Think about this:
ANY building — whether in Indianapolis or anywhere in the world — that has direct contact with the earth could have a radon problem. Radon is literally a silent but deadly killer that could be lurking in your house. This fact drives that point home: The lab notebook of Marie Curie, the scientist who discovered radium, and its by-product radon, is too contaminated to be safely handled today.
Radon is a silent killer because it is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. It is naturally occurring and percolates up from the ground. It gets in your home through cracks in the floors and walls, construction joints, as well as gaps in suspended floors, around pipes and more.
While once upon a time it was used in ways that seem crazy now — a variety of medicinal and beauty products ranging from make-up to cures for impotency — we now know it causes cancer.
As a gas, we breathe it in and it damages the lungs. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, killing 22,000 people a year by last count. It is also the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
Get Educated About Radon
The myriad of decisions you have to make when purchasing a home can be overwhelming, and you often don’t know what you don’t know. This a great reason to hire a professional realtor, but educating yourself as well is prudent. A home inspection is required by law in Indiana, but testing for radon is not.
Just like testing for methamphetamine use in a home, since testing for radon is not mandatory, you can be unaware you have a problem until devastating health effects occur. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) produced a great little one-minute video to drive that point home.
Some Radon Facts
1.) Three of the 12 counties in Indiana with the highest radon test results were in Central Indiana: Hamilton, Johnson and Marion.
2.) The Office of the US Surgeon General recommends all homes be tested for radon
3.) Nearly the entire state of Indiana is in Zone 1, which is comprised of the areas in the US to have shown higher levels of indoor radon
4.) Levels of radon can vary even in homes next door to each other depending on their construction
5.) Radon is measured in picocuries per liter (pCi/L) found in the air. The EPA recommends radon mitigation at 4 pCi/L or higher.
6.) 34% of homes in Marion County are above the recommended limit, as determined by random test results published by Marion County Radon Information.
7.) Any home can have elevated radon levels: New homes, old homes, those built with basements or on a slab, as well as drafty and well-insulated homes alike.
Tests vary, but the do-it-yourself variety will range in price from $10 to $30 with a professional test running between $75 to $250. Interestingly enough, although Indiana doesn’t mandate radon testing, they are one of only a handful of states that sets licensing guidelines for professionals who test for and mitigate radon in a structure with high levels.
Solutions concentrate on collecting and discharging the radon before it enters the home and appropriate ventilation and filtering to reduce the concentration in the home if it does enter. Tactics to fix a radon problem include making the foundation radon resistant, installing passive vent piping, and in some cases a fan system to actively vent radon from the ground. Radon mitigation systems run between $600 and $1000. Once a radon mitigation system is installed, a homeowner should always test for radon AGAIN to make sure the system is working properly.
New home construction today is responding to the radon problem as well. 20% of new homes built in the US — and 40% in the radon red zone — are built with radon-reducing features.
Bottom line: Unless you own a houseboat, you need to get your home checked for radon. If you need any advice about this, or have any questions about buying or selling a home, give Newkirk Realty a call at 317-578-1141. You can even leave us a message below. We look forward to talking with you!