What is Radon Testing?

First of all, what is radon?
Radon, an invisible, odorless gas, results from the breakdown of uranium within the earth. This radioactive gas works its way up through the ground and enters homes and offices. The concentration of radon in a home depends on the amount of uranium (producing the radon) in the underlying rocks and soils as well as the routes available for its passage into the home and the rate of exchange between indoor and outdoor air.

How do I know if there is radon in my home?
Simple…testing. Bear in mind - Every home has some level of radon!  

What does radon testing look like? 

The Cornerstone Inspection Group uses only continuous read monitors approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the purpose of short term testing (90 hours or less).  The minimum testing period approved by the EPA is 48 hours which is conducive to the due diligence period of a real estate contract.  The listing agent is made aware of the test request and should alert the homeowner of the conditions that must be met for a valid test.  The monitor is placed in the lowest habitable (or future habitable area - as an unfinished basement area) for at least 48 hours.  It must remain undisturbed, windows & doors closed, and unmoved for the duration of the test.  The results are downloaded into a written report which is emailed to the purchaser soon after the monitor is retrieved.

Is radon gas a problem for my family?
The U.S. Surgeon General has advocated for Americans to have their homes checked for radon. "Indoor radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and breathing it over prolonged periods can present a significant health risk to families all over the county," Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona said. The warning estimated that 20,000 Americans die of radon-related lung cancer annually.

How does it get into my home?
Radon gas enters houses through openings such as cracks at concrete floor-wall junctions, gaps in the floor, small pores in hollow-block walls, and also sumps and drains. Consequently, radon levels are usually higher in basements, cellars or other structural areas in contact with soil, and the radon concentrations in houses directly adjacent to each other can be very different. 

What can I do about excessive levels?
Radon exposure in homes can be easily mitigated during the construction of new homes, but existing buildings can also be protected from radon. Most measures such as increasing under-floor ventilation and sealing cracks and gaps in the floor require simple alterations to the building, but other approaches may have to be taken in areas with high radon concentrations.

 For additional information, please check out these common myths from Consumer Reports regarding radon gas.