Radon is an invisible, odorless, tasteless, radioactive gas. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium found in soils, rock, and water. Because radon is odorless and invisible, the only way to know if your home has a radon problem is to test.
Radon seeps through the soil, and moves into the air and into homes through cracks and small openings in foundations. Homes trap radon in living spaces, where it may build up to dangerous levels.
Twenty-five to 50 percent of all homes in Colorado have high radon levels. Radon levels vary greatly from home to home. El Paso County and the state of Colorado are in "Zone 1" according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This means the state and county have a potential for high radon levels.
We encourage people to check the radon levels in their homes. The American Lung Association recommends that all homes be tested for radon. The U.S. Surgeon General warns that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the nation.
If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.
The EPA recommends testing all homes for radon. Testing will help you know if your radon levels are unsafe. If you're testing to determine whether your home has high radon levels, the EPA recommeds testing at the lowest living area of your home.
Buy a test kit online or at your local home improvement or hardware store.
There are many kinds of low-cost "do it yourself" radon test kits available at home improvement stores from about $10 to $50.
Be sure the kit says "certified by the National Radon Proficiency Program."
When used properly, these kits provide results as accurate as those done by a contractor.
Radon reduction systems can reduce radon levels by up to 99 percent. Radon reduction systems require knowledge and special skills to design.
Hire a contractor who is specifically trained in radon reduction.
You can contact the Colorado Radon Office at (800) 846-3986 for names of qualified or state certified contractors. You can also access Colorado Department of Public Health's information of certified contractors here.
There are several proven ways to reduce radon in your home. The vent pipe system and fan is the most used. This method pulls radon from beneath the house and vents it to the outside. A mitigation system in Colorado usually costs about $800-$1,200 unless difficult design problems are encountered.
Radon contractors can use other methods that may also work in your home. The right system depends on the design of your home and other factors.
New homes can be built with radon reduction features. Installing these at the time of construction is easier and less expensive than modifying older homes.
If you are buying or selling a home, the buyer may request radon test results. If you are selling a home, and you know the home has radon, or had radon in the past, you must provide this information in the Colorado Seller's Property Disclosure form.
If you are a renter, you can find out if the building you live in has been tested for radon. If your building has not been tested for radon, ask the owner to test, or test your own apartment or house.
If your test shows high radon levels, notify the building owner of the test results. Discuss the need for additional testing and repairs.
Landlords in Colorado are not required to test for radon or to mitigate for high radon levels.