Welcome to the first episode of What You Need to Know with Janis Montalvo. We stopped by the Lenawee County Health Departmentand talked with Director Kasee Johnson about Radon Awareness Month. Watch and find out how you can get your FREE Radon Test Kit in the month of January!
Stop by the Health Department this January and make sure your home is safe! Questions about Radon testing and mitigation? Call us, we would love to help! 517-403-6939
Janis Montalvo, The Radon Ranger here! Today we stopped by the Lenawee County Health Department to talk about Radon because January is National Radon month. There’s some great education available on this topic. We talked to Kasee Johnson, the Director of Lenawee County Health Department. The big question is: What is Radon? Kasee explained that radon is a radioactive gas that that comes from the breakdown of uranium in the soil and forms in a lot of different rock types. From that breakdown uranium, it forms the radon gas which is what can come into your home and cause lung cancer.
Did you know something radon gas could be so dangerous as to cause lung cancer and in your own home? Well, open the Daily Telegram newspaper and see that in the obituaries it reads, “In lieu of flowers, the family asks that the money be given to the Radon Foundation”. One of the problems is we really only test at the time of transaction during the sale of a home. Radon is odorless and tasteless, so the only way to test is by a Radon Test Kit. These Radon Tests Kits are Free at the Lenawee County Health department in the month of January because it is Radon Action Month. There is an instructional book included in the test kit, but when you come to pick up yours, the staff at the Health Department can give you a quick overview of how to use the kit.
It is recommended that the Radon Test Kit be placed in the lowest level of your home. The Health Department recommends if you have a basement, but don’t go down there much to not test at that level, but rather on the main level of your home. In the case that you have a mancave in your basement or a finished basement where your family spends time, you want to test and make sure it is safe. We typically want to test in a closed house setting, so the month of January is a great time to test since windows and doors are kept shut. The tests take three to seven days to be exposed to the environment to get a proper reading. This may vary depending on the moisture level. Once the sufficient time period has passed, take the test kit and seal in the provided envelope. Sometimes the seal is not great, but you can just put some tape of your own on it for good measure. Fill out all the information and put it in the mail. The postage is prepaid, but Kasee recommends that you put an additional stamp on there to ensure that it gets to the testing center in the proper amount of time. Results are usually ready in a couple of weeks and they will be mailed to you in addition to being emailed to you if you provided your email address on the information form on the test kit.
What’s the recommended level for Radon in a home? Kasee says 4.0 Picocuries per liter, or 4.0 P. So, if you have a P above 4, you have a problem! What happens if you get the free kit, and your home tests high for radon? The Health Department recommends that you retest. The radon tests are only free in the month of January, but you can purchase another test for $10. Typically if you get the radon tests elsewhere, the postage can get pricey, so it may still be your best bet to get the radon tests at the Lenawee County Health Department, even if they are not free. If the radon in your home still tests above 4.0 P, you will want to get your house mitigated.
If you are looking for local companies in Lenawee County who do Radon Mitigation, Call us at Living in Lenawee Realty at 517-403-6939 and we can walk you through the process.
I think what happens is people don’t want to test their homes for Radon because they simply just don’t understand it. Also, they may be afraid that the levels will come back high. So, what happens when they mitigate a house, they install a low operating fan on either the outside of the house, in the attic or in your garage. I always explain it to my clients as it sucks the bad gases from the foundation and puts the gas above the roofline where hopefully there’s not a bird flying by. What’s the cost to get rid of radon in your home? Depending who you have to it costs anywhere from $600 as much as $1,100 if you opt for some add on services or upgrades. This may seem like a lot, but once your home is mitigated, it is safe! We have gone into homes where the radon mitigation system has been in place for 10 years with the fan still working that has tested above a 1.0 or 2.0.
Radon Tests are not like Carbon Monoxide where you can plug something in your wall and rate it, so I think there’s some misunderstanding there which can be confusing for people. We’ve tested homes that have come in the 30 and 40 P levels very easily when you get into homes with new construction, especially when built on sandy soil where the homes are designed to be air tight and the radon has no where to go.
When you go to the Health Department to get your radon kit, they will ask you to sign out your kit which is good because they are trying to track where radon is. It’s one of those environmental concerns when buying a home: Lead Paint, Radon and Mold. Kasee says that Radon is the one that doesn’t get as much attention as being a public health issue. Especially in Michigan and in Lenawee County, we want to make sure we are testing for it because Environmental Health, the State of Michigan and the EPA has found that homes in Lenawee County have higher levels of radon gas than in other places. You can’t put one house against another and expect the same results. You can’t see it, you can’t smell it, you can’t feel it.
So where do you go to pick up for Free Radon Test? The Lenawee County Health Department is located in the Human Services Building at 1040 S. Winter Street, Adrian, MI at suite #2328. If you have been to the Secretary of State in Adrian, MI, this is the same building. Come in on the same floor and head straight to the back, you will see a glass door and you will find the Health Department. Their hours of operation are 8:00 AM to Noon, and closed from Noon to 1:00 PM for lunch and then open again from 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM. Keep in mind that the Radon Test Kits are only free in the month of January.
We recommend that you don’t wait until you list your home for sale to test for radon, please test regularly. Even if you have a radon mitigation system in your home, it is still a good idea to test. The Health Department offers Radon Tests free every January, so mark your calendars every year and help your family stay safe and healthy.
We so appreciated Kasee taking time to talk with us about Radon and how to test your home for free. Stop in to the Lenawee County Health Department and talk to Kasee or any of the other staff, they are actually very friendly and nice to work with. Get out, get your free kit and get your house tested. Let’s have a healthy environment for you and your family!