January is National Radon Action Month.
Radon is an odorless, colorless, radioactive gas but it could be present at a dangerous level in your home.
Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in America and claims the lives of about 21,000 Americans each year. In fact, the EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General urge all Americans to protect their health by testing their homes, schools and other buildings for radon.
“Fortunately, testing your home for radon is as simple as opening a can, and inexpensive do-it-yourself tests are available at hardware and home stores,” according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
Exposure to radon is a preventable health risk and testing radon levels in your home can help prevent unnecessary exposure. If a high radon level is detected in your home, you can take steps to fix the problem to protect yourself and your family.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set 4 picocuries of radon per liter (pCi/L) of air as an Action Level. If your radon level is higher than this, EPA, DEP, and the U.S. Surgeon General recommend having a radon mitigation system professionally installed to lower it. Typically consisting of a pipe and exhaust fan, the system will vent radon to the outside.
Compared with the associated risk of lung cancer, a radon reduction system is very affordable, generally in the price range of other common home improvements.
Having a system installed will also make the future sale of your home easier. If you’re building a new home, DEP recommends installing a passive radon system during construction.
There is no reliable way to test the ground in advance for radon, and the cost of installing the radon system during construction is typically much less than installing one after the fact.
For prospective home-buyers, the EPA recommends looking for builders who use radon-resistant new construction
Read more about radon-resistant new construction, “Building Radon Out: A Step-by-Step Guide to Build Radon-Resistant Homes