Did you know that your home could be harboring toxic levels of radiation in the form of Radon gas? To raise awareness of this silent killer, January has been designated National Radon Awareness Month. It's a time to get your home tested and to encourage those around you to do the same, in an effort to reduce the thousands of preventable deaths caused by Radon each year.
What is Radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas that is scentless, tasteless and odorless. Radon is naturally occurring, but can be extremely harmful to humans. Radon exposure is the primary cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers, and can increase the risk of cancer for those who do smoke.
How does Radon get into the home?
Radon is passed from the ground to the air, where it can seep into your home through cracks or other openings. This poisonous gas then builds up in the home over time. Some homes in the US have Radon levels high enough to surpass what's allowed at a nuclear power plant.
How do I know if I should have my home tested?
Toxic Radon levels can be present in any home: it's simply not true that if you own a newer home or if your home doesn't have a basement, you don't need to worry about Radon. Because of this, the U.S. Surgeon General and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommend that all homes be tested regularly.
How often should I test?
Radon levels can change over time, with the weather or seasons; or because of changes to the home itself. Experts recommend that you retest your home regularly, after any renovations or additions, or if you decide to move to a previously uninhabited area of the home, like the basement.
How do I test for Radon?
You can purchase a simple, do-it-yourself Radon testing kit for about 15-20 dollars at your local hardware or home improvement store. Simply leave the kit out for at least 48 hours and send it in for the results. Kits are also available to measure Radon levels in your home over several months up to a year.
When should I hire a professional?
Some states now require that sellers certify that a home has been tested and, if necessary, treated for Radon before it can be sold. In this case you should probably have your home professionally tested and certified.
What do I do if there is Radon in my home?
Homeowners who discover high Radon levels should find a radon mitigation professional to install a Radon removal system. Although systems vary slightly, they all use piping to depressurize soil in the foundation and carry Radon up and out of the home. Finally, all homeowners should have their home properly sealed to prevent Radon buildup in the future.
For any homeowner insurance questions, call or contact Executive Insurance & Financial Services today.