Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the environment and can pose a significant health risk if it accumulates in enclosed spaces, such as homes and buildings. Radon is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, making it impossible to detect without a proper test. The only way to know if your home has elevated levels of radon is to conduct a radon test.
In this article, we will discuss how to interpret your radon test results, including what the numbers mean, and what actions you should take if your test results show elevated levels of radon. We will also explore different types of radon tests, prevention methods, and how often you should retest your home.
Radon gas is produced when uranium in rocks, soil, and water breaks down. As radon gas is released into the air, it can seep into buildings through cracks and gaps in the foundation, walls, and floors. Once inside, it can accumulate to dangerous levels.
Exposure to high levels of radon gas over time can lead to lung cancer. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. The risk of developing lung cancer from radon exposure is higher for smokers, but non-smokers can also be affected.
There are two types of radon tests: short-term and long-term. Short-term testing typically lasts for two to seven days and provides a quick snapshot of the radon levels in your home. Long-term testing lasts for more than 90 days and provides a more accurate assessment of the average radon levels over an extended period.
The EPA recommends conducting a long-term test for at least 90 days during the fall or winter months. If a short-term test is conducted and the results are above the EPA action level of 4 pCi/L, a long-term test is recommended to confirm the results.
When you receive the results of your radon test, they will typically indicate the concentration of radon in the air in units of picocuries per liter (pCi/L). The following ranges can be used as a guide to interpret your test results:
It is important to note that there is no safe level of radon exposure. The EPA action level of 4 pCi/L is a guideline for homeowners to take action to reduce radon levels in their homes.
If your radon test results show levels above the EPA action level of 4 pCi/L, it is recommended that you take action to reduce radon levels in your home. There are several methods to reduce radon levels, including:
Preventing radon from entering your home is the best way to reduce radon levels. Some preventative measures include:
After reducing radon levels in your home, it is essential to retest your home to ensure the levels remain low. The EPA recommends retesting your home every two years, especially if you have made significant renovations or changes to your home's foundation.
If you have not conducted a radon test recently or have never tested your home for radon, it is recommended that you conduct a test as soon as possible.
If you need help reducing radon levels in your home, it is important to find a qualified radon mitigation professional. A professional can conduct a radon test, determine the best method to reduce radon levels in your home, and install a radon mitigation system if necessary.
When selecting a radon mitigation professional, ensure they are licensed and certified. The National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) and the National Radon Safety Board (NRSB) offer certification programs for radon professionals.
Radon is a dangerous gas that can accumulate in homes and cause lung cancer. The only way to know if your home has elevated radon levels is to conduct a radon test. If your test results show elevated levels of radon, it is important to take action to reduce radon levels in your home.
Preventative measures such as sealing foundation cracks and increasing ventilation can help prevent radon from entering your home. If you need help reducing radon levels, it is important to find a qualified radon mitigation professional.
Regularly retesting your home for radon is essential to ensure radon levels remain low. By following these steps, you can ensure a safe and healthy home for you and your family.