With Halloween coming around the corner there are plenty of scares around every turn. People all around the neighborhood are decorating their homes to look frightening and spooky to prepare for the holiday, but what if I told you that your house could easily be the scariest around? What could make your house the spookiest in the neighborhood might not be skeletons or ghosts but actually something called radon. What is radon? It is an invisible, odorless, and tasteless radioactive gas that can enter your house in a variety of ways, such as through your foundation or even well water. Unlike the fake spider webs hanging on your front door, nobody will know if radon is in your home unless you test for it. Even more alarming is that radon happens to be the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. and kills over 21,000 people a year. It sounds like quite a terrifying problem, but don’t worry just yet! Testing for radon is affordable, easy, and can keep you and your family safe.
How do you test for radon? You can buy a kit at local retailers or some County Extension offices, or if you live in Georgia order a kit from the UGA Radon Program’s website (www.UGAradon.org). Kits are affordable with UGA offering each online kit purchase at $13 which includes shipping, analysis, and results. Radon kits are $10 when purchased from a County Extension office. Retailers offer kits at a variety of different prices, which may not cover the cost of analysis, or obtaining your test results.
What happens once you have the kit? UGA has a helpful video on the website (here) which explains how to test your home. If the radon level in your home is at or above 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L), then your home has a high level of radon. It is recommended that you test again with either a short-term (2-7 days) or long-term (3-12 months) device depending on the exact situation. If the second result is over 4 pCi/L, then you should seek for professional help and get your home mitigated. Mitigation is the technique used to remove radon from your home and should be done by a certified mitigator. Make sure to get several estimates from different mitigators and use this checklist to select a mitigation professional.
What if your neighbors have already tested for radon and they are fine? Although it may seem like your home is safe if all of your neighbors have tested for radon, you and your family could still be in danger. Radon levels vary from house to house, so even if your neighbor 10 feet away is safe from radon it doesn’t mean your home is out of harm’s way. That is why it is up to you to check that your home is safe from radon. To learn more about radon and the danger to you and your family visit www.ugaradon.org.
Make sure this Halloween isn’t filled with radon. This is the real scare that could be in your home without you knowing it.
Is your home the scariest on the block because of radon?
Thank you to Guest Blogger: Jake Wilder, Consumer Economics and Residential Property Management Undergraduate Student in the Department of Financial Planning, Housing, and Consumer Economics at the University of Georgia.