RADON FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions


Radon Gas Warning
  1. How do I know if I have elevated radon levels in my house?

      Testing for radon gas levels is a very simple procedure.  It is very important to secure a Certified Radon Measurement Provider to perform the test and provide proper analysis.

  2. Why can't I just go buy a radon testing kit from my local hardware store?

      You can certainly do this and many homeowners do. Be alert, however, to the fact that there is no way of knowing how long those test kits have been sitting on the shelf and it is important to make sure you perform the test accurately. The kit must be returned to the lab in a timely fashion to have proper results. We recommend if you choose to test your home's radon levels yourself, to acquire a passive test kit from an EPA approved radon measurement laboratory such as Accustar labs.

  3. What's all the hoopla about radon these days? Hasn't it always existed?

      Yes, radon gas is the natural breakdown of uranium is soil and has been in existence since the beginning of time. The hoopla or attention to radon is a result of many years of research as to the radioactivity of the gas, accumulated concentrations in homes, schools and hospitals in addition to the discovery that high concentrations of radon can cause lung cancer. This was discovered initially in miners, which led to studies in the Canada, USA, China, Europe and Australia. These studies determined the ratio of exposure time to lung disease had a direct correlation.

      Radon delineation

  4. How expensive is radon testing?

      Radon testing in a residential home with Radon Testing in MA and Highland Home Inspections, Inc. is $95/Charcoal Liquid Scintillation Devices and $195/Continuous Radon Monitoring Machine.

  5. How long does testing take?

      The test for both takes 48-60 hours depending on whether the property has been closed for 12 hours prior to testing. Closed house conditions must be in place for a valid sample to be collected. If closed house conditions have not been met prior to the test, we tack the 12 hours on the end. The purpose for this time period is to allow for proper acclimation of the internal environment.

  6. Do I have to be home?

      No, but we do need access to the property to set the test, instruct homeowner if the property is occupied, make sure all parameters are in place for an accurate test and for pickup.

  7. How can I learn more about radon and its effects?

      Please review our website thoroughly, then follow the links and you should be able to find all the information you need to be a fully informed consumer. If you have further questions, please don't hesitate to call or email us for further information.

  8. Do I have to be buying a house to have a radon test done?
      Absolutely not.

      A. If you have never tested for radon and have lived in your property for many years, it is recommended you test immediately.

      B. If you have lived in your home for several years, had it tested when you first moved in and levels were within EPA guidelines but you have done renovations, made changes to the heating/ventilation/air-conditioning systems since then, retest again as this may affect radon concentrations.

      C. If your levels are high, mitigation is your next step. Your radon mitigation professional will recommend an impartial re-test between 24 hours post mitigation installation and before 30 days post mitigation.

  9. If I smoke, am I at a higher risk for lung cancer if I have high radon levels?

      Yes, you are at a significantly higher risk if you smoke. As noted in the EPA Home Buyer's and Seller's Guide to Radon on page 18, it is noted that smokers have a 9 times greater chance of developing lung cancer than a non-smoker. Smoking in combination with radon exposure is a potentially very serious health risk and increases your risk of lung cancer.

      A. At 4pCi/L, 7 non-smokers out of 1000 people exposed to a lifetime of radon at this level are at risk for developing lung cancer.

      B. At 4pCi/L, 62 smokers out of 1000 people exposed to a lifetime of radon at this level are at risk for developing lung cancer.



  10. If I am buying a property and the test site has been tampered with such as opening a window, how does that affect my radon test?

      The property or unit must remain closed for 12 hours prior to test and during the test other than quick opening and closing of the doors. Windows must remain closed as dilution of the radon may occur but there is also evidence that opening of windows during the test can actually increase radon levels due to the change in pressure in the house drawing more radon in.

      The air pressure inside your home is usually lower than pressure outside your home and in the soil around your home's foundation. The difference between lower inside vs. higher outside pressure can cause your home to act like a vacuum, drawing radon in through foundation cracks and other openings.



  11. If I know someone who has been diagnosed with lung cancer and has never smoked, been exposed to second hand smoke or environmental hazards, could the lung cancer be related to radon?

      The only way to know for sure is to test for radon in that persons home and if high levels of radon have been detected, mitigation is recommended.

  12. Should I buy a house that tests high for radon?

      We can't tell you whether you should or should not buy a house, but we can offer you the appropriate information to make an intelligent decision in your own best interest. When purchasing a home that fits your criteria, various issues may come to the surface that you may not have anticipated, particularly during a home inspection; elevated radon levels may be one of them.

      Radon mitigation is an effective solution to remediating elevated radon gas levels in a home. Radon reduction systems can be designed and installed to reduce radon gas exposure in the home to levels below what is deemed safe by the EPA standards for a reasonable fee. An average fee in Massachusetts is $1000 to $1500 for system design and installation. We can offer you names of licensed, NRPP certified radon mitigators that we recommend. You can find additional radon mitigators on www.nrpp.info.