Radon, how important is it and what should you do about it? We recently had a radon system installed in our home here in Merton because with being in Waukesha County, radon is a topic of conversation out here. Becker Bros did a wonderful job testing and installing our system. We sent them some questions about what they do and what you should know about radon for your home or any future home you purchase.
Craig and Kyle started Becker Bros Radon back in 2013. Their wrestling coach in college had a
family member who was in the business of Radon in South Dakota. Their coach knew we grew up around
different types of construction, and kept telling them about radon. Then in 2013, they decided to take a trip
with him to South Dakota. His nephew set up a couple jobs and basically showed them the way. They
thought they had a good grasp on radon and how to install these systems and decided to get certified
here in Wisconsin.
What is Radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas you can’t see, feel, taste, or smell. It starts out as uranium, a heavy metal
found in the ground and most rocks on the planet. When uranium decays, it turns into another metal
called radium. When radium breaks down, it becomes radon. Radon gas leaves the soil and becomes
part of the air and water. It can be in the air around you, but it’s usually in very small amounts that
aren’t harmful. Large amounts of radon cause health problems. Even though it’s a natural gas that
comes from the earth, it can be toxic if you breathe in a lot of it over a long time.
Where in the house are you exposed the most?Buildings, like your home, school, or office, are built into the ground. Radon can escape the soil and get indoors. Though it can get trapped in any enclosed area, radon levels are often highest in basements and crawl spaces because they’re closest to the ground. Some building materials, like concrete and wallboard, are made from natural substances that give off radon. So are granite countertops. However the amount these sources give off is mostly low. They might raise the radon level in your home, though not likely to dangerous levels.
Is it Harmful?
When you breathe in radon, it gets into the lining of your lungs and gives off radiation. Over a long time, that can damage the cells there and lead to lung cancer. Radon is the second biggest cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking. If you breathe a lot of radon and smoke, your chance of getting lung cancer is very high.
What exactly do you install to lower/eliminate radon?
We basically have two types of systems we install. One of the systems we call is the drain tile method, and that is where we install a PVC pipe inside the crock pit (where sump pump is), and draw the gas out by installing a fan system on the exterior of the home. This method is drawing the gas from the drain
tile inside your home.
The second system is what we call a core drill method. This method is where we cut a 3-4 inch hole out
in the basement floor and proceed to remove soil, stone, clay, etc.. and install the PVC pipe inside the
hole we cut. Then we proceed to install a fan system to draw the gas out. Both systems are great, it just
depends on the layout of the house and what homeowner feels is the best fit for him.
What is the standard number drawn from a test recommending installation?
Radon is measured in picocuries. Anything higher than 4 picocuries, or 4 pCi/L, requires action.
There are products on the open market that claim to reduce/eliminate radon. What’s the difference
between these store bought products and a mitigation system?
These products might reduce the radon levels a little or might help to keep more radon from entering
the home, but they will not reduce the levels enough if you have radon above 4.0. If your home tests
above the 4.0 levels you are going to want to install a radon mitigation system, where a fan system is
discharging the radon gas out of the home. These radon fans with run 24/7.
How long does it take to install a system and what’s the warranty?
It will take us anywhere from 1.5-3 hours to complete a radon mitigation system. We have life time
warranty on our radon mitigation systems.
The cost of a radon mitigation system?
Our radon systems range from $800-$1200. We are family owned and always tell our customers we will
beat any competitors price.
Thank you Craig and Kyle for this useful information! When looking at a house, don’t be afraid to ask about radon in the area or if you should have the house tested. This is a section on your offer to purchase, so make sure you have a good idea of what it means before glancing over it.