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How To Test For Radon In Your Home

by Harvie Simms

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), exposure to radon in homes is responsible for lung cancer that leads to over 20,000 deaths every year. Perhaps the scariest thing about this element is the fact that so few homeowners even know what it is. This article explains what radon is and how you can test to see if it is a danger on your property.

What is Radon?

Radon is a chemical element, which is identified with the symbol Rn. It is a dense gas that is extremely radioactive and causes severe health problems. The fact that it is tasteless, odorless and colorless makes it even more dangerous. It is easy to understand why so many people, even if they know what radon is, have no idea how to detect if it is in their home. All homes will have a certain level of radon because it is a naturally occurring element. However, the small levels that are prevalent in Earth's atmosphere and in most homes is not harmful to humans.

Testing for Radon

Since radon is invisible, the only way to detect if there is a harmful amount in your home is to perform a test offered by a company like Certified Radon. Luckily, these tests are cheap and easy to perform. The easiest test to perform are the short-term tests. The test is basically a small canister that you place in your room. The canister detects the levels of certain elements in the air. The drawback to the short-term test is that they are generally less accurate. This is because radon levels can vary from day to day. It is a good idea to place the tests in several rooms throughout your home.

Long-term tests will generally give you an accurate reading. They use similar canisters, but they must be left in your home for at least 3 months. This gives you a more accurate reading because it gives you an average of the radon level over the period of three months.

If your home has dangerous levels of radon, you will need to install a vent system that sucks the radon out of your home. These vent systems can be costly to install and they can take a few weeks to really start working and affecting the radon levels in your home. Often, if the radon levels are dangerously high in your home, they will be similarly high in other homes in the neighborhood.