Home Safety: Buying a Radon Detector

What in the world is radon, and why should you test for it? When I first moved to my home in the Rocky Mountains, I was advised to get one before buying our home. I had no idea what it was, until I saw a news article on the subject. Radon is an odorless, tasteless toxic gas. It is caused by the natural breakdown of uranium in the soil and enters into your home through cracks in the exterior or through the water supply. The radon gas gets trapped inside the home, taking it to toxic levels without you ever knowing! Radon has quickly climbed to become the second leading cause of cancer in non smokers. The EPA estimates that almost 1 in 15 homes in the United States has elevated radon levels in their home, but not a lot of people are aware of the gas itself or the problems it can cause. Radon can become toxic in any home, but most especially homes that have basements where air does not circulate as much.

Why should I get tested? Radon testing may not seem too important, but there are no early signs and symptoms of radon poisoning. Radon is able to quietly bury itself deep into our bodies, then create havoc later. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in non smokers today and causes almost 30,000 lung cancer deaths per year with numbers rising. It has also started to be a more common requirement to have a radon test done when buying or renting. Many buyers and their agents are requesting radon tests be done prior to the purchase of a home. Elevated radon levels could become a deal breaker if you are trying to sell or buy a new home.

What type of tests are available? Their are two types of radon tests available. A short term test, and a longer test or detector. The short term test is relatively inexpensive. You can easily perform the test yourself at home, than send your test away to a lab to obtain lab results. A few weeks later your results are sent back to you. A level of 4pCi/L or higher indicates elevated levels of radon and should be followed up by a longer detector test. The short term test is most recommended for those needing quick results. There are two types of short term tests available. A charcoal test, and an electronic test. The charcoal test is available for $15 and also includes all associated lab processing fees in the purchase price when buying through RadonZone.com. However, the charcoal test can be affected by humidity. The pricier electronic test is available for $119 and also includes all lab processing fees when buying through RadonZone.com. The electronic test is more accurate than the charcoal test and is not affected by humidity. It is the most recommended if you are requiring a fast radon test be done, or performing the test when selling your home.

The long term detector test available on the market is slated to be the most conclusive of all tests. You can test for a minimum of 90 days, and as long as 1 year. This type of test allows you to measure radon levels throughout the year and in different conditions as radon levels can change throughout the year with weather. This test is available for $32 and includes all lab processing fees when buying through RadonZone.com.

Buying a radon test may be one of the most important things you can do to for your home and your family. Whether renting or buying, make sure you request a radon test be done. If you are staying put, make sure you get your home tested every so often. Radon poisoning comes with no early warning symptoms, and you could be breathing it in everyday and not know it. With the relatively low cost of a radon test, their is no excuse NOT to get tested!

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