Helena Great Falls Butte
What is Radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas. It is has no color, odor, or taste. Unless you test for it, there is no way of telling how much is present.
Is there Radon in Montana?
Yes radon can be found in Montana. The geology of an area typically determines the concentrations of radon found.
How do I test for radon?
Call us and we will perform a 48hr short term test with a continuous radon monitor and send you the results right away.
You can also test your own home by purchasing a radon testing kit at the local hardware store. You will have to send in the test kit to a lab to get your results.
What should I be aware of during a radon test?
Maintain “closed-house conditions” for at least 12 hours before the beginning of the test and during the entire test period.
Do Not disturb test device.
If a radon-reduction system is already in place, make sure the system is working properly.
What is “closed house conditions”?
Keep all windows closed, keep exterior doors closed except for normal entry and exit, and not operating fans or other machines which will bring in air from outside. Fans that are part of a radon-reduction system or small exhaust fans operating for only short periods of time may run during the test.
How often should I have my home tested?
Three areas that can affect the radon levels:
- Seasonal Change – winter months will generally result higher radon levels due to windows being closed and spending more time indoors. If your home was tested in the summer months, you may want to test during the winter season.
- Home Change – Finishing the basement, Remodel, or an Addition
- Living pattern changes – Using your basement more often
We recommend testing if there is a change that has occurred, and then test every couple years.
Should I test my new home even if it has a passive system installed?
Yes, every new home should be tested for radon within the first year even if it has radon-resistant features. You can call us to perform a test or do it yourself and send the test kit to a lab.
My radon levels were above the EPA recommended 4.0 pCi/L, What do I do now?
Give us a call and we will give you a free estimate on a radon reduction system and answer any other questions that you may have.
There are many factors that contribute to a radon mitigation system including – radon levels, foundation type, size of house, style of house, roof covering, siding, accessibility, etc.
We are trained and certified specifically for designing and implementing radon reduction systems in our area. We have successfully done hundreds of systems, and look forward to reducing the radon levels in your home.
Why is 4 pCi/L the recommended action level for radon?
The EPA recommended this mitigation action level in 1986 for several reasons. First, at lower levels (2 pCi/L) false negative errors increase threefold, and false positive errors increase twofold. Secondly, research indicates that, 95 percent of the time, elevated levels can be reduced to 4 pCi/L and that 2 pCi/L can be achieved 70 percent of the time. Further, today’s mitigation technology can reduce radon levels to between 2 and 4 pCi/L most of the time.
What health effects are associated with radon exposures?
Radon is identified as the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Currently, no conclusive data exist on whether children are at greater risk than adults from radon. No specific subtype of lung cancer is associated with radon exposure
Only smoking causes more cases of lung cancer. If you smoke and are exposed to elevated radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.
Radon gas decays into radioactive particles that can get trapped in your lungs when you breathe. As they break down, these particles release small bursts of energy that can damage lung tissue and lead to cancer over the course of your lifetime. Not everyone exposed to elevated levels of radon will develop lung cancer, and the amount of time between exposure and the onset of the disease may be many years.
Breathing radon does not cause any short-term health effects such as shortness of breath, coughing, headaches, or fever.
Do radon levels increase with the age of a home?
No, elevated radon has been found in brand new homes and homes over 150 years old. The only way to know the radon level in any home, regardless of its age, foundation type, heating system, air tightness, or building materials, is to conduct a test.
Does a vacant house have higher radon levels?
No, the half life of radon is 4 days. Radon does not build up to higher levels the longer a home is vacant.
How does radon get into my house?
Radon is typically drawn into a house from the soil directly under the home because the lower level of the house is negative in pressure as compared to the soil. The negative pressure is mostly caused by the air in the home being warmer than the outside and escaping out the top of the house. Many air-handling systems in homes also induce a negative pressure in the lowest level. This negative pressure draws radon laden soil gas into the house via cracks and openings in the lower level concrete slab or from a dirt floor crawl space.
Can radon be reduced by sealing cracks and slab openings?
Reducing the radon levels in a home by sealing cracks or a sump pit has not proven to be very effective. This is partially due to the radon levels in the soil building up to a higher concentration when the openings are sealed so that less soil air comes in but it comes in with a higher radon concentration. Sealing is still a necessary component of sub-slab depressurization radon mitigation systems.
How does a radon mitigation system work?
The most common radon system is a sub-slab depressurization system. A fan, located in an attic or outside the building, is used to draw air out from under a basement, crawl space or slab on grade concrete slab. If done properly, the entire area directly below the slab becomes negative in pressure as compared to the air above the slab. This causes the normal airflow out of the soil to reverse and flow into the soil, which effectively stops all infiltration of radon laden soil gas. The sub-slab depressurization system needs to create this sub-slab negative pressure under all slabs that are contributing a significant amount of radon into the building.
Does the radon system have to be vented above the roof line?
Yes, active soil depressurization (ASD) must be vented above the roof line because the radon levels in the exhaust are often thousands of pCi/L.
Where can I put the fan?
The fan has to be located outside, house attic, garage attic, or garage that has no living space above.
How big are the radon vent pipes that you use?
We use 4″ inside diameter PVC piping. 4″ pipe can easily move 150 cfm of air and is quieter than the less expensive 3″ pipe that can only move 80cfm of air. 4″ pipe also allows a margin of safety if more air needs to be moved through the system.
Do the radon fans have to run continuously?
Yes, if you turn a radon fan off, the radon levels will return to the pre-mitigation levels within a few hours. In addition, ground moisture will begin to enter the bearings and motor, causing a pre-mature failure of the fan so it is best to keep the fan running even if you go on an extended vacation.
How do I know the radon system is working?
Each system is installed with a u-tube monitor installed on the system piping. One side of the u-tube has a vinyl tube plugged into the radon pipe. The suction created by the radon fan draws the oil up the side of the tube connected to the radon pipe. The difference in height between the two oil levels indicates the actual suction in the pipe induced by the fan in units of inches of water column. If the two oil columns are level, the fan is off or not working and needs to be turned on or serviced.
How is radon mitigation handled if I’m buying or selling a home?
Normally the buyer is responsible for having the home tested for radon. If the levels are above the guideline either the buyer or the seller is responsible for getting a radon estimate. Typically the seller pays for the radon mitigation. Sometimes the agreement of sale specifies the seller is responsible for a partial amount of the cost. After the system is installed, the seller is often responsible for paying for the post mitigation radon test unless it is defined differently in the agreement of sale.
Does a radon system reduce basement humidity or mold?
A sizable percentage of the humidity in a basement is from soil gas infiltration. A sub-slab depressurization system stops not only radon but also moist soil gas entry. Customers often report that their de-humidifier in the basement runs less and the basement smells less moldy.
How low will radon levels be after installing a radon system?
Every home is different. The existing radon levels, soil conditions, size of house, foundation type, under slab communication & the fan are the main contributors to getting the radon levels below 4.0 pCi/L.
85% of our post mitigation test results are less than 2.0 pCi/l. The remaining systems are between 2.0 and 3.9 pCi/l.
Call Today For A Free Estimate: (406) 439-2530
Certified Radon Mitigation, located in Helena, Montana 59601
Owner/Technician: Jake Connor