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High radon levels? What’s next

You’ve probably heard that one in three homes in Utah has elevated levels of radon, and that radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers. And since you care about your family’s health and safety, you’ve tested your home — and your results came in above the EPA action level of 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). What now?

Learning that you have elevated radon levels in your home can be upsetting, but fixing the problem is easier and less expensive than you may think. Not sure where to start? We can help. We’ve put together the list below to walk you through the mitigation process.

Getting a radon reduction system installed

  1. Get three bids from certified contractors
    You can find a list of certified radon mitigators through the National Radon Proficiency Program. If you get at least three bids, you will have a good idea of the general price range of reduction services.
  2. Hire a certified contractor
    Certified mitigators have the technical knowledge to reduce radon levels in your home safely and effectively, so it’s critical that you hire a trained contractor who is certified in radon reduction.
  3. Weigh your cost and process options
    Your contractor will usually recommend an active reduction system either inside or outside of your home. Since every home is different, one option may work better for you than the other. The cost should be around $2,000. Mitigators will drill a five-inch circular hole in the foundation of your house and use four-inch PVC piping and an exhaust fan located outside your house or in an attic space to pull the radon gas from the soil underneath the foundation. The gas is then released into the air away from your home and is no longer toxic. You can watch the video below to see what a system may look like.
  4. Get a signed contract
    The mitigator should sign a contract that they will get the radon levels at or below 4 pCi/L. If they have not included a guaranteed radon level, ask that it is included. While some homes are difficult to mitigate below 4 pCi/L, most homes can be reduced to 2 pCi/L or below.
  5. Test your home after the system is installed
    The contractor will give you a radon test kit to check the radon levels in your home after the mitigation system has been running for 24 hours. Certified mitigators guarantee their work, so they will return to your home and make adjustments to your system if the levels don’t fall below their specified threshold.
  6. Check your system regularly after installation
    You can tell if your radon reduction system is working properly by checking the manometer installed by the contractor. The manometer measures the vacuum pressure inside the radon system, letting you know if the system is on and the fan is working. We recommend that you test your home every two years, even with a reduction system to make sure that it is still functioning properly.

Ongoing costs & financial assistance

Your ongoing costs will be relatively minimal after installation.You’ll pay about $8 to $10 per month on your utility bill, and you will need to replace the fan after about 15 years.

Not sure if you can afford a reduction system? If you or a family member needs financial assistance and you live in Salt Lake County, Green and Healthy Homes has funding available to help qualifying families pay for the costs of mitigation.

WATCH: How a reduction system works and gets installed

Questions?

Eleanor Divver (edivver@utah.gov), Radon Coordinator: (801) 536-0091

Request a radon presentation


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