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radon gas

If you start coughing, wheezing, breathing heavily or get persistent respiratory infections and don’t have a pre-existing condition, there’s a good chance your home is polluted with radiation. Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that results from the decay of uranium so there’s no way to detect it ahead of time. That’s why you need to have the home tested to prevent anyone from more poisoning.

Unfortunately there are many myths persisting in society around radon, which prevents some homeowners from taking the necessary steps to protect themselves and their families. That’s why it is always important to dispel radon myths as quickly as possible and reiterate the importance of testing. Here are some of the most popular radon myths and the real facts:

1. Radon doesn’t seem to be a problem, according to scientists

While some scientists aren’t certain about the specific number of people who have died from radon, all the major health organizations like the CDC, the American Lung Association and the American Medical Association agree that radon causes lung cancer. This is especially true for smokers who have a heightened risk, since their lungs are already compromised as compared to non-smokers.

2. Homes with radon pollution can’t be fixed

Homes with radon pollution can always be fixed. Like most other home repairs, it takes a radon testing professional coming in, measuring for pollution and then treating the house through methods like depressurization and recovery ventilators to decrease the amount of pollution in the home.

3. Radon testing is expensive

Homeowners have the option to either test the house themselves by buying a radon testing kit ($10-$20) or have a radon service come into the home to test and remove radon gas which costs $690 to $1,022 ($50 to $150 for testing) professionally. Many state health departments can provide a list of state-certified test kit companies that meet EPA regulations for those who want to DIY it.

4. Radon is more common in older homes

Any type of home can have radon pollution: old, new, drafty and ones with or without basements—a common area for high radon levels since it is closer to the soil. Rather it’s more dependent on the materials used to build the home and the geology underneath rather than age.

In some cases, new homes could have higher radon levels since they’re designed to have higher porosity in the soil underneath. Porosity is supposed to help with moisture control, but it also helps radon gas flow in faster from the soil. Old or new, a lot of radon gas in the soil underneath will cause problems.

5. Short-term radon tests are less effective than long-term radon test.

A short-term test is just as useful as a long-term test in determining radon levels in your home, but it means taking two for determining the year’s average. The closer the two short-term tests’ averages are to 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter), the less certain it is what your average for the year is. Radon levels below 4 can be risky. It’s better to have levels at or below 2 pCi/L to ensure your home is safe.

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Andrea Davis

Andrea Davis is based in Denver, Colorado as an editor for HomeAdvisor. As a deeply engrossed fan of the written word in its many forms, she’s always looking to tell home improvement stories in a new light that both engages and entertains. She's a frequent and very welcome content contributor here on the BuildDirect Blog.