All homes run the risk of developing a dangerous buildup of a carcinogenic gas called radon. Too much radon in a house can create a major health concern for the occupants of the home. Since radon is odorless and colorless, the only way to know if the cancer-causing gas is present in your home is to perform a test. It is crucial to have your home regularly tested for radon levels - the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that the test is conducted at least every two years. Here are some fast facts about radon and how the testing process works.
1) What exactly is radon, and why is testing so important?
Radon is a radioactive gas that is created when uranium decays and breaks down. Radon is found naturally in soil, rocks, water, and even the air we breathe at extremely low levels. It becomes especially dangerous when the gas travels upwards from the ground and through any cracks or holes in your home's foundation. It can also come in through well water. Any house is susceptible to radon exposure. Once inside your home, radon can end up trapped and create elevated radon levels. Living with radon in the enclosed environment of your house for too long can lead to lung cancer. For this reason, it's vital to test for the gas and indicate exactly how much radon has accumulated in your home. If the levels are extremely high, you can take steps to minimize your exposure, including installing a mitigation system that helps ventilate your home properly.
2) There are two main kinds of radon tests.
You can choose a radon test kit that falls into one of two categories based on the duration of time that the test is in place: short-term or long-term. Short-term kits are typically in place for no longer than a week. These kits can be found at hardware stores. Long-term tests, on the other hand, remain in the home for at least 3 months. These tests are available through state radon agencies. Both types of kits use an activated charcoal material to catch small radon particles that are measured later in a lab.
3) Be sure to hire a qualified service to complete the tests.
While you can certainly carry out the test on your own, it is generally ideal to use a skilled and qualified radon testing service to get the job done instead. A professional service will have access to high-quality testing kits that can produce more reliable results. A knowledgeable technician will also ensure that the testing kits are placed in the right areas in your home, where radon is most often detected. Make sure that you choose a testing service that is licensed and certified to perform the test. It is also a good idea to check the company's credentials, and you should ask if the individual technician has completed relevant training.
To be certain that you know how much of the gas is actually inside your home, you must conduct a radon test. With the results, you can protect your health by making an informed plan to reduce the levels of radon in your living space.