Radon gas is a scary and dangerous substance. It has no smell, taste or color but is extremely carcinogenic. Both the Office of the United States Surgeon General and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have reported that it is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Only smoking tobacco products causes more cases of lung cancer. They have estimated that at least 21,000 people die each year from lung cancer that has been caused by exposure to the naturally occurring gas. This is why radon testing is so important for many people throughout the country.
To understand how important it is to know the status of radon gas in your home, it is important to know what it is, where it comes from and how it gets into your home. As uranium decomposes, it releases a number of radioactive substances, radon gas is one of them. Many people assume uranium is only found in certain parts of the planet but it is all around us. It, and the radon it produces, can be found in places such as soil, water and rocks.
Radon gas gets into homes from cracks in the foundation, gaps around any pipes (water pipes, gas pipes) that go into a home. It can also come in through a sump pump in the basement. The EPA tested homes in seven different states and on three Native American reservations, they found higher than healthy levels of the gas in one in three homes. There is no state in the country that has not experienced some problems with radon gas.
If you has discovered, through using a residential radon testing services company, that you have elevated radon levels, there are some things you can do to get the right radon mitigation and abatement service:
- Do not use the same company to do your radon testing and mitigation. After you have gone through the process to remove the radon gas from your home, you are going to have to have someone come back in and repeat the radon testing. If you use the same company for both tasks, there will be a conflict of interest. They may overstate their efficacy in ridding your home of radon gas when they test a second time. You will get more impartial results if you go with different companies for both.
- Talk to other homeowners you know. Talk to the people in your area who you know and trust. One of the best ways to get a decent product or service is to get a personal recommendation from someone you trust. In a perfect case, you will get the same recommendation from more than one person. Given the prevalence of radon gas around the country, the chances are good that you know someone who has had to have the substance removed from their home.
- Talk to the government. The EPA keeps lists of qualified and certified radon testing and mitigation companies. Your state’s department of health may also be able to help you find good companies in your area that can help you with radon testing and mitigation. When you are researching companies, ask what licenses and certification is required by your state.
- Get at least three estimates. You need to check around for the best price. You should get all the estimates and quotes in writing. This makes it easier to compare the quotes that you get but also will help you prevent getting any surprises when you get your final bill for the radon mitigation services that you need. You should take care to not only pick a company based on the price tag. The cheapest contractor may not do the best job and you may end up having to spend more when you have to have the job redone. By the same token, if you go with the most expensive service, you may not be getting the best service. This is another reason to talk to the people you know to get a sense of what these services cost in your area.
It can be scary when radon testing has revealed elevated levels of the substance. The right radon gas mitigation service can make your home safe.