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Residential and Commercial Inspections

Michigan Radon Gas


Radon is a radioactive gas that has been found in homes all over the state of Michigan. Radon gas comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Radon can also enter your home through well water.

You cannot see, smell, or taste radon. But it still may be a problem in your home, regardless of where it's located in Michigan. When you breathe air containing radon, you increase your risk of getting lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General of the United States has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high, especially if you live in the southern section of Michigan, colored red on the map or in Oakland County, Lapeer County, Genesee County, or any other county colored orange on the map below.Surveys conducted by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Indoor Radon Program indicate that about 12% of the homes in Michigan are in excess of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency's action level of 4.0 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). In some counties, as many as 40-45% of the homes may have levels exceeding that guideline. Radon is estimated to cause about 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year.                                                                                    


 "Indoor radon gas is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and breathing it over prolonged periods can present a significant health risk to families all over the country. It's important to know that this threat is completely preventable. Radon can be detected with a simple test and fixed through well-established venting techniques."

Surgeon Generals Statement Regarding Radon Gas
January 2005

Any home can have a radon problem. The EPA recommends that you know what the indoor radon level is in any home you consider buying. Great Lakes Home & Property Inspections performs hundreds of NRSB and NEHA compliant radon measurements tests through out South East Michigan yearly.

At Great Lakes Home & Property Inspections, we understand that time is of the essence regarding your real estate transaction. That's one of the many reasons we use continuous radon measurement equipment. This provides our clients with a detailed analysis of the hourly and overall radon levels in your home and provides results in as little as 48 hours. Charcoal canisters do not offer these benefits, since the need to be analyzed by a testing laboratory, which may delay your transaction. 

 If you're having a house built, especially in the red or orange zones, you can learn about EPA's Model Standards (and architectural drawings) and explain the techniques to your builder. If your new house was built (or will be built) to be radon-resistant, it will include these basic elements:
1. Gas-Permeable Layer: This layer is placed beneath the slab or flooring system to allow the soil gas to move freely underneath the house. In many cases, the material used is a 4-inch layer of clean gravel. This gas-permeable layer is used only in homes with basement and slab-on-grade foundations; it is not used in homes with crawlspace foundations.
2. Plastic Sheeting: Plastic sheeting is placed on top of the gas-permeable layer and under the slab to help prevent the soil gas from entering the home. In crawl spaces, the sheeting (with seams sealed) is placed directly over the crawlspace floor.
3. Sealing and Caulking: All below-grade openings in the foundation and walls are sealed to reduce soil gas entry into the home.
4. Vent Pipe: A 3- or 4-inch PVC pipe (or other gas-tight pipe) runs from the gas-permeable layer through the house to the roof, to safely vent radon and other soil gases to the outside.
5. Junction Boxes: An electrical junction box is included in the attic to make the wiring and installation of a vent fan easier. For example, you decide to activate the passive system because your test result showed an elevated radon level (4 pCi/L or more). A separate junction box is placed in the living space to power the vent fan alarm. An alarm is installed along with the vent fan to indicate when the vent fan is not operating properly.

EPA recommends that you take action to reduce your home's indoor radon levels if your radon test result is 4 pCi/L or higher. It is better to correct a radon problem before placing your home on the market because then you have more time to address a radon problem. If elevated levels are found during the real estate transaction, the buyer and seller should discuss the timing and costs of the radon reduction. The cost of making repairs to reduce radon levels depends on how your home was built and other factors. Most homes can be fixed for about the same cost as other common home repairs, like painting or having a new hot water heater installed. The average cost for a contractor to lower radon levels in a home can range from $800 to about $1,500.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact us


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I just want to say thank you for your time and patience and to let you know that my agent was pleased with your work also and plan to use you for his future clients. The report we received from you was terrific, it was clear and easy to understand. Thanks for a remarkable job.
Ghvonna M Gilbert Detroit MI

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