Radon Inspection

Radon Inspection and Gas Testing – Birmingham Homes and Commercial Properties

Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas. According to the EPA, most of central Alabama is considered a radon zone 2 areas. This means that most of us live in “counties with predicted average indoor radon screening levels from 2 to 4 pCi/L” according to the EPA.

While it is not covered in a regular home inspection, we do offer radon testing services for both residential and commercial buildings in Birmingham and the surrounding areas.

Where Does Radon Gas Come From?

There are concentrations of uranium naturally present in the soil, rocks, and water. Radon gets into the air you breathe through off-gassing from these sources. Cracks, holes, and expansion joints in the foundation of a building can allow radon gas into the interior spaces. Today’s modern construction saves us energy by reducing drafts, but it can also lead to gas build-up. We cannot see, smell, or taste radon, so the only way to be sure it is not a problem is to test for it. The US Surgeon General considers radon to be the second leading cause of lung cancer, right behind smoking.

Does A Positive Test Mean I Shouldn’t Buy?

Not necessarily. Ultimately the choice is yours, and there are technologies to reduce radon levels within a home. Typically, a reading above 2 pCi/L can be reduced to below that number with a properly installed system. We can perform the testing for you. You have to decide what to do with the results.

Should I Install Radon Mitigation in a New Construction?

Ideally, yes. There are quite a few advantages to installing a passive system during the construction process. You can build the most efficient systems if you install during the construction process. You also get the aesthetic benefit of easily hiding plumbing and fan units before construction is complete.

Another benefit is the possible reduction of moisture and other harmful gasses that might also get mitigated with a properly installed system.

Finally, properly installed systems can help increase the energy efficiency of your home. So, if you can work it into the budget, initial construction is a great time to install a radon mitigation system.

How Does it Work?

A properly installed system pulls radon soil gas from under your foundation and exhausts it away from your home. There is usually a hole in the slab where a plastic pipe with a fan draws air up from the soil and sends it outside the home, far enough from windows and doors to prevent reentry. In retrofit situations, a crawlspace installation can be costly. Typically, the contractor will install a plastic barrier over the entire crawlspace floor before installing the ventilation piping. You do benefit from also reducing crawlspace moisture, but this can be a really labor-intensive job.

Who Should I call for Radon Testing in Birmingham, AL?

If you are a buyer, seller, or planning to build a new home, we would be glad to help you asses the situation. We’ve been inspecting homes since 2000, and we are qualified to perform radon testing in the state of Alabama. Just reach out to us if you want to look into scheduling a radon test. You can e-mail sales@abhomeinspections.com or call (205) 835-0539 Or schedule right here on our website.