Homeowners and buyers find home inspectors to measure radon gas levels for several reasons. Sometimes it’s because they have just had their offer accepted to purchase a home, other times they have been warned of the dangers of radon gas by a friend or family member. Other times they may have read a news article about someone who has fallen victim to high levels of radon.
What is Radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas that we cannot smell or taste. Radon is a decay product of uranium, which is present throughout the United States. As a gas, radon migrates through the Earth’s crust, into topsoil and into the atmosphere. Along the way, it migrates into houses and homes.
The precise path that it follows can’t be mapped out, and the concentration of radon in a home changes by the hour and is affected by wind, weather and other factors.
As radon breaks down, it emits alpha particles, which damage human DNA. The EPA has estimated that radon causes between 15,000 and 21,000 deaths due to lung cancer. It is the second cause of lung cancer in the United States, behind only cigarette smoking.
Smokers who live in homes with high concentrations of radon have a higher probability of developing lung cancer that those who do not.
Is Radon Really Bad?
The risk of radon exposure is cumulative, so the longer you are exposed to high levels, the higher the probability is that you will develop lung cancer. The fact is that as radon decays, the alpha particles that are emitted can damage lung tissue.
Is radon exposure an emergency? I don’t think it is, but as someone who cares about his health I would not live in a home for very long without addressing it.
Is Radon a Problem My Town?
I have often heard home inspection clients say “radon isn’t a problem in Buffalo”, or “radon levels are low in Amherst”.
The problem is that these statements don’t have facts to
Broken or Damaged Gutters and Downspouts
This goes without saying, but if you are living with broken gutters or downspouts then they may not be working as well as they should be. Repairs to gutters and downspouts are usually very affordable and should not break the bank, or even come close to it.
Have a professional, well-regarded gutter installer repair your damaged areas.
What Problems can Leaking Gutters Cause?
Leaking or overflowing gutters can cause damage to your home’s foundation, can erode your landscaping, damage vegetation and can permanently discolor siding.
Fixing these problems is usually affordable and can have long-term impact on the health of your home. Inspect your gutters and downspouts at least once a year to make sure that they are working well.