What you need to know about Radon Gas in your home

A radioactive element that just might be in your house.

What is Radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring, odorless, radioactive gas that is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.

Now that I’ve freaked you out — radon is present in nearly all air and is breathed in every day by everyone, usually at low levels. Radon “leaks” from the ground, and is the byproduct from the decay of elements radium, thorium and uranium in the earth. Some communities — like Grandview and Upper Arlington — were built over-top of old quarries; putting these homes at an even higher risk for radon.

How does Radon cause cancer?

Since Radon decays quickly, tiny radioactive particles diffuse into the air. When inhaled, these particles can cause damage at the cellular level in your lungs, specifically the cells that line your lungs. Long term exposure, and elevated levels of radon, can lead to lung cancer. If you smoke, you’re at a higher risk to develop cancer as a result of elevated radon levels. Radon can enter homes through cracks, walls and even the foundation. As construction technology has advanced, and home insulation has become better and better; more and more radon gas can collect indoors as a result.

How do I test for Radon?

It typically takes years of exposure to develop symptoms of radon gas… testing is the only way to know your home’s radon levels. The EPA, the Surgeon General, American Lung Association, American Medical Association and this Realtor® all recommend testing your home for radon. There are certified radon mitigation companies in Ohio that can preform these tests professionally. If you’re in the process of buying, we can always test during your home inspection period — even on foreclosures — to ensure the levels of radon are normal before you buy.

How do I fix high levels of Radon?

First off: seal the cracks in your floors and walls. While some novice buyers think cracked floors can mean structural problems, the only real concern is water and or radon seepage. In contrast with the floor, cracked walls can be a symptom of a larger problem, however many times cracking and settling is quite normal in a house. Other common entry points for radon can be sump pumps, crawl spaces and even exposed brick.

Professional radon mitigation is generally the way to go. If you discover high levels of radon during your home inspection period, as a home buyer, many times we can get the seller to pay for the radon mitigation. Most professional systems in Central Ohio come with lifetime warranties and help to keep the radon levels under the acceptable “action level.” If you’re a home seller, or you didn’t test for radon when you bought your home, these tests typically cost around $175 and professional radon mitigation costs anywhere from $800 to $1,200 generally in Central Ohio. Additionally, The Ohio Department of Health sells DIY radon test kits for $16.99.

Additional Resources

More information about Radon Gas