The Importance Of Testing Your Home For Radon

According to the National Cancer Institute, up to 22,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States are caused by radon. Some of these deaths occur in people who are nonsmokers. The good news is, that even though radon is colorless and odorless, there are ways to detect it. Doing so can greatly reduce the risk of getting radon-related lung cancer.

What Is Radon?

Radon is a radioactive gas that gets produced when uranium in the soil starts to decay. For homes that are sitting on soil that has large amounts of uranium, it increases the chances of radon leaking into the home. Leaking can occur when there are cracks in the foundation of the home. Once the gas gets trapped, it becomes dangerous.

If your home is well insulated or tightly sealed, gas has an increased chance of becoming trapped. One out of 15 homes in the United States are thought to have high levels of radon. Some of the most common symptoms of radon exposure include:

  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing up blood
  • Frequent lung infections
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

Those exhibiting these symptoms might already have lung cancer caused by radon.

Testing for Radon

Because of its prevalence, it's extremely important to get your home tested for radon. Radon is usually measured in units of picocuries per litre (pCi/L). For every 2.7 pCi/L of radon in your home, your risk of getting lung cancer increases by 16%. There are a couple ways to test for radon in your home.

The first option is to get your own long-term radon test kit. These test kits can be purchased online or bought at the hardware store. While there are also short-term radon test kits, the long-term ones can provide more accurate results. The test kit will measure the amount of radon in your home for at least 90 days. Once you're done with it, you will send it in to a specified lab for analysis. They will then contact you to let you know the results.

The second option when it comes to testing for radon is to contact a certified radon measurement professional, who can be found at your local HVAC company. This person will come to your home and install a radon test kit. If they have determined you have radon, they will perform radon remediation services and remove the radon from your home. Winter is the best time to get your home tested for radon.