Radon FAQs – Answers to Questions

Answers to Your Questions About Radon Gas, Health, System Installs and Testing

Radon gas is unfamiliar to most customers, Boulder Edge works with you from first contact through installation to reduce this health risk!

Radon FAQs

About Radon Gas:

What is radon gas?

Radon gas is a naturally occurring, odorless, invisible, and tasteless chemically inert radioactive gas. It is formed by the natural radioactive decay of uranium in rock, soil, and water. Typically it is at a higher concentration in basements or lower levels in homes and buildings, however the building HVAC configuration and temperature and pressure variations may cause exceptions to this rule.

How does radon get into my home or building?

Since air pressure inside homes is usually lower than the pressure in the soil, the higher pressure under a home or building traps radon and other gases under property as they rise from earth soil. Trapped radon gases rise through floors and walls, and rarely building materials themselves.

How can I tell if my home has radon gas?

It’s undetectable except by radon testing. There are two types of radon testing - Passive and Active radon testing devices. Passive devices require no power and are generally inexpensive test kits. Active devices (digital monitors) cost more, require power and generally proved continuous radon monitoring.

How often is indoor radon a problem?

Most people spend as much as 90% of their time indoors, thus the potential for indoor radon to be a problem is great. 1 out of every 15 homes has a radon level the EPA considers to be elevated (4.0 pCi/L or greater), but only approximately 10-15% of homes that should be tested have been tested.

Can new homes have high radon levels?

Elevated radon has been found in brand new homes and homes over 150 years old. Regardless of its age, foundation type, heating system, air tightness, or building materials, the only way to know the radon level is to conduct a test.

Your Health:

How does radon gas affect my body?

As a hidden killer, radon gas decays into radioactive particles that can get trapped by breathing in your lungs. These particles release small bursts of energy as they break down further over time. A person exposed to elevated levels of radon may or may not develop lung cancer, however the amount of time between exposure and the onset of the disease can be many years.

What has medical research found on the effects of radon gas exposure?

The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the first leading cause of lung cancer in the United States for those who do not smoke, and second leading cause for those who do smoke.

Can it affect my breathing?

Breathing radon does not cause any short-term health effects such as shortness of breath, coughing, headaches, or fever.

Does radon mitigation benefit my health and home?

Radon mitigation’s primary health benefit is reducing the risk of developing lung cancer. Certified radon mitigation system typically begins reducing radon levels within 48 hours of installation. As long as the radon fan is operating, homeowners reap the benefit for years. In addition, a radon system may lower humidity level in the basement of the home by reduced infiltration of moist soil air with the radon system.

Radon Mitigation Installation:

What is radon mitigation?

Radon mitigation is designed to reduce radon levels of the indoor air in a home or building. The industry standard is sub-slab depressurization. The system lowers the pressure under the foundation slab using a fan in line with dedicated piping that creates suction under the slab and exhausts it above and out the home.

Can sealing cracks, joints in slab openings reduce radon levels?

Sealing cracks or a sump pit cover has not proven to be very effective in reducing radon levels in a home. This is in part due to radon levels in the soil which build-up to a higher concentration when the openings are sealed. In this case less soil air comes in, but it comes in with a higher radon concentration. However, a necessary component of sub-slab radon mitigation systems are sealing cracks, joints and slab openings for it redirects radon gas through our pipes to expel and dissipate outside.

Are radon mitigation systems the same for every property?

Although radon systems are similar regarding components (radon fan, manometer gauge, PVC piping, etc.), there is not a "one-size-fits-all". Your property type, foundation design and initial radon gas measurement will affect which system layout is best for your home. Boulder Edge reviews each property for best options based on your home design.

How does radon mitigation work?

Current technology reduces radon gas in homes and buildings by redirecting radon gas through vented, and sealed piping that discharges outside to above roofline where it dissipates into the air. The radon fan is located in an attic or outside, operates 24/7/365 creating constant suction from under a basement concrete slab, crawlspace or slab-on-grade concrete slab. This sub-slab depressurization system results in healthier indoor air quality. Please visit our Certified Radon Mitigation page for details and diagrams.

What is the cost of radon mitigation?

The size and design of your home and other factors influence the cost to reduce radon gas. For our area of Virginia, typical full sub-slab depressurization installations are under $1,200. New homes may include pre-installed radon piping by builder which typically reduces the cost to under $900. For unique properties with crawlspaces, multiple slabs, unseen footings, extra suction holes, extra sealing, or other factors hindering radon reduction, the amount can be twice as much as the typical system ($2,400). Free property review via photos and/or site visit is the only way to know what your radon system will cost. Boulder Edge focuses on quality and value at a fair cost!

What is the post-installation radon mitigation cost or maintenance?

Maintenance is minimal for a typical radon system. The cost to operate the radon fan and replace indoor air that is drawn out of the house are your two energy costs. We use the most energy efficient radon fan that will effectively reduce the radon levels for your unique home or building. Our systems cost approximately $35-50/year to operate. Boulder Edge recommends testing after renovating or altering your home, if your living pattern changes where someone lives in basement, or every few years (cost depends on which test type you choose).

How do I know the radon system is working?

Boulder Edge installs a passive vinyl u-tube (manometer gauge) on system pipe above entry-point. The u-tube has one-side plugged into radon pipe and filled with colored oil. Suction created by radon fan is designed to be a constant draw. Fluid in tubing is a visual indicator showing system status. System is working properly when the side with tubing plugged into pipe is higher than the other side. If fluid shows both sides even, fan is off or not working. See manual to check fan.

If fluid is even, can homeowner check before calling for service?

Yes. Radon systems are affected by electrical surges and human error. In the course of home repairs or renovations, the switch to radon fan may be accidentally turned off, so check it first. Storms can cause electrical surges and spikes which may affect the fan. To release electrical surge, turn off for 3-5 minutes, then back on. If fan begins again, issue solved, BUT if fan does not turn on, please call Boulder Edge for service.

Why does the radon fan run continuously?

To prevent radon gas from reentering your home. If radon fan is turned off for even a few hours, radon levels will begin returning to pre-mitigation levels inside home. Additionally, if not running, the radon fan would decline in efficiency and quality due to ground moisture that enters the bearings and motor. Even if away on vacation, its best to keep the fan running. Fan uses the wattage of a light bulb.

Boulder Edge Mission

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We care for the health and well-being of you and your family. Boulder Edge is a local, veteran-owned and operated company, each customer is considered an extended family-member, and we take care of our own! We know you want quality AND value, so we focus on using the best materials, with friendly, knowledgeable technicians skilled with radon mitigation expertise.

As certified radon mitigators, we understand most customers are hearing about radon gas for the first-time, so we work with you from first contact through to completion of your radon mitigation system installation. Our process is designed so radon gas, a health risk is no longer your issue, but ours to reduce for you!

Our transferable warranty includes lifetime guarantee of radon reduction to less than 4.0 pCi/L for the life of the structure (with exclusions), and a 5-year warranty on components installed by Boulder Edge.

You have a choice of radon mitigation contractors. If lowest price is your primary focus, then we may not have what you are looking for. We use quality materials for a long-lasting radon mitigation system, so our proposals will not start low with add-ons of components or material upgrades. We are not always the least expensive, but we believe we have the strongest warranty and use the best materials and expert technicians.

The Boulder Edge team follows all guidelines set forth by the EPA Radon Mitigation Standards and comply with applicable NEC and State of Virginia building codes. Technicians are certified by National Radon Safety Board (NRSB). BEI customarily implements Radon Mitigation Standards (RMS), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards which includes Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as an essential safety component of our service.

Due to Covid-19 Pandemic, our PPE safety measures added social-distancing upon arrival and through installation process inside and outside a home.

You deserve the best, so contact Boulder Edge, a leader in
Radon Mitigation with over 25 years’ experience as an Environmental Specialist!