Every home in Rochester should be tested for Radon, and if you haven’t had your home tested, have it done. Radon is a gas formed by the breakdown of uranium and radium, both of which are found in high levels in some areas of Rochester.
Radon gas is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, and is the second leading cause of cancer in America. Every home is susceptible to radon, and I can tell you from experience that there are a large number of homes in the area with high radon levels.
Some homes are at higher risk for radon than others. Radon enters in to a home through any openings in a basement to the earth, such as cracks in the floor or walls, sump baskets, openings in the top of block walls, etc. Homes that have uncovered crawl spaces would be especially susceptible to radon gas, but even obvious factors cannot be used to make a determination – every home really does need to be tested.
Radon is a very random thing; two houses built right next to each other, with identical construction, could have completely different radon levels.
If a high radon level is found in a home, it is best to contact a mitigation company to correct the higher levels. The most common way of reducing radon in a home is to install a sub-slab pump, which relieves the soil gas pressure below the home.
Mitigation systems typically cost about $1500, but there can be a wide range in prices. The photo below shows the pipe going in to the basement, and the fan that pulls gases out from beneath the slab. This is a very unusual system because most are almost completely hidden from view, but I love this photo because it clearly shows how the system works.