FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Radon Gas

If your test results are high, we’ll want to run another test again to confirm–that’s industry protocol.

If your second test comes back over the EPA’s threshold level of 4.0 pCi/l, we will recommend that you mitigate your home.

Mitigation in our area is commonly accomplished via a process called sub slab depressurization.  The lowest floor of most houses, other than those built over crawl spaces, consists of a concrete slab poured over the earth or on top of crushed rock (aggregate). Radon can be drawn from under
the slab and vented away from the house.  It’s a proven procedure and the mitigation companies we would recommend guarantee their ability to lower your radon levels below the EPA’s threshold action level.

If the radon levels in your home were above 4.0 pCi/l, but below 10 pCi/l, we think you should retest before deciding to mitigate.  Mitigation costs are much higher than radon tests (mitigation typically costs between $2,000-$6,000, depending on home size and configuration) and the guidelines are to test twice.  If your test radon levels were above 10 pCi/l, it is unlikely that your test results will be below EPA’s 4.0 pCi/l guidelines, but the small added amount may give you peace of mind prior to spending your money.

It’s important to note that if your home is in a real estate transaction then it is normally required that a professional and independent tester take measurements.

No!!  One of the key contributors to high variability radon readings is the existence of heavy rain and/or high wind.  It is reported that continuously hard rain of more than 0.5” can cause radon levels to rise in most houses–or to fall in other homes having sump pumps that don’t run frequently!  Water under your basement slab can reduce (not eliminate) radon’s path of entry. 

Tidy Air monitors the weather forecasts for your location and may revise the measurement date due to severe weather.

Yes!  If you are testing for radon because you’re planning on selling your home, remember that a prospective buyer probably will want an independent professional to do the radon test.  But if you’re not selling your home and want to study up, it is possible to have a DIY test done for under $20.  But be certain to study on when to place, how to place and what needs to be done to ensure the test is accurate.  The risk of false security due to a poor testing protocol can have severe health consequences in the long term.

Electronic radon monitors can often produce greater accuracy when compared to passive test kits.  All radon monitors used by Tidy Air Systems are calibrated annually, cross-tested monthly and must pass proficiency tests.  Electronic radon monitors offer the advantage of measuring the radon levels every hour, which can indicate unusual radon patterns that may drive deeper analysis of any potential issues.

They are reasonably OK.  Since they are typically simple charcoal test kits, they lack the accuracy of a professional electronic radon monitor.  That said, if you just want to know if you have a radon problem, they may suffice…assuming you understand all the test protocols and execute everything well.  We frequently tell people that the risk of false security (“Hooray…we don’t have a radon problem!”—when the test was flawed and in fact, you DO have a radon problem) due to a poorly executed test can have severe health consequences in the long term.  Saving a few hundred dollars for your health isn’t always worth it!

Short-term radon tests are generally 2 to 7 days in length (although technically they can last up to 90 days).  Short-term tests must be made with closed house conditions.  A long-term radon test is three months to one year in length.  Long-term tests do not require closed house conditions.  If radon measurements during a real estate transaction are questionable, a long-term test is sometimes performed with money left in an escrow account to pay for a radon mitigation system if the long-term test results are above the 4.0 pCi/L guideline.

Weather and seasonality can affect radon level readings.  If your furnace is running frequently, that can affect radon levels—especially in a home’s upper levels.  We’ve heard of test results over the years of being half of previous readings…or twice as high as others.  Basements tend to have the most consistent readings, since there is (normally) less air movement affecting readings.

Although we don’t perform radon mitigation services, we have a number of companies whom we respect and can refer you to that will do a professional job at a very reasonable price.

Mold / Indoor Air Quality

Typically, you will either see or smell large mold infestations.

No.  Exposure to damp and moldy environments can have significant adverse impact on some people, while having very few to no problems for others.

If we can see and identify the problem mold(s), we can develop a course of action to mitigate the problem.

Mitigation can be as simple as  broadcasting spray solutions onto and around the mold surface, fogging/misting problem rooms, or physically removing and renovating affected areas.

The CDC says that people with allergies may be more sensitive to molds. They go on to say that people with immune suppression or underlying lung disease are more susceptible to fungal infections.

Individuals with chronic respiratory disease (e.g., chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder or asthma) may experience difficulty breathing. Individuals with a compromised immune system are also at increased risk for infection from molds.

No.  There is no blood test that can check for mold.  It may be possible to have allergy testing done to determine possible allergies to mold.

There are no clinically proven tests to identify when or where a particular mold exposure took place.