Insights and tips on how to protect your inn or bed & breakfast, giving you and your guests peace of mind.

Ward, Hayden
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How to Eliminate Radon From Your Inn or Bed & Breakfast

A man installing a pipe to help with radon ventilation.

Radon, a naturally occurring, radioactive gas is estimated to be present in one out of every 15 U.S. homes in the United States. It’s colorless, tasteless and odorless, and can result in serious adverse health effects — in fact, it’s the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States next to smoking, according to the U.S. Surgeon General.   

January is National Radon Action Month, and it reminds us of the importance of checking our properties for this silent threat. Whether your inn or bed and breakfast is an older property or a new build, radon doesn’t discriminate. Radon might be hiding in your property without you even realizing it.

How Does Radon Enter?

There are two main sources of radon in a property's indoor air: the soil and the water supply. Compared to radon entering through water, radon entering through the soil is usually a much larger risk. Since the air pressure inside is typically lower than the pressure in the soil around the foundation, the property acts like a vacuum and draws radon in through cracks in the foundation. Radon decays into solids, not gases, and can stick to surfaces, which can settle on furnishings, floors, walls, and other materials and dust particles suspended in the air. Inhaling dust contaminated with radon can expose people to radon particles. The radon in a water supply poses an inhalation risk and an ingestion risk.

When to Test for Radon

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon gas levels can vary by day, season and geographic area. Although only some states have laws about testing and disclosing a property’s radon level, unacceptable levels of radon can inhibit efforts to sell, transfer or finance a property, and can expose a property owner to resident complaints and habitability claims. Fortunately, there are ways you can detect radon and limit its harmful effects, such as testing your inn or bed and breakfast for it.

The EPA recommends testing for radon if:

  • The property was never tested.
  • The property hasn’t been tested in more than two years.
  • The property has been renovated since it was last tested.
  • You plan to occupy a lower level of the property than what was originally tested, such as the basement.
  • You plan to finish, renovate or alter lower levels (e.g., cellars and basements) that were not previously tested.

Testing for Radon at Your Inn or Bed and Breakfast

To test a property for radon, you can order a kit by mail from a qualified radon measurement service provider, purchase a radon kit from a local hardware store or hire a qualified radon tester (often also a property inspector).

If a radon test reveals that your property’s level is dangerous, you can install a radon mitigation system.  A qualified radon-reduction contractor can often install a system in less than a day. If your water source has high levels of radon as well, a point-of-entry treatment device can be installed to reduce emissions.

How to Remediate Radon

Fortunately, even very high levels of radon can be effectively remediated. If a radon test reveals an issue in your bed and breakfast or inn, you should take immediate action by working with a qualified radon-reduction professional to install a mitigation system. If your property’s water has high levels of radon, installing a water treatment instrument is necessary. Other typical methods of remediation are sealing cracks and other openings in the foundation and the installation of a vent and fan system.

Clear the Air With CBIZ Innkeepers Insurance

Radon safety is not an option but a necessity. Make your inn or bed and breakfast a safer place for all by reducing risks and ensuring peace of mind. For additional safety guidance and insurance solutions for your business, connect with a member of our team.

This blog may contain scenarios that are provided as examples only. Coverage is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy issued. The information provided is general in nature and may be affected by changes in law or the interpretation of such laws. The reader is advised to contact a professional prior to taking any action based upon this information.

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CBIZ Innkeepers Insurance, a division of CBIZ Insurance Services, Inc., is the largest insurer of innkeeper businesses in the United States. As part of an $850 million New York Stock Exchange traded company (CBZ), we developed a specific policy coverage to meet the needs for inns and bed & breakfasts, and the amenities offered by these businesses. Our policy is underwritten by an A.M. Best Rated A++ (Superior) company.

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