Did you know that January is National Radon Action Month? Radon is an odorless, tasteless and colorless gas that is the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoke and the number one leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
Those facts right there highlight why it is so important that you regularly test your house for radon. You can buy at-home test kits to do on your own, but if you are buying or selling a house, you should consider having a professional come in and handle the radon testing for you. That way, you know the results are unbiased and impartial and there is no need to worry that the results have been skewed. If you do a test on your own, there are two types to choose from: short-term and long-term. You can find a radon testing kit at home improvement stores, online or through your state government. Depending on what state you live in, some government agencies will have free or discounted radon testing kits available, and some states will even have a list of contractors that you can contact to have professional radon testing done.
Radon is caused by naturally occurring radioactive gas that is released in water, rock and soil thanks to the natural decay of uranium. It moves through the ground and into your home through cracks and fissures in your home’s foundation. It can also be found in well water, which releases radon through the water when you are showering or using water for other purposes.
If your neighbor’s house was tested for radon and came back with low levels of the gas, this does not mean you can assume your house will have low levels as well. Radon levels vary from house to house, and there are several factors that go into how much radon is in your house. Radon is found everywhere, so the United States Environmental Protection Agency has an action point of 4 pCi/L. If you find that your house has a radon level at that point or higher, you need to look into having a radon mitigation system installed.
Radon is found throughout the entire country in all 50 states. There is no particular type of home that is more or less likely to have high levels of radon. Again, this illustrates why it is so important to regularly test your home for radon and to make sure the house you are thinking of buying is tested for radon as part of the home inspection process.
Sara Fisher independently authors articles for SEM clients like home inspection and radon testing company AmeriSpec Home Inspection Service. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only and not those of any other person, company or organization. No guarantee or warranty, express or implied, is made regarding the accuracy, fitness or use of the content herein. For more information on radon testing, call 952-854-5110.