Exposure to radon is linked to a higher risk of cancer, so avoiding radon as much as possible is a good idea. You can't avoid radon completely since it is found in the earth and in the air. However, you don't want the gas to collect in your house, where you could breathe it daily for years.
If you're buying a new house or an old one, it's a good idea to have it tested for radon and to verify if it has a radon mitigation system installed. If you live in a house now that's never been tested for radon, you may want to have a test done so you know if you're being exposed to the gas. Here is some information about radon and how to have your home tested for it.
How Radon Gets In Your Home
Radon is a gas that has no color or odor, so it's not possible to detect it unless you have a test done. It seeps up through the soil underneath your house and enters your home. It can get through a concrete slab, a dirt floor crawlspace, and a basement floor and walls. Even more radon can enter your home through unsealed openings such as a sump pump or cracks in the foundation. Radon can then collect in your home, so you breathe a much higher concentration of it than you would outside.
Radon levels in your house can even fluctuate. If you keep the windows open in the spring and fall, the levels might be lower than they are in the winter and summer when your house is sealed tight and you're running the HVAC.
How To Test For Radon
You can do a short-term and long-term radon test. Work with a home radon testing company and have them explain all the testing options. A short-term test collects samples for up to a week before the radon testing company sends the sample to the lab. This gets you results fairly fast when you're concerned about your health.
A long-term test can give you a better idea of the radon levels in your home across different seasons. These tests can last several months, and it's a good idea to get samples during the winter when you're running your HVAC and in milder weather when you're not using heat or air conditioning.
How Often To Have Radon Testing
Home radon testing isn't something you do once and forget about. If you make changes to your home, such as have foundation repairs done, it's a good idea to get a repeat radon test. Even if you don't make any changes, you might want to repeat the test after a few years so you can compare values, especially if your original test is on the high side.
Check with your state's health department for the recommended frequency of radon testing in your area, since some geographical areas have more radon than others.
What To Do If The Results Are High
If you ever get high test results, then it's time to talk to a radon mitigation company about what you can do to lower radon in your home. There are ways to deal with the gas safely so your health isn't in danger. Since radon can be anywhere and the levels fluctuate in homes, moving to another place to escape radon isn't the best idea since it may show up in a different home too.
For more information about radon home testing, contact a local service.