A reliable real estate expert would surely suggest you check the radon levels in your well water through professional test procedures, whether you plan to sell your property or not.
Why? Because radon is a radioactive element that causes thousands of hospitalizations and deaths each year. It is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless element that occurs naturally and is difficult to trace without the right tools or professional help.
You wouldn’t want to live in a home with unhealthy levels of radon, and home buyers don’t want to either. Although many real estate agents and home inspectors include different types of radon tests in their property inspection checklists, but make sure they have one for the water supply, too.
More Information about Radon
What is Radon, to Begin With?
Radon is a naturally occurring element that is present anywhere and spreads in the form of gas. It is the product of the radioactive decay of uranium, thorium, and radium, which are radioactive elements themselves.
Now, know that radioactive elements are unstable and continuously emit atomic energy. When the body inhales or ingests a large amount of radon atoms, it causes damage to body cells.
That is why the best real estate experts says that homeowners should test the radon level in their properties. After all, radon is present in the soil, air, and even in your water supply.
Risks that Radon Bring in Your Household
Radon poisoning is the second biggest cause of lung cancer; next only to cigarette smoking. It kills about 21,000 people in the USA each year, with about 2,900 of those involving non-smokers. The reason behind this number is the presence of radon everywhere since radon is a naturally occurring element.
As mentioned, radon results from the breakdown of some elements. This process happens in the soil, but radon gas rises and mixes into the air and water. Now, let’s assume your home sits on a soil area that is rich with such elements. Meaning, you’re inhaling more radon gas each day and are likely to develop lung cancer later in life.
Moreover, the amount of radon in an area is not evenly distributed because of various factors. For example, if your next-door neighbor has low levels of radon in their property, you shouldn’t assume the same for your house.
This makes it important to test the radon level in your home. You can hire a professional to do the job, or buy some radon detectors from the hardware store. Note that zero is the ideal radon level for a house, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests 4 pCi/L action level as the maximum.
What to Know about Radon in Your Well Water
EPA reports about 168 annual deaths due to the presence of radon in drinkable water. 89% of such cases happen when radon mixes into the air from well water and causes lung cancer and 11% happen because of stomach cancer from frequent ingesting of radon.
Yes, the numbers look small. But it is best to keep your household safe from any kind of radon poisoning. That’s why you must not skip radon testing for the well water in your home.
Now, how do you test the radon level of your well water? What if you have water from the public supply?
How to Test the Radon Level in Your Well Water
Radon in well water is only a problem when your private well sits in an area with too much radon gas.
A standard home inspection typically includes radon testing for the air in a property. But in many instances, it doesn’t include well water testing. Meaning, you must ask your home inspector to conduct such a test or proceed on your own.
If you need to do it yourself, start by contacting the safe drinking water hotline (1-800-426-4791). This is where you can find the contact for your state’s laboratory certification office. There, you can ask for the contact details of accredited laboratories in your local area that conduct radon testing for water.
After which, you can send some samples for the process. Note, however, to carefully follow the instructions when getting and sending the samples to avoid contamination.
Another option is to call a reliable home inspector. Let them gather the samples and send them to an accredited lab.
Then, you need to wait for about 10 days for the results. If the results show there is radon in your well water, you should do something to mitigate the problem right away.
How to Remove Radon from Your Well Water
Although there is a filtration system you can install right at the faucet, it still allows radon to get very close to you and possibly mix with the air before being dealt with.
The best solution is to remove radon before the water passes through your pipes. Here are two great solutions that a seasoned real estate expert would recommend:
1. Granular Activated Carbon Filter
This is a simple and cheap device that requires little maintenance and filters 95% of radon from your water supply.
But be aware that overtime, radon accumulates in the filter itself. Accumulated radon makes the filter dangerous to handle, and you’ll need a professional to replace the radioactive filter–a service charge that usually ranges from $1,000 to $2,000.
2. Aeration System
Because radon is a gas, it’s possible to eliminate radon from your water with the use of blowing air by an aeration system.
An aeration system involves an air source that lies at the bottom of your water storage tank. It blows air into the water, which in turn pushes radon through ventilation pipes and guides the gas outside your home.
Some aeration systems also involve blowing air while you fill your tank. When using use both aeration solutions, it’s possible to remove up to 99% of radon from well water.
Note, however, that an aeration system doesn’t come cheap. You’ll need to spend about $3,000 to $6,000 for it, but maintenance is minimal.
Please note that having the right tools for removing radon in your water supply doesn’t replace regular testing. Regularly test the radon level in your well water to make sure that everything is working properly.
It’s Important to Deal with Radon in Well Water
The best real estate expert will encourage you to test well water for radon and teach you the benefits of doing so. Not only does this make your water supply safe for long-term use, but it makes your property more appealing when you sell!
Featured image by Radonridct.com.