What are Common Misconceptions About Radon Testing in Pennsylvania

Radon testing inspection

A Guide to Understanding Radon Risks and Dispelling Testing Concerns in PA

Radon and radon testing in homes are important topics, particularly in regions like Pennsylvania where radon levels can be elevated. The issue with radon is that it may be a health risk to you and family members living in your home. Radon has been linked as the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking and even higher risks for those that do smoke. 

Here are some common misconceptions about radon and radon testing in homes in Pennsylvania:

radon testing

Misconception: Radon isn’t a significant problem in Pennsylvania.

  • Reality: Pennsylvania has many areas with elevated radon levels due to its geology. The state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) emphasizes the importance of radon testing inspection as it can pose serious health risks. There is a geological formation in Pennsylvania called the “Reading Prong”, it has very high levels of radon.
  • Radon was first discovered as a potential health risk in homes in Pennsylvania while building the Three Mile Island Nuclear plant. Before any nuclear material was delivered to the plant, sensitive radiation detection equipment was sounding alarms, it was tracked to a single worker that was tripping the sensors. After inspecting his home it was found that there was exceedingly high levels of radon in his home.

Misconception: Only older homes are at risk for radon.

  • Reality: Radon can affect homes of any age. While older homes may have more potential entry points, newer homes can also have radon issues depending on factors like construction materials and ventilation. The PA DEP and EPA recommend all homes are tested for radon.

Misconception: Radon testing is expensive and complicated.

  • Reality: Radon testing kits are affordable and easy to use. They can be purchased at hardware stores or online, and typically involve placing a device in the lowest livable level of the home for a specified period. Some kits allow you to mail the device to a lab for analysis.
  • Testing for real estate transactions requires a certified short term test that takes 48 hours. In Pennsylvania, only PA DEP Certified individuals are permitted to do these tests.
radon testing

Misconception: Radon mitigation is prohibitively expensive.

  • Reality: Radon mitigation systems, such as vent pipes and fans, can be installed to reduce radon levels. While initial installation costs may vary, the long-term benefits to health and property value outweigh the expenses. The cost of these systems can be between $800-$2000 depending on the size and configuration of your home. 

Misconception: If my neighbor’s home doesn’t have radon, mine won’t either.

  • Reality: Radon levels can vary significantly from one property to another, even within the same neighborhood. Factors such as soil composition, construction materials, and ventilation systems can all influence radon levels in a home.

Misconception: Radon testing is only necessary if you’re buying or selling a home.

  • Reality: While radon testing is often conducted during real estate transactions, it’s important for all homeowners to periodically test for radon, regardless of whether they plan to move. Radon levels can fluctuate over time, so regular testing ensures ongoing safety.
  • The PA Guide For Radon In Homes provides many tips and information that homeowners can review and follow.

Misconception: Radon is only a concern in basements.

  • Reality: Radon can enter homes through cracks in foundations, gaps around pipes, sump pumps, and other openings. While basements and crawl spaces are common entry points, radon can also accumulate in homes with slab on grade construction and in living spaces on higher floors.  There have been instances where high Radon levels were found in high rise buildings due to the building materials used.

Misconception: Radon is harmless at low levels.

  • Reality: There are many factors that contribute to anyone’s risk level, in fact you cannot completely insulate yourself from radon exposure as there is an outside back ground radon level of 0.3-0.5 pCi/l (picocuries) level outside depending on where you are located. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends taking action if radon levels exceed 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of air. Prolonged exposure to even low levels of radon can increase the risk of lung cancer, especially for smokers.

Inquire about home inspection services

Looking for a reliable home inspection service in Newtown Square, West Chester, Paoli, and nearby areas? Look no further than Batten to Beam! I conduct a thorough evaluation of specific areas such as foundations inspections, termites inspections, radon inspections, or sewer lateral inspections. Trust Batten to Beam for your home inspection needs

Empower Yourself with Knowledge, Protect Your Family’s Health

In Pennsylvania, misconceptions about radon and radon testing abound, leading to potentially dangerous oversights in home safety. By debunking these myths and understanding the facts, homeowners can take proactive measures to protect themselves and their families from the harmful effects of radon exposure. Educating oneself about radon and taking proactive measures to test and mitigate its presence are essential for safeguarding the health and well-being of occupants in Pennsylvania homes. Batten To Beam Inspections, LLC is certified in Pennsylvania to test your home for your real estate transaction. If you would like to discuss other testing or options, give us a call at (484) 573-7194 as there are methods you may do yourself once you are in your home, some better than others.

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