Radon Testing and Upstate New York
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that results from the breakdown of uranium in the earth. You can not see, smell or taste radon.
Significant levels of radon in a home can lead to lung cancer. In fact, radon is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S.
Radon enters the home through tiny cracks in the foundation and can then be “trapped” in the home; especially during the winter months where there is little ventilation and it cannot escape naturally through open windows and doors.
While radon exists in varying concentrations across the U.S. the EPA recommends all homes that are sold in the U.S. be tested for radon regardless of the levels in that region.
While that EPA policy is certainly a “it’s better to be safe than sorry” approach, the EPA and New York state have designated 37 counties in New York as being at high risk. With most counties in upstate NY on that list.
Onondaga County & Radon
Central NY and particularly Onondaga county have high radon levels. The map below illustrates the likelihood of radon test to produce a result of 4 pCi/L or higher; this is the level which the EPA recommends taking corrective action.
Even within Onondaga county radon levels differ wildly from town to town. Camillus and Manlius tend to have fairly high radon levels while towns like Clay and Cicero do not. That being said the only way to be sure if radon affects a specific property is by testing for it.
Should you get a Radon test?
If you live in Central NY it’s recommended.
Fortunately If your future home tests for high radon levels it’s an easy fix. Because high radon is so common in CNY it’s fairly standard for the home-seller to agree to pay for the work to resolve it.
The solution for high radon levels is to install a Radon Mitigation System. A radon contractor will drill through the basement floor and connect PVC piping and fan system to the outside of the home, pulling the Radon contaminated air out of the ground before it seeps in the home. A typical radon mitigation project will cost roughly $1500.