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Radon Gas – Do We Need To Worry About It In Utah?



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By : Garn G Christensen Jr GRI    99 or more times read
Radon gas and your new home in Utah - so what is all the fuss about?

First of all, you need to understand that the State of Utah is broken up into zones for classification purposes. Most of Utah is Zone 1 (highest radon potential) while the balance of the state is Zone 2 (moderate radon potential). There is not a Zone 3 (little or no radon potential) in Utah. (Source: Utah Department of Environmental Quality for more information go to www.Radon.Utah.Gov )

That being said, all radon tests will show some amount of radon if properly tested. It isn’t a question of if there will be radon; it really is a question of how much radon will be found in a properly tested home.

Since radon will be present to some degree in every home, there are 2 questions that need to be answered: what is radon, and at what levels should we become concerned about it?

Radon is a gas created in the soil from uranium and radium in the soil. These elements can be found everywhere in the world. Therefore, every building has the potential for elevated levels of radon.
Radon is odorless and tasteless, therefore there is no way that you can sense the presence of radon.

Next to smoking, scientists believe that radon is associated with more lung cancer deaths than any other compound. Radon is classified as a "Group A" carcinogen, defined as a substance known to cause cancer in humans.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the American Medical Association, the American Lung Association, the U.S. Surgeon General, and the National Academy of Sciences all agree that radon is a health concern that should be addressed.

Since your new (or old, for that matter) home will have some radon gas found in it, what can be done? Understand that radon mitigation is a well known science. There are many licensed and qualified radon mitigation experts, throughout the State of Utah. When mitigation is properly done there will be an additional benefit of increased indoor air quality.

You might ask - should I have my new home tested for radon? Of course you should have your new home tested. Remember, it is not a question of if there is radon in your house; it is a question of how much radon is in your house. If this initial test has a result of 4.0 pCi/L or higher, mitigation should be required. Buyers note: typically radon mitigation costs less than $1,500 in existing homes. Installation of the mitigation system usually takes less than 48 hours. As you can see, mitigation is neither expensive nor time consuming. So don’t be afraid if your home tests higher than 4.0 pCi/L. It really isn’t that big of a problem, and the solution will improve not only your peace of mind but the air quality in your home.

If you are considering building a new home, talk with your Contractor, and he should be able to share with you several relatively inexpensive ways to incorporate radon mitigation during the course of construction. With a small amount of planning done in advance, these systems will function properly and not be intrusive or unsightly. Most of the skills that are needed are already available with the existing trades commonly used during the construction of a new home.

It should be noted that currently there are no statewide regulations in Utah that require radon-resistant construction.

Here are some additional sites with more information regarding radon gas:
www.epa.gov/iaq/radon/

www.epa.gov/iaq/radon/pubs/citguide.html

Discounted radon test kits are available from the National Safety Council http://downloads.nsc.org/pdf/coupon2007.pdf (or call 1-800-SOS-RADON).
Garn G Christensen Jr has been a licensed General Contractor in the State of Utah since 1982 and his company incorporated in 1993. Garn has been building homes since 1978 and has helped hundreds of Utah home owners build their “Dream Home.” Garn’s company, Ann Am Construction Inc, participated in the 2007 Salt Lake HBA Parade of Homes and won 2 of the 3 highest awards given - Best of Category & Best Architecture/Home Design. For more information, please visit Garn at www.GarnChristensen.com

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