When it comes to your home, you tend to view your house as a safe place where you are safe, your family safe, your belongings are safe and everything that matters to you is safe.
Chances are good that you do a great job protecting your home, your sanctuary. But even though you might consider your home the safest in the world, there’s a lurking danger that hard to protect from: radon in your home.
You may think “out of sight, out of mind” when it comes to radon, but it can be a very hazardous to your health. It’s a naturally occurring radioactive gas that you can’t see or smelled and it’s been identified by the U.S. Surgeon General as the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. It’s also been estimated by the Surgeon General’s Office that radon is responsible for nearly 20,000 lung cancer deaths annually.
If you think you don’t have to deal with radon in your home, guess again. It’s been estimated that one in three U.S. homes have radon levels that are too high. So what can you do to deal with radon in your home? The simplest answer is to get a radon test kit. You can always use professional radon testing services in your area, but getting a residential radon testing kit works too and you can get them from home improvement stores.
Radon test kits usually come in two forms: short term and long term. Short term kits take between two and 90 days to test and long term kits test for longer than 90 days. In addition, there are two categories of residential radon testing kits, passive which requires no electricity and active, which requires electricity to work.
So what kind of test kits can you buy to test for radon in your home? You can buy devices like charcoal canisters, which absorb radon and then are taken to a lab, which counts radioactive particles. You can also get electret ion detectors, which used a Teflon disc and static charge to determine radon decay.
Assuming you test for radon in your home using a residential test kid, you’re going to want to find a low spot to test it in and avoid anywhere that’s damp. As you test, keep in mind that no amount of radon is “safe,” but ideally you’re looking for a number under four. Anything that shows four or higher and you need to contact professionals. Radon is not something to take lightly or ignore.
Let’s say you test and you do find high levels of radon in your home, what do you do? Using these three steps can help you get it under control:
- Find a contractor: It is possible to lower radon levels in your home, but if those levels are too high you need a professional’s help. It requires the skills and knowledge of a radon mitigation contractor, which you can contact state officials to find since not just anyone can do it.
- Make a plan: When it comes to radon, not all homes are the same, so different homes and different styles of homes have different levels. A contractor can help you figure out the best plan of action, which might involve installing a radon mitigation system. A heat recovery ventilator (HRV) can also be used to reduce radon levels. An HRV pulls in outdoor air to heat or cool a house since outdoor air has lower radon levels.
- Monitor your system: With a radon mitigation system in place in your home, you want to monitor your home’s radon levels every so often. Aside from that, it’s recommended that you have your home rested for radon every few years.
Radon is not something you want to mess with and by testing for radon in your home, you’re being proactive in protecting yourself and your loved ones. There are many residential testing kits you can buy from your local home improvement store and you always ask advice to pick the best one for your home.