radon air

January is National Radon Awareness month.

Radon is an odorless, tasteless, invisible gas that is very common in our Granite State of New Hampshire.  Radon is 8 times heavier than air, it will accumulate in the basement and can then spread up into the home above.  It can also be concentrated in private well water which can then enter the home through sinks and showers.  See the info graphic below.

Radon comes from the ground and any home can have elevated levels.  Your neighbor can have low radon and your home can have high levels, there are many different factors that can affect the levels.

A few quick facts about Radon:

  • Radon is the SECOND leading cause of lung cancer, just behind smoking cigarettes.
  • Radon can be in the air and in your well water
  • Of the 25,000 New Hampshire homes that have been tested through the State radon program, more than 30 percent exhibited radon concentrations that exceeded the action level of 4.0 pCi/L
  • In the winter time levels of Radon can increase due to the “Stack Effect”.   The heating system in the home will draw more gas out of the cold foundation and the ground.
  • Carrol County has the highest Radon Levels in New Hampshire
  • Radon mitigation systems are not as expensive as most people think

Please share this info with your friends and family and urge them to get a Radon Air Test if they haven’t yet. There are home test kits that are available from hardware stores, local testing facilities, or call us at Knox Home Inspections.  We use the best available electronic continuous radon measuring machines for the fastest and most accurate results.

Thank you very much and Happy New Year!




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The Home Inspection process can be a stressful time for any home buyer.  My goal is to make this time stress free and smooth as possible for you and your real estate agent.  I am writing this piece to prep you as the buyer for your home inspection.

Let’s assume that you have finally found “The One” and your offer has been accepted.  Your next step is to find an inspector and get your inspection scheduled.

  1. Scheduling the Inspection.  Your agent should be there so communicate with them and your inspector to make sure you pick a day and time that works for everyone (you most of all). Your agent has done many of these, and having them with you is a great resource.  They will help you along the way if anything comes up.  Couples should BOTH be there, it makes things much easier and keeps everyone on the same page.  You normally have 7-14 days to do your inspections, this is called your “due diligence period”.
  2. Do you want to test the water?  If you have a well you MOST DEFINITELY want a water test.  If  you have an FHA or VA loan and your home has a well, you may be required to get a test.  It is best to know what condition your water is in before you start drinking it. “Buy a filter or be a filter…” I hear that saying a lot.  There are many different contaminants that can get in your water.   Here’s more info about Water Quality and contaminants. 
  3. Radon air testing?  The EPA requires a 48 hour minimum test because radon levels can fluctuate from hour to hour.  Things like temperature and humidity can affect the levels. Knox Home Inspections uses specialized equipment to get your results immediately after the required 48 hours.  Our equipment will give you the most accurate reading possible with over 200 data points. Other inspectors may use a lab which can take 2-3 days longer.  Let us know and we can set the test ahead of time saving you and your agent valuable time.  More info about Radon Air right here.
  4. Septic Evaluation?  It is a CRAPPY job, literally.  We leave that to the septic evaluation companies that are licensed specifically for that.  If you want a septic evaluation we can coordinate with a few qualified companies to get it done at the same time as your inspection.  They will provide you a separate report that will show you more than you probably want to know about what goes down the toilet.
  5. Inspection Day.  Your inspection will take 2-3 hours depending on the size and condition of the home.  Make sure you block off enough time to be present the whole time.  You will be glad that you did.  You are about to learn A LOT about your new home.
  6. Bring a Tape Measure.  Bring your camera too.  The inspection is a great time to take your own pictures of the rooms and to measure for things like fridges, couches, beds, dressers, etc.  Your inspection report will have a bunch of pictures, but not the kind that will help you plan out your new home office layout.
  7. Dress For Success.  Wear something comfortable and that you don’t mind getting dirty.  Sneakers or boots are good.  Dress warm or bring an extra layer.  The weather doesn’t always cooperate and sometimes the houses can be cold if they nobody is living there.

The next 2 blogs will focus on the DURING and AFTER parts of the inspection process so look out for those very soon.  Thank you for reading and feel free to comment.  I love feedback and will edit this blog if anything good comes up.  For updates and more information connect with us on Facebook right here!

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Radon is a dangerous gas that comes from the decaying of Uranium in the ground. It is naturally a gas and can be inhaled, eventually leading to lung cancer. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking and ahead of second hand smoke. Radon is especially dangerous in residential housing because it can concentrate in basements and crawlspaces. The scariest part is that it is odorless, colorless and tasteless. The ONLY way to know if you have Radon is to test specifically for it.  Radon can also be in your well water which can lead to higher levels in the air.  This blog focuses on radon in the air, for radon in the water read my water blog...

Knox Home Inspections uses the BEST radon measuring devices on the market.  These machines will give you much more data than any other Home Inspectors out there and your results will be available much quicker than our competition.  

In New Hampshire we have a higher concentration of Radon than in other parts of the country, especially Carroll County.  For this reason I recommend an air test in every house that I inspect.  Radon can be in all the houses in your neighborhood or in just a few, the only way to know if it is in your home is to have it tested by a professional.  The results will tell you the Radon level and you can decide if you need to mitigate or not.

The EPA recommends action be taken if you have over 4.0 pCi/L. I have performed a lot of Radon tests in New Hampshire and  keep very detailed records. The average Radon level in a basement with NO mitigation system is 5.2 pCi/L.  So some are higher and some are lower. The average radon level with a system in place is 1.2 pCi/L. These systems work, and they can save lives.

In 2016 alone I came to FIVE separate homes with Radon mitigation systems that were turned OFF! If you have a system in place it needs to be ON at all times. The fan does not use a lot of electricity, about the same as a bathroom fan and it should also be as quiet as one. If it is louder than a small fan you should replace the fan unit. The fans are around $125 a piece.

Radon mitigation is not as expensive as some people fear it is. A basic, full system normally starts around $1000. Depending on the layout of the house they can be installed easily. Here’s one that runs out the side of the basement: 


The fan above is one of the systems I found that was OFF. Please make sure if you are buying a home that the system is ON before you even schedule a home inspection. I could not test this system that day because it would accomplish nothing. Instead the buyers Real Estate Agent had to contact the seller, get them to turn it on, and then I went back and did the test. This cost the home buyers valuable time during the closing process and was an unnecessary delay and added stress for everyone involved.

Knox Home Inspections is certified by the International Association of Certified Indoor Air Consultants for Advanced Radon Air Measurement. We guarantee an accurate Radon test for all of our customers for just $125. It is worth every penny to know that your home is free and clear of radon.

If you have any Radon Air questions feel free to contact us at anytime.

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