Common Questions & Misconceptions
Some Common Radon Questions & Misconceptions
#1 most often asked question: The house has been closed for a "long" time, isn't that why the radon levels are high? No
The reason: First, because radon is a radioactive gas, it has a half-life. The known half-life of radon is 3.8 days. Every 3.8 days half of whatever level of radon you have dissipates or decays away. So the radon that is recorded on a test is radon that has entered the building very recently (within the last several days). The radon that entered the house two months ago is long gone because of the 3.8 day half-life.
Second, every structure has some form of a natural air exchange or ventilation rate. This means that interior air in the house "escapes" or "exfiltrates" out of the home with new air infiltrating into the home on a regular consistent basis.
Does the presence of exposed ledge or numerous rock/ boulders on the property give an indication of a potential radon problem? No
The Physical characteristics or appearance of an area is not necessarily a reliable indicator for assessing whether or not a structure will have a radon problem. There needs to be a radium bearing source on which a structure is built to have an airborne radon problem, and for water, the water needs to be exposed to radium bearing sources in the aquifer for radon to dissolve into it. A "rocky" or "ledgy" area is not always an automatic indicator of a problem when it comes to radon.
"A previous test showed no problem with airborne or waterborne radon. Should I bother re-testing?"Yes!
Refer to previous explanation on fluctuation of radon levels.
"My builder or realtor says there's no radon in this section of town, county, state, etc." - should I bother to test?Yes
Radon is naturally occurring and is found everywhere in the world to some degree - Test!...it's the only way to know for sure.
"We have a new home...radon is only found in older homes - right?" Wrong!
Radon can be found in very old and very new homes. Soil composition and time of year are the two biggest influential factors. Age of the home most often has little to do with an airborne radon problem.
For clarification on other common radon myths and misconceptions, see "Home Buyers and Sellers Guide to Radon" at http://www.epa.gov.iaq/radon/pubs/index.html or call our office at 1-800-319-8867.