Radon is an invisible, odorless gas that comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. It can enter homes and buildings through cracks and openings in foundations and build up to dangerous levels inside. Prolonged exposure to high radon levels can increase your risk of developing lung cancer. The EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes for radon.
Why Get a Radon Inspection in Gaithersburg?
Gaithersburg, MD and the surrounding areas have a moderate potential for elevated indoor radon levels. According to the EPA, around 40% of homes in Montgomery County have radon above the recommended action level. The only way to know if your home has high radon levels is to test for it.
Health Risks of Radon Exposure
Lung Cancer Risk
Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. The EPA estimates that radon causes over 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the U.S. The chances of getting lung cancer from radon depend on:
- The levels of radon in your home
- The amount of time you spend in your home
- Whether you are a smoker or have ever smoked
Smoking combined with radon exposure can be especially dangerous as the risk is much higher for smokers when exposed to radon.
Other Potential Risks
In addition to lung cancer, there is some evidence linking radon exposure to other types of cancer such as leukemia, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, and childhood brain tumors. More research is needed, but reducing radon levels can help lower these potential risks.
When Should You Test for Radon?
The EPA and Surgeon General recommend testing all homes for radon regardless of location or foundation type. You should test your Gaithersburg home for radon:
When Moving Into a New Home
It is important to test radon levels before or right after moving into a new home. Even newly built homes can have dangerous radon levels. Finding and fixing problems early can help prevent exposure over time.
Every 2 Years
Radon levels can vary over time, so it is important to retest your home every 2 years or after major renovations. This includes additions, finishing basements, or installing HVAC systems which can alter air pressure and ground contact.
After Earthquakes or Extreme Weather
Natural events like earthquakes, storms, flooding, etc. can shift foundations and cause changes in radon levels. Retest after any significant natural event or change.
Who is at Risk for Radon Exposure?
While the EPA recommends all homes get tested, certain homes, locations and residents have a higher risk for exposure:
Home Foundation & Location
- Homes with basements, crawlspaces, or direct soil contact
- Cracks or openings in foundations and floors
- Homes in certain geographic regions or geology
Resident Risk Factors
- Children: Early exposure means greater lung cancer risk later
- Smokers: Combined risk with smoking is very high
- Realtors, home inspectors, contractors: Frequent exposure in different sites
Even if your home doesn’t have these risk factors, testing is still recommended as any home can have elevated levels.
Benefits of Getting a Radon Inspection
Getting a professional radon test during a home inspection or periodically after moving in has several advantages:
Peace of Mind
Knowing your home’s radon levels and fixing problems gives you peace of mind that your family is safe from this health hazard.
Identify & Repair Issues
A detailed radon inspection in Gaithersburg MD helps identify where radon might be entering from and how to seal cracks and ventilation issues.
Increase Home Value
Upgrading and mitigating radon issues makes your home safer and can increase resale value.
The Surgeon General has warned that indoor radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Testing and lowering high radon levels saves lives.
What to Expect During a Radon Inspection
A professional radon test is easy, quick, and non-invasive. Here is what you can expect:
Inspector Deploys Monitor
A small air monitoring device is placed in the lowest lived-in level of the home to measure radon accumulation for 48-96 hours.
Sealed Testing Conditions
All homeowner involvement during testing is prohibited to prevent false readings. Windows and exterior doors must remain closed except for normal entry/exit.
Detailed Inspection Report
After sufficient data is collected, the monitor is retrieved and analyzed. A full radon inspection report details radon levels and if mitigation is recommended.
If elevated levels are found, the inspector may also conduct further assessments to determine radon entry points and scope out mitigation strategies.
Radon Mitigation Solutions
There are several effective methods for lowering radon in your home if high levels are found:
Sealing Cracks and Entry Points
Caulking and sealing foundation cracks and openings is often one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to reduce radon. Proper sealing and ventilation can reduce levels significantly.
Active Soil Depressurization (ASD)
This is the most common professional mitigation method installed. Pipes and fans actively draw gas from under the home foundation and vent it above the roofline away from home air intake systems.
Uses an air moving system to increase internal air pressure. This pressure differential helps prevent radon and soil gases from being drawn into the building.
Radon water filtration systems can remove radon dissolved in well water during bathing, cleaning, drinking, etc. Often used alongside air mitigation methods.
A radon professional can recommend the right approach based on inspection findings, home specifics, and radon reduction goals. Ongoing radon monitoring helps ensure mitigation effectiveness.
Radon gas is a very real health hazard for homeowners in Gaithersburg, MD due to the geography of the region. All homes are at risk for dangerous radon accumulation. The only way to protect your family from exposure is getting a professional radon inspection. Testing allows you to identify issues early and take steps to actively mitigate radon in your home environment. Reaching out to a certified radon inspector is simple, affordable, and offers valuable peace of mind about this radioactive gas invisible threat. Don’t wait to test and start breathing easier in your home today.