Radon is a colorless, odorless gas prevalent in many homes in North Georgia and has been linked to several cases of lung cancer. UGA Radon Educator Derek Cooper joins this week’s All About Real Estate segment of Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio to discuss how to detect, prevent and mitigate radon in a home with co-hosts Carol Morgan and Todd Schnick.
Radon is both a gas and an element. It is also one of the noble gasses, meaning it is non-reactive but also radioactive. This means that when it gets into a home, it doesn’t interact with objects around it, but it does break things down. As it breaks everything down, it releases radiation into the home. When this radiation is breathed in by residents of a home, it can eventually lead to lung cancer. Because this gas is invisible and does not react with other things in a home, the only way to find out if it is present is through testing.
Cooper explains the many different types of tests that are available and where to get them. The most common type of test is a do-it-yourself kit for homeowners that is hung in the home for about a week. After the time is up, it is sent to a lab for testing and results are returned within one to two weeks. Long-term testing is also available and follows the same process, except the test stays in a home for three months to a year. The long-term test is more expensive and takes a significant amount of time, but it monitors the radon patterns over an extended period of time to get a more accurate representation of the issue. This test is normally done as a follow-up to a short-term test. A third option is a continuous radon monitor that works 24/7 in a home and is connected to an app. This option provides peace of mind to all homeowners and allows for constant monitoring.
Radon is a growing issue in North Georgia due to the conditions in which it arises. Radon comes from uranium which is naturally produced in granite. Because of the large amounts of granite in Georgia, the amount of radon released into the air is high. This becomes a problem for homeowners when it travels up through the soil and into the bottom level of a house, becoming trapped inside. Radon issues are seen in all types of homes including high rises, single-family homes, old homes, new homes and townhomes. The only type of home that is not affected by radon are those on a pier with open air underneath.
Although radon is a serious issue and leads to 820 lung cancer related deaths annually in the state of Georgia, it can be treated and does not make a house uninhabitable.
“You can always fix a radon problem, it’s like a leaky roof,” said Cooper. “There is always a solution. It’s not this mythical beast that you should fear. Just think of it as another part of the home inspection and something to get fixed for a safe and healthy home.”
To learn more about radon, how to detect it and what to do if you find it in your home, listen to the full interview above or visit radon.uga.edu.
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