According to the EPA, Georgia leads the Southeast with an average of 822 radon-related deaths yearly. For this reason, regular radon testing is key whether you’re a homeowner or interested in purchasing a home.
No matter where you are in America, your home may be exposed to dangerous radon gas. Radon is a natural, radioactive gas which is produced when uranium in the Earth’s crust decays and turns into radium which in turn becomes radon gas.
Outdoors, radon will naturally dissipate harmlessly into the atmosphere as it rises through the Earth’s crust. But in homes it can become trapped, posing a danger to the health of you and your family. Radon is colorless and odorless, and it is extremely carcinogenic. According to the EPA, radon is one of the leading contributors to the development of lung cancer, behind only smoking.
What Is A Radon Test, And How Does It Work?
Radon testing is the only way to determine if your home has higher-than-average levels of radon. A radon test machine is left in the home for at least 48 hours and measures an average reading over that period. Any result over 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter of air) is considered cause for mitigation. This is the equivalent to smoking half a pack of cigarettes a day.
While at-home test kits are available and are effective, they can take up to 3 weeks to return test results. Hiring a professional such as a home inspector will often provide you with better results, as home inspectors can use higher-quality testing machines, which are calibrated, and place them in areas of your home where elevated radon levels are most likely. Results are normally available within a day.
Why Are Radon Tests Important? Understanding The Benefits
The biggest benefit of radon testing is peace of mind. Radon has no smell, taste, or color, and beyond contributing to the development of lung cancer, radon exposure has no symptoms that can be identified by a doctor. That means a radon test is the only way to make sure your home has a safe level of radon.
Radon tests can also save you money if you’re trying to sell your home, because you can provide information about radon levels to potential buyers, and ensure you meet local codes related to radon compliance. The EPA also recommends that you test for radon when buying a home. That way, if high levels of radon are detected, you can request that the home seller install mitigation features, or you can back out of the purchase by utilizing your home inspection contingency.