RADON…Another Thing To Worry About

I asked John Hill of Lynne Lake Home Inspections to contribute an article on radon and he was kind enough to oblige. John has first-hand experience with radon in Wasilla and the Mat-Su Valley. This article is the second in the “healthy home” series. The first was about fragrances. 



Another thing to worry about!


John C. Hill

 Lynne Lake Home Inspections


Did you know radon is the second largest cause of lung cancer?  The Surgeon General and the EPA recommend all homes be tested for radon and reducing radon in homes that have elevated levels.  Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water.  It cannot be seen, smelt, or tasted.  The only way to know if you are at risk of exposure is to have it tested.  For more specific information concerning about radon refer to the EPA website document entitled “A Citizen’s Guide to Radon” .

All of us that have been involved in real estate transactions have heard people say we do not have radon in Alaska, therefore we do not need to test for it.  Radon is everywhere and there are recorded tests in the Matanuska/Susitna Borough that show this to be false.  I have tested my past home in Willow and found elevated levels requiring a mitigation system to be installed.  Moving to a new home in Wasilla, this past year found elevated levels of radon in the home.

Once discovered to be above the recommended level, radon presence can be greatly reduced to safe levels by mitigation.  Cost can vary by the system used but an average is around $1,000.  Further information can be obtained from EPA publication entitled “Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction” .

The home in Willow had the radon reduced by the installation of a sub-slab suction device which consisted of an access being made in the slab.  It was then sealed to a 4 inch vent that connected to a special radon fan in the attic.  The fan was then vented through the roof.  This system reduced my radon level well below the recommended level and cost about $850.  My new home will be mitigated soon and will be very easy to do.  My contractor installed a vent through the center of the home in the walls as the home was being built.  This vent will be sealed to my crawl space vapor barrier and connected to an exterior vented fan in the attic.  My contractor also installed an electrical outlet in the attic for the future fan if needed.  This simple addition to my home will cut my cost to about $300 to complete the system.  The cost for the contractor to do at time of construction was very minimal.

Radon exposure in the home can be deadly but does not have to be ignored due to cost.  The amount of money I spent to make our home safe was small in comparison to possible life threatening exposure.  To find out if you have risk of radon in your home you can contact a radon measurement professional or you can self test with a purchased test kit.  I encourage all of you that read this article to take some action toward discovering if you are at risk.

For those of you who are buying, selling, or having a home built, take some time to read the EPA brochure entitled “Home Buyer’s and Seller’s Guide To Radon” for more information.   

If you have further questions or you would like to schedule a test, please give me a call at 907-232-5675 or email lynnelake(at sign)att.net

Thank you John, I really appreciate you taking the time.