January is when many of us make resolutions, so here’s one you need to keep. This month is National Radon Action Month—something every home needs to be concerned about.
Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas that comes from the natural decay of uranium found in most soils. It typically moves up through the ground to the air and enters your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up. Any home—new or old—may have a radon problems. High radon levels have been found in every state.
In addition, radon claims about 21,000 lives each year and is the leading cause of death from lung cancer among nonsmokers in the United States. Radon cannot be seen or smelled, making it particularly dangerous, but it is a preventable health risk. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Surgeon General urge all Americans to protect their health by testing their homes, schools and other buildings for radon. Testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk. You can perform a test on your own or hire a radon test company. For homes or facilities found to have high radon levels, a qualified contractor should be consulted.
Here are three things you can do to protect your home from radon:
- Have your home tested. Many radon tests can be found online or in home improvement stores. Follow the directions on the packing for the proper placement of the device and where to send the device after the test to find out your radon level. At Ally Property Inspections, we test for radon every time we inspect a building.
- Spread the word. Let others know about this dangerous gas, how to test for it and what to do if your home has high levels of radon.
- If you are building a new home, it can be built with radon-resistant features. Radon-resistant contraction techniques can be effective in preventing radon entry. When installed properly and completely, these simple and inexpensive techniques can help reduce indoor radon levels in homes. Installing them at the time of construction makes it and less expensive to reduce radon levels further. All new houses should be tested again after occupancy, even if it was built radon-resistant.
Whether you are buying or selling a home, make sure your abode is safe for all who dwell within. Make the resolution this month to have your home tested for radon to keep your loved ones safe. For more information on radon, go to www.epa.gov/radon.