In the United States radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer with approximately 21,000 deaths related to radon each year. Approximately 16% of homes across the United States have an unsafe radon level above 4pCi/L. Some states and areas of the country have significantly higher and lower levels depending on their geology. Radon is an odorless gas that is formed from radioactive decay in the soil. It's present everywhere in the environment. The average outside level is below .4pCi/L so it's very low normally outside. Where radon tends to concentrate in higher levels is inside homes and buildings.
There are several methods to obtaining a radon measurement result ranging from charcoal canisters to continuous radon monitors which are the most common. Charcoal canisters are placed out and after a specific period of time are sent into a laboratory for testing. Charcoal testing takes much longer than using a continuous radon monitor as the samples have to be sent in and then there is a waiting period for the results. Continuous radon monitors take an hourly air sample and give an average level of radon based on all the hourly air samples collected. For residential real estate transactions the time period is normally 48 hours but can be longer if needed. The results are instant once the test is complete. They provide a big advantage to charcoal tests because they give an hourly level of radon and there is no waiting period for results. Also continuous radon monitors aren't affected by moisture. In addition, many continuous radon monitors often have security features, which prevent them from being moved without invalidating a test result.
Some states have licensing or certification requirements for residential radon testing. In Wisconsin there are no requirements. Make sure that whoever you hire that is measuring the radon level in your home is certified to do so by the National Radon Proficiency Program NRPP or another organization that certifies radon testing.
At Dairyland Home Inspection we perform radon measurements in Racine, Milwaukee, Kenosha, Waukesha, and Walworth counties as part of a home inspection or a home warranty inspection.
Asbestos materials were common in home building prior to 1977. Building materials manufacturers during the 1950's and 1960's promoted the use of asbestos as an excellent fire retarding material and insulating material. Asbestos is an excellent building material except for one big problem. The asbestos fibers can cause lung problems including mesothelioma when breathed in. If not for that big problem it would still be widely used today in homes.
During a home inspection we often find asbestos building materials in older homes. Common materials in homes that can contain asbestos are flue pipe insulating materials, tile flooring, vermiculite attic insulation, ceiling tiles, asbestos roofing shingles, and asbestos exterior siding to name a few. Most asbestos roofing shingles have since been replaced but they are occasionally found. Exterior siding, tile flooring, ceiling tiles, vermiculite insulation, and flue pipe insulating materials are commonly found in homes.
Asbestos isn't dangerous unless it is disturbed and the fibers become friable. That means they can become airborne and breathed in. When materials are suspected to contain asbestos the only sure way to know they contain asbestos is to have them properly tested. Removal of asbestos can be costly and a good deal of the expense is the disposal cost.
To prevent possible future health hazard and an expensive remediation costs it is critical to identify possible asbestos materials and have them tested when purchasing a home.
At Dairland Home Inspection we perform home inspections in Racine, Milwaukee, Kenosha, Waukesha, and Walworth Counties.