yourself (DIF) test kits. Still, they are more convenient and timely, which is crucial to negotiating all repairs with the seller before the due diligence deadline in the real estate purchase contract (REPC).
If you own a home and want to test for radon, buying radon tests online is affordable and accurate. The Utah DEQ recommends the discounted radon test kit from AlphaEnergy Laboratories.
Eliminating Radon in your home is easy, and testing is inexpensive. You can lower your family's risk of lung cancer by purchasing a short-term radon test for less than $15.
Utah Map Of Radon Levels
What areas in Utah have high radon levels?
See if your family is at high risk with the Utah radon zone map below.
Radon map for all fifty states
EPA United States of America radon zone map level.
List Of Radon Mitigators In Utah
Find a complete list of certified mitigators you can trust for Utah radon services.
Radon Resistant Features
- Gas Permeable Layer
A gas-permeable layer is installed below the flooring system or slab to allow radon to move freely underneath a house. Typically, this layer consists of a layer of clean gravel. However, it is only used in homes with slab-on-grade foundations, not crawlspaces.
- Plastic Sheeting
Plastic sheeting with sealed seams is placed on top of the gas-permeable layer and beneath the slab to prevent radon from entering the home. In homes with crawlspaces, the sheeting is instead placed over the crawlspace floor.
- Sealing and Caulking
Any below-grade openings in the concrete foundation floor are sealed to minimize the radon gas entry into the home.
- Vent Pipe
To safely vent radon out of the house, a PVC pipe with a diameter of 3 or 4 inches extends from the gas-permeable layer through the house to the roof.
- Junction Box
An electrical junction box is incorporated into the attic to simplify the wiring and installation of a vent fan. Suppose a radon test indicates an elevated level (4 pCi/L or more), and the passive system is activated. A separate junction box is installed in the living space to power the vent fan alarm. An alarm is fitted along the vent fan to alert occupants when it is not functioning correctly.
Active Vs. Passive Radon System?
In an active radon system, an in-line fan transports radon gas from beneath the foundation to the exterior through a continuous run of plastic pipe.
Active fans are more effective.
Conversely, a passive system is intended to achieve this same exhaust function without requiring a fan.
How Much Does Radon Mitigation Cost?
Most mitigation systems installation will cost between $1,600-$2,000.
How Does A Radon Mitigation System Work?
Interior Radon Systems:
Most Utah residents choose to have an interior radon mitigation system if it's an option to avoid diminishing the aesthetics of the exterior of their home.
The first step in an interior system is to drill through concrete in the basement, typically in the mechanical or storage rooms. Next, a PVC pipe runs from the hole to the roof through the home's interior.
The radon system fan is installed in the attic and exhausts through the roof using a single pipe and a specialized roof vent.
Exterior Radon Systems:
In cases where it's impossible to hide the radon piping inside the home, an external radon system can be an effective solution. The process starts by drilling through the basement's concrete floor and transitioning outside the home.
The exterior radon system includes a large fan installed on the outside pipe a few feet above the ground so that it can be easily hidden.
Above the fan, the pipe is run up and over the eve of the roof to vent the radon gas.
How Long Do Radon Mitigation Systems Last?
The duct piping used in a radon mitigation system is typically constructed of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), a highly durable and low-maintenance material. With proper installation by a Utah-certified radon mitigation company, most duct piping will last over fifty years.
However, the fan, the essential part of the system, usually comes with a five-year manufacturer's warranty. Most fans will last several decades without requiring repair or replacement.
This post was about radon testing in Utah to help you understand the potential health risk of not testing for radon or not installing a radon mitigation system in your Utah home.
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Toeby ~ Assistant
My name is Aaron Peters. I'm a full-time discount real estate agent in Utah and the creator of DiscountAgent.com. Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to read this blog post. I'm always open to suggestions from readers.
Toeby(a.k.a Toesy) was born with only three toes on his front left paw. Luckily for him, his only job requirement as my assistant is to nap and remind me that life isn't about sitting at my desk staring at a computer all day. Who's a good boy?
Contact me at 801.243.8900 If you own a company and would like to participate in an interview that is helpful to DiscountAgent.com readers.
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