Homes can have many health hazards like molds. However, theyand#39;re easy to detect, allowing you to get rid of them sooner. But with radon gas, youand#39;ll never know until you do some specialized testing.
Radon gas is present in every American home. While not all homes have high and unsafe levels, about one in 15 U.S. homes are estimated to have radon levels at or above the EPA action level.
Fortunately, there are kits you can use when testing for radon. There are also companies that provide radon mitigation services. Between the two, a residential radon testing service is always a better choice.
When exposed to radon gas, you breathe in a radioactive gas that slowly destroys your lungs. Itand#39;s undetectable by the human senses. In recent studies, around 20,000 cases of lung cancer every year are attributed to radon gas.
Read on and discover more about radon and radon testing methods:
How Radon Enters Your Home
Before learning how to test radon, itand#39;s crucial to know how this radioactive gas enters the house first.
Radon gas is a byproduct of decomposing uranium in the soil. These gases usually collect in igneous rocks, groundwater, and soil.
Even if you have a concrete basement, this gas can seep through small cracks. It can also come from your backyard or front lawn.
Fortunately, radon atoms donand#39;t live long. In a few days, it turns into a lead atom which means itand#39;s no longer radioactive. However, if a considerable amount accumulates inside a home, you and your family could inhale the radon gas before it dissipates.
Here are some of the common ways a radon gas can enter your home:
- Sump pumps
- Exposed soil
- Loose-fitting pipes
- Cracks in basement floors
Blocking these entryways is one of the best courses of action. However, if these openings have been around in your home for years, radon gas may have accumulated already. A residential radon testing service can help you identify vulnerable locations in your home.
How to Test for Radon Levels
Since you canand#39;t see or smell radon, youand#39;ll need special equipment to detect it. The U.S. Surgeon General, along with U.S. EPA, recommends all homes undergo testing for radon.
You can use it with DIY test kits or through a residential radon testing service. If you plan on doing it yourself, you need to make sure that you purchase an EPA-approved home test kit.
Using short-term detectors can help you measure radon levels from 2 days up to 90 days, depending on the device. However, the best method should be long-term, though. Radon levels can fluctuate depending on outdoor conditions, such as time of day or weather.
Choosing to go with longer testing can provide better results, averaging year-round radon levels in your home.
Types of Radon Test Devices
There are two categories of radon testing devices: active and passive. They can either perform direct detection or focus on byproducts of radioactive decay.
Passive radon testing devices trap radon and its byproducts for later analysis. The results are usually sent to a laboratory for analysis. Here are some of the passive devices available to use:
- Charcoal canisters. This type of device absorbs radon using charcoal. Charcoal liquid scintillation is also another version of this tool. When sent to a laboratory, they will use a specific type of equipment to determine radon levels collected on the charcoal.
- Alpha track detectors: These devices make use of a plastic film that records alpha particles that comes into contact with the film. Laboratory technicians will use a specific type of chemical to make the particles visible and count them.
- Electret ion detectors: This type of tool has a statically-charged Teflon disc. Every time a radon particle hits the disc, the charge goes down. When sent to a lab, they will measure how much reduction occurred to determine radon levels.
Active devices, on the other hand, monitors radon continuously. They eliminate the time required when sending to the lab and the analysis period. However, this type of radon testing device is more expensive and requires a residential radon testing service.
Choose Professional Radon Testing Service
While you can do radon testing yourself, itand#39;s always better to go with a residential radon testing service offered by your local radon testing. Colorado and all other states have professionals with proper training and certification, ensuring that every test is done correctly.