If radon gas is in your home, it's something you want to be aware of - and eradicate as soon as possible for your family's health and safety.
Typically, this odorless, colorless gas enters homes through the soil, cracks in the foundation, or gaps in your home's flooring.
Why is detecting and eradicating radon important?
Well for starters, radon exposure and cancer deaths go hand in hand. Trapped inside your home, radon gas can build to dangerous levels.
Here's how to determine whether or not radon gas is present in your home, and what to do about this radioactive gas.
You can't smell it or see it, but it can lead to lung cancer. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water and can get into your house through cracks in floors and walls and gaps made by plumbing pipes and electrical wiring.
About 1 in 15 homes has high levels. You can check for radon with a home test kit, or ask a professional.
Trapped inside, it can build to dangerous radon levels.
You can check whether the radon levels are elevated in your home with a radon test kit (available online and at hardware stores).
An inexpensive test kit can put your mind at ease; or alert you to radon levels that warrants professional eradication. These short-term tests remain in your home for anywhere from 2 to 90 days, depending on the device.
The most common short-term radon tests are charcoal canisters, alpha track, electric ion chamber, continuous monitors, and charcoal liquid scintillation detectors. If testing shows your result is 4 pCi/L or higher radon levels, take a follow-up test to be sure.
You can follow up with either a long-term test or a second short-term test: For a better understanding of your year-round average radon exposure level, take a long-term test. If you need results quickly, take a second short-term test.
If your first short-term test result is more than twice EPA's 4 pCi/L radon levels, you should take a second short-term test immediately.
From there, once you've confirmed you have a radon exposure problem, you can take steps toward remediation.
There are several proven methods to reduce radon levels in your home, but the one primarily used is a vent pipe system and fan, which pulls radon from beneath the house and vents it to the outside.
This system, known as a soil suction radon reduction system, does not require significant changes to your home. Sealing foundation cracks and other openings makes this kind of system more effective and cost-efficient.
If there is radon in your water supply, it poses an inhalation risk and an ingestion risk.
However, most of the risk from radon in water comes from gas released into the air when water is used for showering and other household purposes. If you've tested the air in your home and found a radon problem, hire a certified radon professional to prevent infiltration.