If you're a homeowner, chances are you have heard of radon. But do you know what it is and how to test for it? Radon is an odorless, colorless, naturally-occurring, and poisonous gas that can enter your home through the foundation or other openings in the home. It can be dangerous if inhaled in high concentrations over prolonged periods, so it's important to know how to detect radon and mitigate the risk. Here's a look at the basics of radon testing and mitigation.
What Is Radon?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identifies radon as a known carcinogen stating that it "can cause lung cancer." It can enter homes through cracks in floors, walls, or foundations, as well as through gaps around service pipes. Because it is odorless and colorless, homeowners must take proactive steps to test their homes for the presence of this dangerous gas. Additionally, while radon is located throughout the United States, it occurs in 'pockets,' meaning your house could have it, but your neighbor's house may not have it.
How Do You Test for Radon?
Fortunately, testing for radon is relatively easy and inexpensive. The most common method used in residences is a short-term test kit that collects air from inside the home, typically in the basement. These kits are available online or in stores inexpensively and then sent to a laboratory for analysis.
It is common to test for radon as part of the home inspection process when you buy a home, but you can test at any point to assure your family's safety.
What Is a Radon Mitigation System?
If elevated radon levels are found in your home's air sample results—over 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter)—you need to install a mitigation system that will help reduce levels below 2 pCi/L, which is considered within the acceptable range by the EPA.
A radon mitigation system uses small fans connected to sealed pipes to exhaust high concentrations of radon gas away from living areas and to prevent radon from coming back into your home. While a radon mitigation system is highly effective at keeping radon out of your home, re-testing the air annually is important.
Radon mitigation systems are important components for any homeowner looking to safeguard their family from long-term health risks associated with elevated concentrations of this invisible gas inside their residence. Fortunately, testing for radon and installing a radon mitigation system is relatively easy.
For more information about radon mitigation systems, contact a local professional.