Radon Mitigation >> Detecting Radon

Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas.You can't see radon. And you can't smell it or taste it. But it may be a problem in your home. Radon is estimated to cause many thousands of deaths each year. That's because when you breathe air containing radon, Detecting Radon you can get lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. 

Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths.If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, Detecting Radon your risk of lung cancer is especially high.Radon can be found all over the U.S.Radon comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon can be found all over the U.S. 

It can get into any type of building — homes, offices, and schools — and result in a high indoor radon level. But you and your family are most likely to get your greatest exposure at home, Detecting Radon where you spend most of your time.You should test for radon.Testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. 

EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon. EPA also recommends testing in schools.Testing is inexpensive and Detecting Radon easy — it should only take a few minutes of your time. Millions of Americans have already tested their homes for radon (see How to Test Your Home).You can fix a radon problem.

Radon reduction systems work and Detecting Radon they are not too costly. Some radon reduction systems can reduce radon levels in your home by up to 99%. Even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels.New homes can be built with radon-resistant features.Radon-resistant construction techniques can be effective in preventing radon entry. 

When installed properly and completely, Detecting Radon these simple and inexpensive techniques can help reduce indoor radon levels in homes. In addition, installing them at the time of construction makes it easier and less expensive to reduce radon levels further if these passive techniques don't reduce radon levels to below 4 pCi/L.

Every new home should be tested after occupancy, even if it was built radon-resistant. If radon levels are still in excess of 4 pCi/L, Detecting Radon the passive system should be activated by having a qualified mitigator install a vent fan. For more explanation of radon resistant construction techniques, refer to EPA publication, Building Radon Out: A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Build Radon-Resistant Homes. 

How Does Radon Get Into Your Home?Any home may have a radon problem Radon is a radioactive gas. It comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and Detecting Radon into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up. 

Any home may have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, Detecting Radon and homes with or without basements.Radon from soil gas is the main cause of radon problems. Sometimes radon enters the home through well water (see "Radon in Water" below). In a small number of homes, the building materials can give off radon, too. 

However, Detecting Radon building materials rarely cause radon problems by themselves. RADON GETS IN THROUGH:1. Cracks in solid floors 2. Construction joints 3. Cracks in walls 4. Gaps in suspended floors 5. Gaps around service pipes 6. Cavities inside walls 7. The water supply Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels. 

Elevated levels of radon gas have been found in homes in your state. Contact your state radon office for general Detecting Radon information about radon in your area. While radon problems may be more common in some areas, any home may have a problem. The only way to know about your home is to test.Radon can also be a problem in schools and workplaces. 

Ask your state radon office about radon problems in schools, daycare and childcare facilities, and workplaces in your area. How to Test Your Home You can't see radon, Detecting Radon but it's not hard to find out if you have a radon problem in your home. All you need to do is test for radon. Testing is easy and should only take a few minutes of your time.

The amount of radon in the air is measured in "picocuries per liter of air," or "pCi/L." There are many kinds of low-cost "do-it-yourself" radon test kits you can get through the mail and Detecting Radon in some hardware stores and other retail outlets. If you prefer, or if you are buying or selling a home, you can hire a qualified tester to do the testing for you. 

You should first contact your state radon office about obtaining a Detecting Radon list of qualified testers. You can also contact a private radon proficiency program for lists of privately certified radon professionals serving your area. For links and information, visitwww.epa.gov/radon/radontest.html. There are Two General Ways to Test for Radon: Testing is easy and should only take a few minutes of your time.

SHORT-TERM TESTING: The quickest way to test is with short-term tests. Short-term tests remain in your home for two days to 90 days, Detecting Radon depending on the device. "Charcoal canisters," "alpha track," "electret ion chamber," "continuous monitors," and "charcoal liquid scintillation" detectors are most commonly used for short-term testing. 

Because radon levels tend to vary from day to day and season to season, Detecting Radon a short-term test is less likely than a long-term test to tell you your year-round average radon level. If you need results quickly, however, a short-term test followed by a second short-term test may be used to decide whether to fix your home (see Home Sales).

How To Use a Test Kit: Follow the instructions that come with your test kit. If you are doing a short-term test, Detecting Radon close your windows and outside doors and keep them closed as much as possible during the test. Heating and air-conditioning system fans that re-circulate air may be operated. Do not operate fans or other machines which bring in air from outside. 

Fans that are part of a radon-reduction system or small exhaust fans operating only for short periods of time may run during the test. If you are doing a short-term test lasting just 2 or 3 days, Detecting Radon be sure to close your windows and outside doors at least 12 hours before beginning the test, too. You should not conduct short-term tests lasting just 2 or 3 days during unusually severe storms or periods of unusually high winds. 

The test kit should be placed in the lowest lived-in level of the home (for example, Detecting Radon the basement if it is frequently used, otherwise the first floor). It should be put in a room that is used regularly (like a living room, playroom, den or bedroom) but not your kitchen or bathroom. Place the kit at least 20 inches above the floor in a location where it won't be disturbed - away from drafts, high heat, high humidity, and exterior walls. 

Leave the kit in place for as long as the package says. Once you've finished the test, reseal the package and Detecting Radon send it to the lab specified on the package right away for analysis. You should receive your test results within a few weeks.LONG-TERM TESTING:Long-term tests remain in your home for more than 90 days. "Alpha track" and "electret" detectors are commonly used for this type of testing. 

A long-term test will give you a reading that is more likely to tell you your home's year-round average radon level than a short-term test.If your living patterns change and Detecting Radon you begin occupying a lower level of your home (such as a basement) you should retest your home on that level.Even if your test result is below 4 pCi/L, you may want to test again sometime in the future.

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