Something dangerous could be lurking in your home. You cannot see or taste it, but it could be there. The good news is that testing for this dangerous squatter is inexpensive and easy. The unwanted guest is radon.
What is it?
Radon is a cancer-causing, invisible radioactive gas. It is the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air. Unfortunately it can get into any building. Typically radon moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home traps the radon inside and it builds up. Even new-built homes can have radon.
What does it do?
The Surgeon General has declared that radon has been known to cause lung cancer; only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths. Not everyone exposed to radon will get lung cancer, but the risks are high because you spend a lot of time in your home. Smoking increases your risks. Obviously the best way to avoid radon and its harmful effects is to get rid of the radon.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encourages all homeowners—or potential homeowners—to test their residences for radon gas.
There are several ways to rid your home of radon. DIY kits are available online or you can buy kits from hardware or other retail stores. Go to this website to order a kit. Short-term kits are $15; long-term kits are $25. Follow the instructions on your kit and return to the manufacturer for analysis at no extra charge.
If the test results prove little to no radon, congratulations! You might want to retest in a few months to make sure the results are the same. However, if the test results prove that your home has radon gas, here are some ways to rid of the dangerous gas. First, find an authorized contractor that will help you get rid of this unwanted dweller.
The EPA recommends using methods that prevent radon from entering your home. Soil suction is one of those. It draws the radon from below the home and venting it through a pipe to the air above the home where it is diluted.
Let the contractor perform diagnostic tests to decide which method will be the best to reduce the most radon and give a healthy, long-term result.
If you have any questions about any part of this process, go to EPA.gov.