Radon is a radioactive, invisible gas. It is known as the second leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking and is virtually undetectable without the proper testing. No wonder it’s been scaring homeowners for decades!
Radon contributes to thousands of deaths every year, so it’s a good idea to have your home tested. Radon testing is fairly inexpensive and only takes a few minutes of your time. Ideally, you should test before you buy the house and move in, especially if you’re already having a home inspection done. However, you can buy many radon kits at home improvement stores, allowing you to test anywhere and at any time.
How Does Radon Get into My Home?
Radon is caused by the natural breakdown of uranium in the rocks, dirt, soil, and water underneath your home. After breaking down, it finds its way into your house through pores in the ground, which is why homes with foundation cracks tend to be at the greatest risk.
Although radon can be found in every state in the United States, it’s more common in the northern regions, particularly in the Midwest. Warmer southern climates tend to have less of a problem, but there can still be unhealthy levels in some areas.
When Should I Test My Home?
Experts suggest you test for radon every two years. Radon testing can be easily worked into your regular maintenance schedule because it is relatively inexpensive (DIY kits are around $10, or you can hire companies to test for you for around $100), and because it only takes a few minutes out of your day. Before you purchase a kit, always make sure the test is approved by the EPA so the results are valid.
Radon testing should also occur before you sell a home, buy a home, or anytime you do major structural changes, especially if the air systems or foundation are involved. Although radon reduction systems aren’t as costly as some kinds of home repair (usually a few thousand dollars), it’s nice to know ahead of time what you can expect. Depending on what stage you are in the home buying process, you may be able to negotiate these repairs as part of the purchase.
Take a Deep Breath…and Feel Good About Your Home
Of all the problems your new home could have, radon is one of the easiest to discover and fix—and it takes long-term exposure before there are any real health hazards. If you find your new home has radon, don’t panic. There are steps you can take to control the problem and ensure that your air is safe and breathable for you and your whole family.
Use the above information as a way to safeguard your home and your family against radon. Be sure to check out our Resources page for more information and advice regarding moving. If you’d like to schedule a free, in-home estimate, check out our estimate form!