Source: Deseret News, The Radioactive Killer, by Sara Israelsen-Hartley, Jan, 29, 2020 SALT LAKE CITY…
Radon gas is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that accounts for up to 70% of the radiation we are exposed to in Utah. There is no way to know if your home has radon without testing for it. Follow this guideline to radon testing for quick and accurate results.
Why should you test for radon?
As stated above, radon is radioactive gas. We all know that being exposed to radiation can be damaging to our health. In this instance specifically, our lungs. Radon occurs when uranium decays in soil and rock. It then enters your home through cracks and pores in the foundation. With prolonged exposure, it can begin to actually change the DNA structure in your cells. This can lead to lung cancer. In fact, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. For non-smokers, it actually holds the top spot.
But don’t be alarmed, radon related lung cancer can be prevented with simple testing and, if needed, mitigation.
Guideline To Radon Testing
There are a few different options when you are testing your home for radon. You can do a buy it yourself kit and mail them in, these are usually charcoal kits. The other option is to hire a certified company to test your home. Whatever option you choose, there are guidelines or protocols that should be followed.
First, it is important to know that a MINIMUM of 48 hours is needed to test and get accurate results. This is whether you do a charcoal kit, an E-Perm test, or what is called a continuous radon monitor. 48 hours gives enough time for an average to be developed.
Second, placing the test is key. If you hire a company, they will give you specifics on where to set the test or they will come set the test for you. If this is a real estate transaction (meaning the house is about to be bought/sold) then results can only be certified if they are set by a radon professional. Radon tests should be set on the lowest livable level of the the home (even if the basement is unfinished). Avoid it being in a bathroom, furnace room or right next to a window. Also do not set the test directly on the ground. A dresser in a bedroom is optimal.
Lastly, the home being tested must be in closed house conditions. This means that windows are closed and doors are only opened to enter or exit the home. Do not leave a fan or swamp cooler running constantly as these can cause an inaccurate result.
What to do after testing?
Once your test is complete, it is time to get results. If you are sending it to a lab, make sure it is sealed and send it in quickly. The lab or company should quickly read the test and contact you with results. At that point, you will learn your radon levels. These are measured in pico curies per Liter or pCi/L. Anything above a 4 is considered in need of immediate action according to the EPA. Anything above 2.7 is up to your discretion. This is the level that the World Health Organization recommend mitigation. Below 2.7 does not require immediate action although many consider radon removal even at these levels. If your levels are low enough, we do recommend testing every few years because radon levels can fluctuate. If mitigation is required, make sure another test is performed after installation.
Get started by requesting a test today. Fill out the form on this page or call our experts at 801-871-0715.