Radon gas can only be detected by a radon detector device. Radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that can cause lung cancer. The EPA estimates that nearly one in 15 homes have radon levels exceeding the "action limit" of 4 pCi/L or more.
The EPA also estimates that radon causes an estimated 21,000 deaths a year - which exceeds the deaths caused by drunk driving, falls in the home, drownings, or home fires.
Every homeowner is advised to test for radon gas.
Radon comes from the breakdown of uranium and other substances in the soil. Since radon is found in nearly every area (every state in the U.S. has it), testing is essential.
The only way to know for sure what your radon levels are is to test with a home radon test.
Did you know that even your neighbor's levels cannot be applied to your own home? It's true. Whether you have a basement or not, cracks in your foundation and the porous nature of cement, along with other factors, can lead to an elevated level of radon in your home.
There are two main types of radon measuring devices:
- Passive Devices
- Active Devices
Passive radon testing devices don't need electricity to function. These include the charcoal canisters and the longer term alpha-track detectors, as well as charcoal liquid scintillation devices, and electret ion chamber detectors.
To test for elevated levels of radon, these detectors are exposed to indoor air for a particular period of time and then sent off to a laboratory for analysis.
Both the short and long term passive devices are inexpensive home radon test kits.
Active radon detectors do require power in order to function.
These are often referred to as continuous radon monitors and continuous working level monitors
These continuously measure and record radon gas levels in the air, and operate much like a smoke detector or a carbon monoxide detector.
These radon detection monitors are more expensive than the passive devices, but may be more reliable. A wise recommendation is to test initially for radon, following the standard protocol or checklist, and then consider a continuous radon monitor for longer term reassurance.
Some models even have a siren installed - which will go off if the radon levels exceed 4 pCi/L.
Your family's health is so important.
You likely spend a lot of time inside your home. Please don't delay - test for radon and don't let this invisible enemy shorten your life and well-being.