Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that likely exists in many homes in the United States. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, this naturally occurring gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer. During National Radon Action Month, Grinnell Mutual recommends testing your home for radon.
“The most important reason to test your home for radon is to identify potential air quality issues,” said Grinnell Mutual’s Director of Corporate Loss Control Larry Gallagher. “It’s important to evaluate potential radon levels so you can give yourself peace of mind that you do not have high or escalated radon levels within your home, which may increase the risk of lung cancer.”
How to test your home
The Midwest has some of the highest average radon levels in the U.S. You can use one of two types of tests—passive or active—to measure the levels of radon in your home. (Learn more about how radon enters homes.) Tests are available at your local hardware store, health department, or online at www.sosradon.org.
Passive tests often use a charcoal canister or liquid. Generally, they take a week or less to measure radon levels before sending to a laboratory for evaluation. The EPA recommends placing the test in the lowest enclosed level of your home. It should be in an area used by homeowners, but not necessarily a high-traffic area.
An active test will take hourly readings to arrive at an average result over the testing period, usually 90 days. Read the test instructions carefully. Depending on the season in which you conduct your test, the average result may give you a false sense of security about the radon risk in your home.
How to fix radon issues
The EPA recommends hiring a qualified radon mitigation contractor to fix your home’s radon issue. Depending on your home’s radon levels, foundation, and your budget, you and your contractor will select an radon reduction solution that is right for you and your family. (Visit the EPA website for an overview of radon reduction techniques.)
“A homeowner should not attempt to implement or build their own radon mitigation system,” said Gallagher. “Instead, hire a qualified contractor to evaluate the situation and recommend mitigation options.”
The EPA has a checklist you can use to evaluate and select a contractor to help you reduce the radon in your home.
For more information
Visit www.sosradon.org or call 1-800-SOS-RADON (1-800-767-7236) for information about testing your home or property for radon. For more information about protecting your home and property, visit the Front Porch blog on grinnellmutual.com.
Information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was used in this article.
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