Home Radon Myths Debunked
Radon is a colorless, odorless, and naturally occurring gas found throughout the United States. There are a lot of misconceptions about radon that end up putting homeowners in danger when they neglect to have their home tested for radon. Here are four common home radon myths debunked.
Home Radon Myth #1: A DIY Passive Radon Test is Reliable
Many homeowners believe they can get an accurate reading of radon levels by purchasing a passive device at a big box hardware store. These tests can be tampered with and affected by factors like humidity so the test results are often wrong. Because of this, you may end up mitigating a home that doesn’t need it or if you have a result showing false low levels of the gas, you don’t seek radon mitigation when your home actually has dangerous levels.
The only way to protect your family and know the amount of radon in your home is to hire a professional inspector to conduct a radon test using active devices. Active electronic devices continuously monitor radon gas levels and return the readings on a graph. Continuous devices are regularly calibrated by the manufacturer and are placed in accordance with EPA guidelines. These tests are highly accurate and only available through a certified inspector who provides radon testing.
Home Radon Myth #2: Radon Can’t Kill You
The most dangerous of all home radon myths regards whether or not it’s lethal. Studies from the EPA conclude that radon exposure is responsible for the deaths of at least 20,000 people per year. Exposure to high levels of radon for a long time is proven to cause lung cancer, even among non-smokers.
While there is little debate about the dangers of high radon levels, some people think that low to moderate levels of radon aren’t that bad. The likelihood of cancer diminishes as the radon goes down, but there are still radon-related health problems even at lower levels. It’s important to have your home tested by a professional so that you know the risks and can begin mitigation if you have high levels of radon.
Home Radon Myth #3: A Neighbor’s Radon Indicates Your Own Radon Levels
It’s easy to see why home radon myths like this exist. People assume that if a neighbor who lives right next to you has safe levels of radon, then you should have the same exact levels. Since radon comes up from the soil it only makes sense that you and your neighbor have the same radon reading.
While this is possible, it’s not inherently true. The first problem is that even though your soil and the neighbor’s soil are next to each other, yours can be different and can produce more radon. The second issue is that your home might be more permeable. Even a few cracks in the foundation is enough to allow radon to seep in. Get your home tested even if your neighbor got a good reading.
Home Radon Myth #4: Radon Only Affects Certain Regions
If you look at a radon map, you will notice that certain regions have more radon than others. Logically you should be safe if you live in a region where radon levels are typically within safe ranges. This is just another one of the many home radon myths and is harmful false knowledge because it prevents many people from getting their home professionally tested.
Radon is a very localized issue. As stated above, even you and your neighbor might have very different radon levels. Just because your region typically has low radon levels doesn’t mean that your home will also have low levels. Don’t get caught up in this home radon myth, and err on the side of caution by having your home tested.
Home Radon Myth #5: It’s Not Worth Checking Radon In Older Homes
Some people believe that if they’ve lived in a home for many years that they shouldn’t bother checking for radon. They think that they cannot change the radon levels and that they should be safe because they’ve lived with it for so long.
Radon can be reduced in any home as long as you put in the effort. A professional will give you tips on how to begin mitigation to bring the gas within safe levels. As for exposure, radon becomes more dangerous the longer you are around it. This myth is what causes so many people to fall prey to radon-related cancers. It’s better late than never to have your home checked and mitigated.
Radon is a problem across the country. While many homes have safe levels of this gas, others are at risk for lung cancer and other health-related issues. It’s best to get your home checked by a professional so that you know what your levels are and if you are at risk.