There are cracks in the foundation. Nothing structural. Nothing that will threaten the stability of the home, but they are there. Nooks, crannies and holes through which seeps an invisible threat. Colorless, odorless and undetectable by human senses, it is none the less the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and is estimated to cause about 22,000 deaths per year.
Radon gas - even the name sounds ominous for this product created when uranium in the ground decays. The gas seeps through any access point into a home. Common entry points are cracks in the foundation, poorly sealed pipes, seams around the floor, or any other loose point. Once in the home, the gas can collect, especially in lower, closed areas of the home and build up over time to dangerous levels. The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that homes with 4 pico curies per liter or higher be corrected to lower radon levels in the home.
Valley Home Inspections tests for radon levels in homes using Sun Nuclear state-of-the-art electronic monitors, operated according to EPA protocols. Tests typically last 48 to 72 hours; when the test is completed, we will e-mail the report to you indicating whether radon levels in the home were above or below 4 piC/L during the test period. Our devices are calibrated annually as required by the EPA and the National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP).
These continuous electronic monitors are far superior to the old-fashioned charcoal-canister tests. When a canister test indicates high radon levels, the best procedure is to re-test the house. This wastes time and money. With a continuous-monitor test, the results are reliable, and no re-testing is needed.
Radon has been found in homes in all 50 states, and the EPA recommends that all homes be tested. Certain geographic areas are more susceptible than others (http://www.epa.gov/radon/zonemap.html), however. All Alabama counties along the Tennesse state line and many middle Tennessee counties are in the EPA's Zone 1, or highest radon level areas.
The EPA's website is an excellent resource for learning about radon gas and it's effects. Make sure to read "A Citizen's Guide to Radon" and, if you are buying or selling a home, also see "Home Buyer's and Seller's Guide to Radon". The site includes information on proper testing and on mitigation that can eliminate radon as a health threat. For more information, visit the EPA web site on radon at http://www.epa.gov/radon.