Radon Gas Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I test my home for radon?
Answer: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gives recommendations regarding the testing of your home. The U.S. EPA’s publication “A Citizen’s Guide to Radon: The Guide to Protecting Yourself and Your Family From Radon” also provides valuable information.
Some ways to acquire a test kit are from a merchant on-line, from a local home improvement store, or through the National Radon Program Services at Kansas State University. NRPS is funded by the U.S. EPA under a cooperative agreement.
There are two non-federal (privately run), national radon certification programs who certify individuals/companies in radon measurement, radon mitigation, and the analysis of radon in laboratories, provided certain requirements are met. See the Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists – National Radon Proficiency Program and the National Radon Safety Board websites for more information. The Arkansas Department of Health does not certify, license, or register radon professionals or laboratories.
Nationally certified radon measurement professionals must follow approved Standards of Practice concerning the measurement of radon and radon decay products. AARST-NRPP and NRSB-approved standards can be purchased from the Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists book store or from the American National Standards Institute store. See the ANSI/AARST standards webpage where these standards can be viewed at no cost.
Q: If I decide to mitigate my home, whom should I get to perform the work? Do I need to retest after the work is completed?
Answer: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction: How to Fix Your Home” recommends getting estimates and references as with any other home repairs. The U.S. EPA recommends that you use a certified or qualified radon mitigation contractor trained to fix radon problems.
Nationally certified radon mitigation professionals must follow approved Standards of Practice concerning the mitigation of radon. AARST-NRPP and NRSB-approved standards can be purchased from the Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists book store or from the American National Standards Institute store. See the ANSI/AARST standards webpage where these standards can be viewed at no cost.
Once the mitigation work is completed, radon testing must be conducted again.
Q: I’m in the process of buying a home. What should I know about radon testing?
Answer: See U.S. EPA publication “Home Buyer’s and Seller’s Guide to Radon.”
Q: How do I build a “radon-resistant” home? Would my home still need to be tested once built?
For more explanation on radon-resistant construction techniques, refer to U.S. EPA publication “Building Radon Out: A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Build Radon-Resistant Homes.”
Every new home should be tested after occupancy, even if it was built radon-resistant.
Q: I am a general contractor and would like information on training courses available for the measurement and mitigation of radon. Where can I find information about this?
Answer: Information regarding on-line and in-person training courses is provided by our EPA Regional Training Center Partner, Kansas State University. This site lists all of the Regional Radon Training Center activities.
Training information may also be found on the websites of the two national certification programs that certify professionals to perform measurement and/or mitigation of radon. The programs are the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists – National Radon Proficiency Program and the National Radon Safety Board.
The Arkansas Department of Health does not certify, license, or register individuals to perform radon testing or radon mitigation.
Q: How do I get more information about radon?
Answer: The U.S. EPA provides various publications regarding radon.
The Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors and the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists have partnered with the U.S. EPA in the Radon Leaders Saving Lives Campaign. See these sites for additional information.
Also, the U.S. EPA offers Frequent Questions on radon.
Q: What conditions do I need to specify regarding testing prior to a home purchase?
Answer: The Department recommends specifying the following items:
- Who will perform the test
- Type of test: short-term, long-term, and/or continuous monitor
- Test location: lowest livable level
- When the test will be done
- How results will be shared between parties
- Who will pay for the testing
- How the results will be used
- At what radon level will mitigation be required and who will pay for it
Q: What are some of the key questions to ask a mitigation contractor?
Answer: When discussing your needs with a mitigation contractor, see the following important questions to ask.
- Will the contractor perform diagnostics to determine the suction point location and correct pipe and fan sizes?
- Who is responsible for obtaining permits, if required?
- Will a contract be provided?
- Who will do the licensed electrical work?
- Is there a warranty on materials or the workmanship? If so, for how long? Do they warranty system performance?
- How will the system be evaluated?
- What nationally recognized standard is being followed in performing the mitigation work?
- Will the contractor offer the homeowner training in the radon mitigation system operations and/or troubleshooting?
- Will the contractor guarantee that radon levels will be brought below the EPA recommended action level of 4.0 pCi/L?
- What will the contractor do if post mitigation radon levels are not below the recommended action level?
- Can the contractor provide a list of references?
- Is the quoted price guaranteed?
Q: What does the radon mitigation process entail?
Answer: There are ten general steps in the radon mitigation process.
- Homeowner’s radon test reveals the home has a radon problem.
- Homeowner contacts nationally certified mitigators to request bids.
- Contractor does a walk-through of the home to identify problems then outlines the mitigation system they recommend.
- Homeowner reviews key questions with each contractor, requesting a proposal, bid, and references.
- Homeowner evaluates and compares contractor recommendations, bids, and contracts, selecting the contractor and scheduling the work.
- Contractor may perform diagnostic testing to ensure proper size and installation methods are applied.
- Contractor seals required areas, e.g., large cracks, crawl spaces, sumps, etc.
- Contractor installs the mitigation system, i.e., suction pit or ventilation, pipe routing, etc.
- Contractor provides full explanation of system’s operation to homeowner.
- Homeowner or contractor tests the home to ensure system is reducing radon to the desired level.