Unraveling Radon Why Radon Testing in Your Home is Important


As a homeowner, you can often quickly identify issues in your home that may be costing you money or even doing your family harm. You can hear the pesky drip of water from your leaky bathroom faucet, see mold growing in the corners of your basement, or small gas in your kitchen and know that you have an immediate problem.
However, there are some home diseases that come with no obvious symptoms. Radon is one of them.
What is radon? Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that can’t be seen or smelled. In the outdoors, radon levels rarely reach unsafe levels but, in the home, it can become harmful to your family and pets. This gas has been linked to lung cancer development, especially in smokers and others with vulnerable respiratory systems. In extreme cases, someone experiencing radon poisoning would have chest pain, trouble breathing, and the coughing up of blood.
By now, you’ve determined that this gas is scary, but you might be skeptical that radon testing is necessary or feasible for you. Here are three common myths busted about checking for the presence of radon.
1. “I don’t need to test for radon because my home is new and doesn’t have a basement.” This myth follows the premise that older homes or homes with basements are the only ones that are vulnerable to radon exposure. In fact, radon can be found in all homes new or old, basement or none, drafty or well sealed. The gas can come from soil, outside air, water, or bricks, concrete, and rock; while some homes offer more gateways for unsafe levels of radon to develop–such as a dirt floor cellar or old, drafty windows–that doesn’t mean having a new home puts you in the clear for radon in your home.
2. “I can’t afford to hire someone to test for radon.” You don’t have to hire anyone! Residential radon testing is fairly inexpensive, ranging from $10 to $50 depending on the home improvement retailer and brand you choose. You may also choose between two different kinds of tests: long term radon testing (which takes 90 days or longer to generate results) or short term radon testing, which can give you a result after anywhere between two and 90 days. The home kits can guide you on where to place the tester, when to gather results and what to do with the information it gives you.
3. “I already tested my home a long time ago and the radon levels are low enough that my home is fine.” No level of radon in the home is safe. The Environmental Protection Agency urges you to take action and call professionals if the radon testing kit reads a level of 4 or higher, but any levels above 2 and below 4 are concerning enough that you should regularly test the radon levels in your house to keep you and your loved ones safe.