Radon Resistant Construction: Why Consider?

 

When should radon-resistant construction be considered?

Find out if you are buying a home in a high radon area. the EPA's map of radon zones (link is external) indicates areas having the greatest potential for elevated indoor radon readings. Homes in places with high potential, called Zone 1 areas, should be built with radon-resistant features, but the techniques can work anywhere. Also contact your state radon office (link is external) to learn whether radon-resistant features are recommended or required in your area. You can also review the states and jurisdictions that require the use of these techniques at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) webpage (link is external).

If you are planning to make any major structural renovation to an existing home, such as converting an unfinished basement area into a living space, it is important to test the area for radon before you begin the renovation. If your test results indicate a radon problem, radon-resistant techniques can be inexpensively included as part of the renovation. Because major renovations can change the level of radon in any home, always test again after work is completed.

What are the benefits of radon-resistant construction?

Radon-resistant techniques are simple and inexpensive. Besides reducing radon levels, they also lower concentrations of other soil gases and decrease moisture problems. They make a home more energy efficient, and can save an annual average of $65 on energy costs.

Should a home built with radon-resistant features be tested?

Yes. Every new home should be tested for radon soon after occupancy and within the first year. Test your home even if it has the radon resistant features. Test kits may be available at your local hardware store, county health department or county extension office. You can also purchase short and long term test kits at www.sosradon.org. If you need more information on radon resistant new construction features visit the EPA Radon-Resistant New Construction (RRNC) website (link is external) or you can contact the National Radon Hotline at 1-800-767-7236.

Are there recognized methods for testing soil gas to estimate radon potential in a future building?

Radon concentrations in soil of a site are not predictive of final concentrations in buildings constructed on that site and are a waste of resources to conduct. For planning potential radon mitigation in a new building, guidance suggests using the EPA National Radon Potential Map, pre-mitigation radon measurements in nearby existing buildings, and a review of the local jurisdiction’s code requirements for radon resistant new construction represented by appendix F of the IRC.