Many states require that homes are tested for radon, but what is the big deal? Most people are unfamiliar with radon and what the risks associated with this gas are. Even if you don't live in a state where this testing is required, it is important that you do it before moving into a home. Here are some frequently asked questions, all about radon.

What Is Radon?

Radon is a gas that occurs naturally in the earth but is harmful to humans. Not only is it radioactive, but it causes cancer. The Surgeon General has listed it as the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States behind smoking cigarettes. If you smoke cigarettes in a home with high radon levels, your risks are extremely high for developing lung cancer.

How Is It Detected?

Most people are unaware of the presence of radon because it is tasteless and has no scent. The only way to detect radon is through testing. Homeowners can purchase testing kits, set up alarms, or hire a professional to come in and run tests. The best places to test for this gas are in the lowest living areas in the home. If you have a basement and plan to spend a decent amount of time there, that is where you should run the test.

Is One Test Better Than Another?

There are two types of testing devices: passive and active.

Passive Devices: These devices do not require power to function, making them ideal for unoccupied homes. It is placed in the testing area for an amount of time (depending on if you purchase the short or long term model) and then sent into a laboratory for analysis.

Active Devices: Most qualified testers use this method because they can get a report on the swings in radon level during the testing time. Some models have anti-interference features as well, which can give a much more accurate result. These tests generally cost more, but it is because the result is much more reliable.

How Can I Protect My Family?

Aside from doing testing, such as with the help pf Certified Radon, if you are building a home, there are plenty of ways to make it radon-resistant. There are measure you can take to adapt your home after it is built, such as adding a vent fan if your test shows a result of 4 pCi/L or more. However, the quality of the work is much better when you incorporate it into the building materials.

The most important thing you can do is make sure that you do your testing before you ever move into a home. It is always better to be safe than sorry when your family's health is on the line.