What is Radon?
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is present in every home in Nebraska and Iowa. You cannot see, smell, or taste it. Yet at high levels, it can cause serious health problems to your family members. The EPA estimates that 1 out of every 15 homes has a dangerous level of radon, leading to an increased likelihood of lung cancer and other related lung problems.
Because of the health risks and high incidence of radon, the EPA recommends you have your home tested for radon. This article explains when and how often is the best time for radon testing.
Where Does Radon Come From?
The primary source of radon is from the soil and groundwater surrounding the home’s foundation. Radon gas typically enters a home through dirt floors, cracks in foundation walls and floors, and gaps around drains, pipes and sump pumps. Therefore, it is most likely to be present in the basement or lower levels of your home. In rare cases, radon is contained in groundwater that enters through the water system.
Should I Test My Home?
Absolutely! Radon is a naturally occurring gas and is present in every home. As radon gas decays, it becomes a radioactive particle that can get trapped in your lungs and release radioactive energy that causes damage to lung tissue. It is the leading cause of cancer in non-smokers and increases cancer risk in smokers.
Radon can be present at elevated levels in all types of homes, whether they are old or new, well-insulated or drafty. Both the EPA and Surgeon General have recommended testing every home for radon once every two years or at any time there are major structural changes in the home. It is the only way to know if you and your family are at increased risk for lung cancer.
When Should I Do Radon Testing?
When doing short-term testing for radon, your home must be completely closed for 12 hours before testing and during the 48 hours of testing. While it is fine to enter and leave your home, all doors and windows leading to the outside must be kept closed. Because of this, it is best to run radon tests while running heating and cooling systems or when it is otherwise comfortable enough in your home without opening doors or windows.
While running long-term radon testing in your home, you do not need to keep your home closed. Long term testing is usually run for a period of 91 days to an entire year. This is the best way to obtain overall radon exposure levels. You might consider running one long-term test in the spring and then running another one during a different heating/cooling season to understand the seasonal effects of radon. It isn’t expensive or difficult to test for radon, and it’s the only way to know if your family is safe.
Times of Change
According to the EPA, you should also do radon testing in response to any major changes in your home or the surrounding soil, for example:
- After any major renovation that might change the ventilation system or underlying soil
- Before converting a basement to a living space where high levels of radon may already be residing
- After any event affecting the ground beneath the building, such as a flood, earthquake, plumbing installation, or nearby excavation
When Should I Hire a Professional?
Do you still have questions about radon and radon testing? Contact a professional, such as Jerry’s Waterproofing. We can advise you about where and when to run radon tests in your home. If you do have a high level of radon, don’t worry, we are also experienced at radon mitigation so that you can be certain your family is safe. Contact us today.