Living in Radon Testing in Lewiston Maine comes with many perks – beautiful nature, close-knit communities, and a slower pace of life. However, there is one hidden threat that all Lewiston residents should be aware of – radon gas.
Radon is an odorless, radioactive gas that is formed from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil and rock. It seeps up through cracks and openings in the foundation of homes and can build up to dangerous levels inside if left unchecked. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
The EPA has identified the entire state of Maine as a Zone 1 Radon Area – meaning it has a high potential for elevated indoor radon levels. This is due to the granite bedrock that runs throughout the state. The Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention estimates that 4 in 10 homes in Maine have high radon levels.
As parents, home-owners, and people who care about our community – what can we do to protect our loved ones from radon exposure? The answer lies in testing and mitigation. Here’s what every Lewiston resident needs to know about radon testing in our city.
Why Should I Test for Radon?
The danger of radon comes from prolonged exposure to high concentrations of it indoors. The EPA and the Surgeon General strongly recommend that all homes get tested for radon – existing homes as well as new constructions.
Here are some important reasons why radon testing is critical:
- You can’t detect radon yourself – Radon is completely invisible, odorless, and tasteless. The only way to find out if you have a radon problem is to test for it.
- Radon levels vary dramatically – Radon levels can differ greatly between neighboring homes. The only way to know if your home has high radon is to test it.
- You spend a lot of time indoors – We spend up to 90% of our time indoors, where radon levels are usually higher compared to outdoors. Long-term radon exposure significantly increases lung cancer risk.
- Your family’s health is at risk – Children and the elderly are most vulnerable to radon exposure. Don’t take any chances with your loved ones’ health.
- It’s easy and inexpensive – Radon testing is easy to do with a do-it-yourself kit and only costs about $15-30. Considering the health risks, it’s worth investing in.
With radon exposure being the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, it makes sense to take action. Take control of your health by testing your Lewiston home.
How To Test for Radon in My Lewiston Home
The EPA and CDC recommend annual radon testing in Radon Testing in Lewiston Maine. Here are some tips on how to get started:
Use an approved radon test kit
Purchase a radon test kit from your local hardware store or online. Make sure it is EPA-approved and has all the contents – including two small charcoal collection devices, a packet for mailing in your samples, detailed instructions, and a registration form. Popular brands are First Alert and Air Chek.
Follow the instructions closely
Once you have your kit, carefully read and follow the instructions. Proper placement of the radon detectors is key. They should be put in the lowest lived-in level of the home. Keep all windows and doors closed during the test period.
Test for the right duration
The test kit should be left out for 2-7 days. Short-term testing of 2-4 days is common. For a more precise reading, consider a long-term test of 90+ days.
Mail it in a timely manner
Make sure to mail your test kit on time to get accurate results. The lab will analyze your samples and inform you if your radon level is below 4 pCi/L (safe) or above (unsafe).
Radon levels can fluctuate over time, so it’s important to test your home for radon at least once a year. Make it a routine every fall season.
Testing for radon is easy to do yourself and fairly inexpensive. Protect your family by screening your home annually.
What Are Normal Radon Levels?
The EPA has set an indoor radon action level of 4 pCi/L (picoCuries per liter) – at or above this level, steps should be taken to lower radon concentrations. There is no known safe level of radon since lung cancer risk rises steadily with increased exposure. Here’s a breakdown of radon levels:
Below 2 pCi/L – This is considered a safe radon level by CDC standards and no action is needed. Continue annual testing.
2-4 pCi/L – Some concern and should be mitigated. Retest to confirm.
4 pCi/L or higher – This is considered dangerous and steps should be taken to reduce radon levels.
The average indoor radon level is 1.3 pCi/L in the U.S. However, the average in Maine is over 4 pCi/L – significantly above the recommended limit. In fact, radon concentrations above 20 pCi/L have been found in some Maine homes, indicating an urgent need for mitigation.
Knowing where your home’s radon level falls on the spectrum will help you decide if and when mitigation is necessary.
What Are Radon Test Results Measured In?
Radon test kits measure the amount of radiation given off by radon in the air, and report the results in picocuries per liter (pCi/L).
A picocurie is a measurement of radioactivity, indicating how many radioactive decays are taking place every second in one liter of air. Higher pCi/L results indicate more radon present in the home.
Here is a quick overview of units used:
pCi/L – picocuries per liter of air. The EPA’s radon action level is 4 pCi/L.
Bq/m3 – Becquerels per cubic meter. This is the SI unit used outside the US. 10 Bq/m3 ≈ 0.27 pCi/L.
Working levels (WL) – Used mostly in mining/industry. 1 WL ≈ 200 pCi/L of radon.
Understanding radon units of measurement allows you to better interpret your test results and make meaningful comparisons. Focus on the pCi/L measurement to gauge your home’s radon risks.
Where Should I Test for Radon in My Home?
To get a complete picture of radon levels in your home, the EPA recommends testing in multiple rooms on the lowest lived-in floor of the house. Here are some tips on picking the best test locations:
- Living spaces like family rooms, playrooms, dens
- Bedrooms, especially those frequently occupied
- Rooms directly above unvented crawl spaces or basement areas
- Any frequently used rooms in contact with the ground
- Kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms
- Spare rooms, closets, hallways
- Attics or upper floors far from ground contact
For a standard single-family home, two test kits should be placed: one in the basement and one on the main floor. Place the detector 2-7 feet above the floor away from ventilation ducts, windows, and exterior walls.
For a two-story home, additional kits can be placed on the upper floor. For accuracy, close doors and windows and avoid running ventilation fans.
Testing in multiple areas will reveal if you have a whole-house or localized radon issue. This helps guide the mitigation approach.
Interpreting Radon Test Results: Should I Retest?
Getting your radon test results can be confusing. Here are some tips on understanding and interpreting them:
Below 4 pCi/L – This is considered a safe level by EPA standards. No immediate action is needed beyond annual retesting.
Between 4-8 pCi/L – This is above the EPA’s 4 pCi/L action level. EPA recommends a follow-up test for confirmation.
8 pCi/L or higher – Retesting is not needed for levels over 8 pCi/L. These levels pose a serious health risk and require prompt mitigation.
- Results are between 2-4 pCi/L
- Only one test was done in a large home
- Short-term test shows high levels
- Major renovations or upgrades done after testing
Don’t retest if:
- Two tests show results over 4 pCi/L
- A long-term (90+ day) test shows high levels
- Levels are over 8 pCi/L
Repeating short-term tests helps confirm if you have a persistent radon problem. Follow EPA guidelines and consult a radon mitigation pro as needed.
Radon Mitigation in Lewiston Maine: Lowering Radon Levels in Your Home
If your Lewiston home has elevated radon levels, take action by installing a radon mitigation system. This is the most effective way to reduce radon and protect your household. Here’s what to know about radon mitigation:
How it works – A radon mitigation system uses a fan-powered vent pipe to draw radon up from below the home and redirect it above the roof where it can safely disperse. This prevents radon from accumulating indoors.
Professional installation recommended – While DIY radon mitigation is possible, it is best to have an experienced, licensed radon mitigation contractor handle the installation. This ensures proper placement and connections. Expect to pay around $1200-$2500.
Most homes can be mitigated – Over 99% of homes with high radon are successfully mitigated with an active soil depressurization system. This should lower radon levels to 2 pCi/L or less.
Inspect suction points – The most common entry points for radon are through cracks or openings in foundation walls and floors. A contractor will inspect these areas and seal them prior to fan installation.
Impacts are minimal – Aside from the vent pipe going through the roof, radon mitigation systems require minimal changes inside the home. They operate quietly and maintenance is low cost.
Don’t live with dangerous radon levels in your Lewiston home. Seek quotes from certified radon mitigation contractors and take action today.
How Do I Maintain My Radon Mitigation System?
Once a radon mitigation system is professionally installed in your Lewiston home, maintenance is fairly minimal. Follow these tips to keep it operating smoothly:
- Check the vent pipe annually – Make sure the rooftop vent pipe has not come loose or developed leaks. Seal any gaps. Remove debris or animal nests blocking the pipe.
- Monitor the fan device – Replace any worn out fan devices promptly. Test it by putting your hand near the pipe to feel suction. Listen for unusual noises or vibrations.
- Change filters as needed – For units with filters, inspect and replace them every 2-5 years as recommended. Use manufacturer approved filters only.
- Have an annual retest – Retest your home’s radon levels yearly to confirm the system is working properly. Levels should be under 2 pCi/L.
- Keep good records – Note down dates of inspections, fan replacements, and test results. This helps spot declines in performance.
- Hire a pro if needed – If radon levels start to climb, contact a mitigation pro to troubleshoot and fix the system.
Proper maintenance keeps your radon mitigation system effective for many years. Don’t hesitate to reach out to an expert for tune-ups.
Finding Reliable Radon Test and Mitigation Services in Lewiston
The first step in protecting your household from radon is testing. If elevated levels are found, reliable mitigation services are key. Here are some tips for finding quality Radon Testing in Lewiston Maine services:
- Look for licensed professionals – Maine requires radon testers and mitigators to have a state license. Check credentials and training.
- Find certified contractors – Contractors certified by the NRPP (National Radon Proficiency Program) or NRSB (National Radon Safety Board) exceed state requirements.
- Check online reviews – Search for radon mitigators in Lewiston Maine and read reviews on Google, Yelp, and Angie’s List. Look for consistent positive feedback.
- Ask for referrals – Talk to neighbors and friends who have had their home mitigated. Reputable contractors often come highly recommended.
- Evaluate experience – Look for established companies with years of experience serving Lewiston homes. They will have seen many radon scenarios.
- Compare quotes – Get quotes from 3-5 mitigators before deciding. Ask about warranties, timelines, and payment plans.
RadonAdvice is a leading radon mitigation company in Lewiston ME and the state, known for transparent pricing, quality materials, and robust warranties. Protect your loved ones by partnering with the best.
Regular radon testing and timely mitigation gives Lewiston families peace of mind. Consult qualified local professionals and breathe easier in your home.