Radon is a colorless and odorless gas that is radioactive by nature; it occurs when uranium gradually decays underground. In some areas where radium content is high, radon gas can seep into homes (especially those with basements). If you live in an area with elevated radon levels, it's important to understand the risks and what you can do to protect yourself (and any loved ones living under your roof).
High Radon Levels Can Cause Cancer
The issue with radon entering your home is that when it does, it can become trapped. This is most common in homes where windows and doors are closed for large portions of the year, such as during the winter months. Radon gas can enter through basement sewers and sump pumps, cracks in foundation, crawl spaces, and other gaps. Sadly, long-term exposure to high radon levels is known to cause lung cancer.
Multiple Testing Options Are Available
If you're concerned about potential radon in your home, there are different testing options to consider based on your needs and budget. Store-bought test kits are easy to use and can be placed in the lowest level of your home (such as a basement). From there, you mail in your test to a lab and wait to receive results. Store-bought radon test kits can be short-term (usually about a week) or long-term (usually more than a month). The longer the test sits in your home, the more accurate the results will be.
There are also radon tests that can plug directly into a wall outlet and provide a continuous radon level reading.
There Are Ways to Lower Radon
Generally, a high level of radon is considered to be 4 picoCuries per liter or higher. The good news is that if your home does have high radon levels, there are steps you can take to reduce or mitigate this gas. This can be done by installing a mitigation system that consists of a vent pipe and a radon fan that draws radon gas out and away from your home. In addition to a radon mitigation system, you may also want to seal any gaps around the perimeter of your home and install covers on sump pumps.
While most homes have some radon gas, high levels can be dangerous. By taking the time to test for radon in your home and mitigate if needed, you can enjoy added peace of mind.