Testing Your Home For Dangerous Radon Gas

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Many threats exist to a modern American house and the family living inside it. Common hazards such as carbon monoxide or fires are well known, and there are many ways to detect these problems early and take care of them, ranging from smoke or carbon monoxide detectors to fire extinguishers to security cameras to deter burglars. But another threat that many Americans may not be aware of is radon. This is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that is often found in nature, and this heavy element tends to rise up from the ground and get into the air. Unfortunately, many houses today are built over sites where a lot of radon gas may be found, and this results in radon gas leaking into a home’s basement and lower levels slowly but surely over time. But a homeowner is not helpless in the face of radon gas. Hiring a radon testing contractor allows a concerned homeowner to find out if their home is in danger, and a radon testing contractor will provide and set up a radon testing device that will sit in the home and gather air samples. Just how often do homes suffer from unsafe radon gas levels? When should a radon testing contractor be hired?

On Radon

This is no ordinary element. It is radioactive and therefore dangerous, and if its concentration in a home’s air gets high enough, it can cause serious adverse health effects ranging from shortness of breath to chest pain and even lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General has since announced to the public that radon gas poisoning is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today, and lung cancer can kill. Scientists and the EPA estimate that thousands of deaths, nearly 20,000 of them, happen every year due to radon-induced cancerous growths. Another way to put it is this: a family whose home is constantly exposed to radon gas levels of 4pCi/l is being exposed to 35 times more radiation than the Nuclear Regulatory Commission would allow if that family were standing at the fence of a radioactive waste site. Just how many homes are affected by this dangerous gas? Nearly one in 15 American homes today are believed to be at or above the EPA’s action level for radon gas, and a homeowner who suspects radon gas, or someone who wants to take the initiative, can get a radon testing contractor on board to deal with this invisible threat.

Testing and Radon Mitigation

Radon in your home is difficult to detect until adverse health effects present themselves, and it is unlikely that any household would want to suffer that just to detect radon. If their area is known for having a lot of radon in the ground, a family can contact a radon testing contractor who will provide a radon testing kit and set it up. These tests can also be purchased at hardware stores or even online at the correct websites. These testing units will sit in the home and gather air samples over time, then send this data to a testing facility that will analyze it and send the results to the homeowner.

A short-term test will be completed in under 90 days, and may be the best option if a homeowner suspects radon gas in the home and feels that time is of the essence. This test is finished sooner than a long-term test, but the test’ accuracy may be slightly impacted by this testing method. Long-term testing, meanwhile, will take longer than 90 days, but the increased air exposure allows the testing unit to send data that leads to a more accurate analysis. This method may be used if the homeowner is simply taking the initiative and is testing for radon, whether or not they suspect that radon gas is in the home’s air.

If radon is found, radon mitigation equipment can be set up to clear out and recycle the home’s air, and this can also be done when the doors and windows are opened and air is removed from the home and fresh air comes in. This is not a permanent fix, but for the time being, it lowers the radon level below the danger level.

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