Reducing Radon Levels at Home:New and Existing Construction

Radon Mitigation and Preventative Construction

Radon-resistant new construction
Building a New Home? Consider radon-resistant new construction. New homes can be built to resist radon entry. The additional cost at the time of construction is minimal. When installed properly, the basic radon-resistant new construction techniques greatly reduce the lung cancer risk that may occur from radon in the home. When it comes time to sell your home, radon-resistant features can be an important selling point for health-conscious home-buyers. For additional information on radon-resistant new construction read EPA’s publication Building Radon Out.

Testing soil prior to building cannot predict what the radon levels will be once a home is completed. It is generally cheaper to install a radon reduction system during construction than to go back and fix a radon problem later. Installing radon-resistant features during construction typically costs about $350 to $500. In contrast, retrofitting an existing home can cost between $800 and $2,500. It is much easier and far less costly to prepare the subgrade and install pipe to improve soil gas flow before a foundation slab is cast.

A basic (passive) system can effectively reduce radon levels by 50%. Radon-resistant new construction incorporates techniques to seal soil gas entry points, prevent radon gas intrusion, and vent the radon outdoors. The techniques and materials needed to install a system are commonly used in construction. The features can also decrease moisture entering the home, reducing the risk for mold and other indoor air problems. If these features are already in the plans as a means of moisture control or energy efficiency, then the actual cost may be as low as $100 or less. Homes with a passive system can be upgraded to an active system with the installation of an in-line fan that can further reduce radon levels. After occupancy, all homes should be tested for radon, even those built with radon-resistant features.

How do I get my home fixed and who can do that type of work?
There are several ways to reduce or remove radon from a home. Generally, how your home was constructed will dictate the appropriate mitigation method.

Commercial companies can be hired to install one of the many types of radon mitigation systems, however TDEC recommends that a licensed mitigation company be used. Some examples are discussed in EPA’s Consumer Guide to Radon Reduction. Commercial companies that do radon work are not regulated by the state.

Two groups who train radon professionals are the National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) and the National Radon Safety Board (NRSB). Using these two external websites, you can locate a trained radon professional to measure or mitigate radon.

Be sure to check the type of certification the mitigator holds to ensure the company or person is appropriately credentialed to perform the job. It is advisable to check companies with your local Better Business Bureau (BBB) to better ensure they are reputable. It is also recommended that the homeowner obtain bids from several companies.

After a home radon mitigation system has been installed, follow-up radon testing should be conducted to ensure the system is working properly.