Are you a home owner? If so, have you considered radon testing it? Radon testing and inspections is the sort of thing you often don’t know you need to know about until it’s too late and the damage has been done.
If this is the first you’ve heard of this, and you’ve never even considered bringing in residential radon testing services to make sure you home is safe to live in, you should keep reading. We’ve put together a quick guide to everything you need to know about radon testing.
Frequently Asked Questions About Radon Testing
- What in the world is radon, and where is it found?
Radon is a gas that uranium produces as it breaks down and decays. It can be found almost anywhere — virtually every type of soil has at least some level of radon in it. There is even a trace amount of radon in the air we breath in and out, every day. Radon has no smell or color, and when it is found in the open air, it does not have much of an impact on our health.
- If radon is so abundant and harmless to us, why should anyone test for radon in their home?
While radon in the environment does not pose a risk to us, the danger comes when radon seeps into an enclosed area (such as your home). Once there, it gets trapped, and people who spend time in the area unknowingly breath in concentrated amounts of radon. When a person is exposed to high levels of radon for extensive lengths of time, it can lead to lung cancer. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that approximately 21,000 people in the United States succumb to lung cancer caused by exposure to radon every single year. That high of a statistic nears epidemic levels.
- How does radon begin seeping into the home?
Since radon is found in virtually every type of soil, and homes are (obviously) built on soil, radon tends to leak into the home from the soil through cracks in the foundation or walls of the structure. Even if a home doesn’t have any cracks in the structure, it is possible for radon to transfer through concrete. It just depends on how the materials that make your home interact with the particular kind of soil it is built on. In fact, two houses immediately next to each other could have starkly different levels of radon. The best way to know if your home has high levels of radon is to test it.
- How does a homeowner go about testing their home for radon?
There are several different method for testing for radon in your home:
- Short-term tests. A short-term test is a quick, easy and inexpensive way to see if you should take further measures to protect your home from radon. Short-term tests are found at most supermarkets and home or hardware stores. You simply put the test in the lowest room in your home (closest to the soil) that anyone spends at least eight hours in per day. After two to seven days (depending on the test), you mail it back to the lab. Once it is analyzed, you’re contacted with the results.
- Long-term radon tests. Long-term radon tests measure the radon levels in the area they are testing for three to twelve months. These tests are more accurate at analyzing the average radon levels you are being exposed to over an extended period time. Radon levels in your home tend to fluctuate from one day to the next, depending on the weather, moisture in the soil, air pressure and so on. A short-term test can’t distinguish if you have a legitimate radon issue or it was just a bad day in the world of radon. These tests can be found through state radon agencies.
- Continuous radon tests. A continuous radon test is a simple contraption that gets plugged into your outlet and gives you a running average of the radon levels in your home from one day to the next, so you are alerted if they rise abruptly.
Do you have any other questions about radon testing? Please share them in comment section below.