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Riding herd on radon

Whether your purchasing a home or living in it, it’s crucial that you check it for radon levels, and take appropriate actions if there are problems. A radioactive gas, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, according to the Surgeon General.

Colorless and odorless, radon can only be detected using the proper equipment. Radon can enter your home through many different avenues. Since the air pressure in your home is typically lower than the pressure underneath the foundation, your home acts like a vacuum drawing the gas inside. The most common way is through cracks in the foundation of the home, but another route for radon is through well water that enters your house while doing laundry or taking a shower. One radon hot spot is a half bath with granite countertops. This may look pleasing to the eye, but probably has high radon levels due to the size and amounts of granite within a small area.

Testing your home for radon is easy, and reducing the levels can be even easier in most instances. There are two types of tests that can be done. Short-term tests are usually done in 2 to 7 days, while long-term tests can take anywhere from 3 to 12 months to complete. A radon inspector will usually use a device called a charcoal canister. The radon in the air is adsorbed into the charcoal and then the charcoal can be tested in a laboratory.

The recommended levels for radon, according to the EPA, is under 4pCi/L; any levels greater should be addressed by the homeowner. This can be done by several different methods. The most common way is an active sub-slab depressurization system, also knows as a mitigation system. This will reroute the radon gas away from the soil surrounding your home by venting the gas beneath the foundation and sending it above the roof level. This method will usually cost the homeowner $1,500. If you are building a new home, this issue is usually taken care of during the construction process by laying a thick layer of plastic between the gravel and the concrete of the foundation.

If you have not already had your home tested, I highly recommend you have a test complete. Testing is the only way to find out about your home’s radon level. Even if you live in an apartment or condominium, if you are on the third floor or below, testing is recommended by the EPA. Keep this in mind, radon levels can always be fixed, but your health may not be!

For more information, call 773-407-8800, e-mail gzerillo@gatewayrealtors.net or visit http://www.zerillo.info.

About Giuseppe Zerillo

Giuseppe Zerillo is the managing broker and owner of Zerillo Realty Inc. He is active on many boards, serving as sergeant-at-arms for the village of Harwood Heights and corporate secretary for Casa Italia. In 2011, he received the IANU Foundation's 2011 David Award for outstanding promise in the field of real estate, and in 2012 he was honored by the Illinois State Crime Commission for his community outreach. Constantly seeking opportunities to give back, he donates to several charities and raises money for children with disabilities.

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