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Radon gas in the house: How to test, what to do
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Finding the problem
Testing companies use various devices to monitor radon gas levels in houses, but you can test your house for radon by hiring a qualified tester or by buying a do-it-yourself test through the mail or at a hardware store. The EPA's indoor air quality Web page allows you to select your state and find a list of certified companies that test for radon gas and do mitigation work.

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Some areas of the country have more radon-gas risk than others. States on the Gulf Coast and eastern seaboard from Georgia to the Middle Atlantic States tend to have low radon levels. A great swath of the country, from Maine through the Great Lakes states, on to the Upper Midwest and down the spine of the Rocky Mountains, has higher radon risk, as can be seen on the EPA's map of radon gas zones. The Web page also allows you to look at the average radon risk in your county.

Even if the countywide risk is low, your house could have a high concentration of radon gas, and if the countywide risk is high, your house could have a low concentration of radon. The EPA's experts say that your house's radon level might be different from your next-door neighbor's house, much less a house across the county.

Fixing the problem
The EPA suggests that remedial measures be taken when the average annual radon gas concentration exceeds 4 pCi/L. The cost of mitigation can vary from a few hundred dollars to thousands, depending on the severity of contamination and the sources of radon leaks.

Some of the more common mitigation techniques include:

For more information, see the EPA's radon Web pages.

Bankrate.com senior writer Holden Lewis contributed to this article.

Bankrate.com's corrections policy -- Posted: Sept. 21, 2006
 
 
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