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Portland Radon Testing FAQs
Got questions? Check our frequently asked questions below. And if you have any follow-up questions or clarifications, do not hesitate to call our team.
WHAT IS RADON?
Radon – the chemical element with the symbol Rn and atomic number 86 – is a by-product of uranium, thorium, or radium which breaks down in soil, rock, and water. It is a tasteless, colorless and odorless, naturally-occurring radioactive gas that is present in the atmosphere at trace amounts. So generally, it is not a health risk, just a pervasive indoor air pollutant. However, various studies have shown how Radon, when trapped in a home or building, doesn’t disperse rapidly as it should. Thus, it saturates indoor space which could then be dangerous, raising a widespread alarm for public health. You see, Radon when inhaled, can emit radiation to the body’s living cells which is definitely cancerous. This is the reason why Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States after smoking.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF RADON EXPOSURE?
Since Radon is undetectable to human senses (we cannot see, taste or smell it), you wouldn’t know whether or not you are exposed. Even worse, it does not cause the same harmful, obvious symptoms as other radioactive substances. In fact, it may even take a long time before any health problems or lung cancer symptoms would appear. And this is not something we can be complacent about. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Radon causes up to 15% of lung cancers worldwide, which is quite an alarming percentage. This shows how exposure to this radioactive gas can be fatal. Thus, arise the need for radon testing Portland OR and mitigation. It’s better to be sure, than risk you and your family’s well-being.
WHAT IS THE AVERAGE RADON LEVEL IN HOMES?
The average indoor radon level is estimated to be about 1.3 pCi/L, while about 0.4 pCi/L of radon is normally found in the outside air. Although this level indoor is considered acceptable, it still imposes a risk to everyone, especially to smokers, and second-hand smokers. Whether or not you are exposed to smokers, United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends to:
- Test your home for radon— radon testing Portland Oregon is easy, inexpensive and definitely worth it.
- Radon levels less than 4 pCi/L still pose a risk, and in many cases may be reduced – it is suggested to work with ventilation and sealing cracks to reduce levels. However, if levels are maintained for more than 3 months, it is best to contact a professional radon mitigator.
- Fix your home if your radon level is 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher – this is quite a high level already, imposing greater risk. Thus, if levels are maintained for more than a month, it is advised to contact a professional radon mitigator as soon as possible.
ARE RADON LEVELS HIGHER IN SUMMER OR WINTER?
Yes, generally radon levels are higher in the winter due to many possible reasons. One of these is during winter, the air in your home tends to be much warmer than the outside air. This difference in the temperature creates a vacuum within your home. The warm air circulates around the house, starting from the ground level, up. This then generates the vacuum pull of radon gas into the home. Another premise indicates that when snow and ice cover the ground outside, it creates a barrier that the radon can’t pass through. However, the exposed dirt in a non encapsulated crawl space has no such impediment to the gas, and as a result, more of it will be coming up through the earth beneath your home, creating a higher radon level when tested. Closed house conditions doesn’t necessarily close out Radon, does it? Makes sense, right?
WHEN IS A RADON TEST NECESSARY?
We don’t intend to be mean with this statement, but yeah, as long as we are breathing, a radon test is necessary. Radon gas is everywhere, even in the air outside. But since it is vast and open outside, radon levels stay relatively low. An enclosed space like our house or business building is another story though. The walls, the glass, the roof — they trap the radon and cause it to build up. Exposure to high levels of radon can be dangerous over extended periods of time. And with Oregon’s average Radon Level of 3.1 pCi/L, one can immediately see the need for a Radon test. Not to mention how buying or selling a house necessitates the test. Anyways, whether your radon level is high or low, we know you’d agree with us that nothing can really pay off getting your peace of mind back. And if your home or commercial space has radon, do not worry! Radon Mitigation Portland has effective ways to mitigate the dilemma, and put your mind at ease!
HOW DOES RADON ENTER A HOUSE?
Since air pressure inside your home or building is usually lower than pressure in the soil around your foundation, your structure acts like a vacuum, drawing radon in through foundation cracks and other openings. Radon also may be present in well water and can be released into the air in your home when water is used for showering and other household uses. In most cases, radon entering the home through water is a small risk compared with radon entering your home from the soil.
HOW DOES RADON TESTING WORK?
Radon tests work by detecting either radon gas directly or the by-products of radon’s radioactive decay. There are two categories of radon test devices, passive and active. Passive devices require no electrical power and generally trap radon or its daughter products for later analysis by a laboratory. Passive devices include charcoal canisters, charcoal liquid scintillation detectors, alpha track detectors and electret ion detectors. In contrast to passive devices, active devices need electrical power and include continuous monitoring devices (continuous radon monitors, continuous working level monitors). Active devices detect and record radon or its by-products continuously. They are generally more expensive and require professionally trained testers for their operation. When in doubt, contact radon testing Portland for results and services you can trust.