Radon is a naturally occurring gas that is harmful to human health. In fact, it’s the No. 1 cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. A National Research Council report says radon causes 15,000 cancer deaths per year.
Radon is odorless and colorless, so the effects of this radioactive gas are particularly insidious.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection explains that radon is created in the earth when uranium breaks down. Since radon is a gas, it can then seep out of the earth and into buildings. Uranium — and therefore radium and radon — can be found in different concentrations in different areas, so not all homes are at risk for elevated radon levels.
Levels greater than 2 pCi/l are considered unhealthy. The only way to know if radon is a problem in a particular building is to perform a test.
Free ICA Radon Inspection Course
The ICA School is proud to offer a radon inspection course free with home inspection training. The course teaches you not only how to test for the presence of radon, but it also prepares you to educate homeowners and business owners on what they can do if the results show elevated levels of radon in their indoor air.
This Old House says homeowners should never try to solve the problem themselves if they find they have unhealthy radon gas levels. Their efforts could make the problem even worse. They should always be advised to contact a mitigation specialist in their area.
These specialists will install piping for ventilation so that the gas moves safely from the earth to the outside without collecting in the home. National Radon Program Services at Kansas State University estimate the average cost of radon remediation at about $1,200 nationwide.
New buildings can be constructed in such a way as to limit the risk of radon entering and building up in the home. This is typically done by laying down several inches of gravel and covering it with heavy plastic before installing the foundation. This prevents gases from the earth from leaking into a home.
After a home is already built, homeowners can attempt to keep gases out by caulking and sealing cracks and any areas that aren’t airtight. This won’t work nearly as well as a mitigation system, however, and homeowners should be advised of this.
Instruct clients to test again after the work is done to be sure the problem has been resolved. If the radon levels are acceptable, remind homeowners to test every few years to make sure they stay that way.
Adding Radon Testing to Your Service Offerings
If you already have your home inspection training certificate, you can take ICA’s radon inspection course separately for only $100. Once you complete this course — which you can do on your own time and at your own pace — you will be equipped to perform radon tests in homes and in commercial buildings.
This test is frequently offered as an add-on to a home inspection. While it’s true that homeowners can buy their own test kits in a hardware store, they must collect the results themselves, ship the kit off to a lab, and wait for results.
The types of tests you as a home inspector perform provides results after two days.
According to Homeadvisor.com, the average cost of a radon test is $486, but how much you can charge will depend on the economy in your area.
If you are interested in learning how to perform radon gas testing for your clients, sign up for our radon inspection course today.