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January is National Radon Action Month
January is a time to raise awareness about the dangers of radon and how to protect yourself and your loved ones from this silent killer. If you’ve never heard of radon, you’re not alone. Many people are unaware of this radioactive gas, but it is important to educate yourself and others about radon because it can pose serious health consequences.
What is Radon?
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that forms from the breakdown of uranium in the rock, soil, and water beneath your home. Radon can become trapped indoors after it enters through porous materials or cracks in your foundation. When inhaled, the gas can damage the cells lining the lungs, increasing the risk of lung cancer. In fact, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, responsible for an estimated 21,000 deaths each year.
The Importance of Testing for Radon
Testing is your best defense against this radioactive and silent killer. The scary thing about radon is that it has no smell, taste, or color, so you can’t see, smell, or taste it. This means that you could be breathing in unsafe levels of radon without even knowing.
It is important to test your home for radon to determine if it is present and at what levels. The good news is that radon can be easily detected and mitigated. The first step is to have your home tested for radon. This can be done with an easy-to-use and inexpensive kit.
What If My Home Tests High for Radon?
If the test results show that radon levels are high, it is important to take action to reduce them. This can be done through the use of a radon mitigation system, which uses a series of pipes and a fan to vent the gas out of your home and minimize radon to safe levels. A certified radon professional can also determine if sealing and other preventative measures are necessary.
Frequently Asked Radon Questions
How common is radon in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin is a hotspot for elevated radon levels. The EPA estimates that 1 in every 15 homes contains unsafe levels of radon in the US. However, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services estimates that 1 in every 10 homes in Wisconsin contains radon levels that exceed the recommended level — below 4 picoCuries per liter of air, set by the EPA.
How deadly is radon?
These eye-opening stats provide perspective on the dangers of radon:
- Radon-related deaths: 21,000/yr
- Drunk driving deaths: 17,400/yr
- Drownings: 3,900/yr
- House fire deaths: 2,800/yr
- Carbon monoxide deaths: 430/yr
- Lightning strike deaths: 20/yr
Are test results from my next-door neighbor’s house an accurate indication of radon levels in my home?
Several factors can affect the presence and levels of radon in a home. These include the permeability of the ground and the composition of the soil, as well as the construction of the home itself. Each home is unique in these regards, and radon levels can vary widely from home to home. The only way to know if you have it in your home is to test.
If my home was just recently built, is it really necessary to test for radon?
Radon can be found in all types of homes—new and old homes, well-insulated and drafty homes, and homes with and without basements. The best way to know is to test and see the results.
If I test for radon and the results indicate high levels, will it reduce the value of my home?
Radon can be a concern for potential homebuyers, but if the issue has been addressed and resolved through measures such as a radon mitigation system, it can increase the value of the home. Some real estate agents believe that a resolved radon issue has a neutral or positive impact on the ability to sell a home.
Spread the word!
Now that you know a bit more about radon and the importance of testing, tell your friends, families, and coworkers! Many homeowners are still out of the loop on radon. Do your part by testing this January and encouraging others to test their homes as well!
Use the Wisconsin Department of Health Service’s Interactive Map to determine if your home might be at risk.
Kettle Moraine Heating & Air Conditioning, LLC offers radon testing, mitigation, and repair services that will keep you and your family safe. Our radon specialists are certified through the National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) and have the specific skillsets to eliminate any radon concern.
Contact us if you are interested in learning more about our radon services.