Do All Homes Have Radon?
Do all homes have radon??? A question we hear often…..The simple answer is “yes” – at least trace levels of radon will exist in every home. Of course there is always the fact that while radon (i.e. Radium) remains a heavy gas and will often settles in the lowest levels of our homes, we know that living spaces well above ground level, such as a high rise building, will not likely test elevated as it is several floors above ground level. We also know that there are certainly areas throughout the U.S.A that have a significant radon issue, while others not so much.
Any home can have a radon problem. That will mean an old home, new home, drafty home, well insulated home and homes with and without basements. If any part of your foundation is in direct contact with the soil, it has the potential of having elevated levels. Don’t fall prey to thinking if I don’t have a basement, or I don’t use my basement, that your home is exempt from having a radon problem.
We find that many residents of all communities often fall prey to thinking their home will not have elevated radon. The two most common thoughts behind this are: “I have a new home and it was built with a radon system in it already.” The other…..many simply state, “I’ve never had a radon problem before…..”
Let’s break those comments down further. “I have a new home….” In 2014, Illinois began requiring any new home starts to be built using Radon Resistant New Construction Code. It essentially states that with every new home start, the vent stack/suction point(s) will be constructed along with the home. Many refer to these systems as “passive” and/or skeletal. While this is true, it often lacks in sharing that the fact that the pipe isn’t doing anything!! It is basically making your home system ready should you choose to convert what you have to an “active” radon system, which in turn depressurizes under your soil and draws the gases into contained pipe, then releasing back into the atmosphere. If you really want to know for yourself….it is strongly suggested to test your home for radon – even the brand new ones!
The latter statement – “I’ve never had a problem before” comes from simply not truly knowing or understanding. Often when we inquire further, we learn that the reason there has never been a problem before is because no one ever tested their homes. Ignorance is bliss!! Never would that indicate that the home truly didn’t have a radon issue. The other explanation can be radon levels increase and decrease hourly, daily, my season, weather event, etc. Your home may or may not test elevated one time and give you very different data at another time. Or we hear, “well, it hasn’t killed me yet!!” We quietly remain silent to that comment.
In closing, all homes will have some level of detectable radon gas in them. It is estimated that the counties of DuPage, Will, Kane and Kendall currently have elevated radon levels in approximately one-half of the existing housing! With that said – test your home. Learn what your current radon level means to you and your family. The EPA recommends mitigation if your home is at a level of 2.0 pCi/l or higher – however there are statistics that can be provided at any level.
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