My results are in! I had My First Radon Test placed on Friday last week, and my friend and U.S. Inspect colleague, Mike Conte, picked it up yesterday afternoon.
Radon levels in my home are 3.6 pCi/L. That is below the EPA action level of 4pCi/L. Great. But I'm not exactly jumping for joy. Why? Well, as you may have noticed, my result is not all that far below 4pCi/L, now is it? Hmmm...
So actually, this is a bit of an interesting situation. If this test had been part of a real estate transaction, we would be "good to go " so to speak. We probably would not have to do anything further. But radon isn't about passing or failing, it's about degrees of exposure--and because I live here with my young family, it's really up to me what I'd like to do next.
These are the risks we have to consider. (My husband, my daughter and I have never smoked, so we will use the non smoker chart--you can get even more information on the EPA site.)
Because my result didn't leave me with a clear cut answer, I again consulted my friend and U.S. Inspect Environmental guru, Martin Smith, for some advice.
What I learned is that according to the EPA's Citizen’s Guide (which again is the procedure I'm using because I am a homeowner or "citizen") results above 4 pCi/L should be fixed. It also states that for results between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L I should “consider” getting it fixed. Most homes can be mitigated to below 2 pCi/L.
So Martin explained to me that this really is a personal call. "If you follow the EPA’s Citizen’s Guide testing protocol, this was considered a "screening test" and the result was below 4 pCi/L. The guidelines say that no further action is required but that you should consider testing again sometime in the future."
He also gave me this to think about, "Current thinking on the subject is to test again during a different heating/cooling season," he said. "This test was done in a heating season, so consider testing again in the Summer. But that is not stated in the Citizens Guide."
Martin also suggested that a long-term (like 6-month) test would be a good idea for the follow-up test.
See, when results are close to 4 pCi/L, like mine, there’s basically a 50% chance that the annual average level is below 4 pCi/L. But that means that there is also a 50% chance the annual average level is above 4 pCi/L too.
So what I am considering now is whether to do a long-term follow up test. I would do it for 6 months and put it in ASAP so it includes both a heating and a cooling season during the test period.
What this also means for me specifically is that if I do conduct a follow-up test, my husband and I will not be able to start some cosmetic work in our basement that we were planning on starting in the next few months. We were not planning on fully finishing it as living space, but it would involve walls, and as Martin stated in a post on radon last week, if we finish the basement and then test, we might end up needing to tear out finished portions of the basement in order to install the mitigation pipes.
So there will be some things to think about tonight. What do you think? What would you do?