You want your home to be a safe place for family and friends to spend time. Regular house cleaning improves air quality and working smoke detectors will alert you to fire. Radon is a hazardous substance that is impossible to detect with the senses. Here are 4 important things to know about radon in the home.

What is Radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring gas that is a byproduct of the breakdown of radioactive materials in the soil. This gas seeps up through the earth and can enter a house through tiny cracks. Radon gas can accumulate in the home, and breathing in high concentrations causes lung cancer. Have your property tested to make sure you are not breathing dangerous levels of radon. Levels of 4pCi/L are considered unsafe.

Radon in the Home

One of the misconceptions about radon is that it only exists in specific parts of the country. High levels can be found in many areas of the United States and affect both new and old construction. Radon can enter a home through a variety of means: cracks in the foundation, gaps in walls, holes around plumbing pipes, and even in the water supply. Without adequate ventilation, the concentration of the gas can rise to dangerous levels over time.

Why Radon in the Home is Dangerous

Beyond being a radioactive gas, radon is especially dangerous because it is colorless and odorless. Radon primarily affects the lungs. Exposure to this gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer, following cigarette smoking. Estimates suggest that roughly 21,000 people die each year from radon-related cancer, making it a top cancer-causing agent. The likelihood of developing cancer from radon exposure increases if you are also a smoker. Although any radon detected in the home is a cause for concern, radon levels that meet or exceed 4 picocuries per liter of air increase the likelihood of someone in the home developing cancer.

Test for Radon Gas

Radon can only be detected via an in-home test. Short-term testing measures levels for less than 90 days and long-term testing records levels for 90 days are longer. Both are valid ways to gauge the amount of radon in your home. For best results, hire a professional to perform the test. A trained pro will know best how to administer the test and how to interpret the results. If the test shows your home has high levels, there are a variety of measures that you can use to reduce exposure. Have a mitigation system designed and installed. These usually include pipes and fans to vent the gas to the outdoors. In addition, you can increase ventilation throughout your home. Brightview Home Inspections provides inspections, including radon testing, to customers in Saint Joseph, MO, and the surrounding areas. Contact us to request our services.