If you are hunting for a new home, one of the recommendations that your realtor may make is to have the home tested for radon. Some home buyers just go along with this suggestion, while others say "no" to save money. But in both cases, few have a true understanding of what radon is and why testing may be important. Read on to learn the basics about radon so you can make an informed decision whether or not to test for it in the homes you're considering.
What is radon?
Radon is an odorless gas. It is produced in the soil when uranium decays via a radioactive process. While this sounds like the scary aftermath of a nuclear meltdown, it's not nearly that bad or that rare. Small amounts of uranium are present all over the place, and therefore there are small amounts of radon being produced all over the place.
Why is radon a problem?
You are exposed to tiny amounts of radon every day. However, being exposed to too much can cause a number of health issues. Lung cancer has been linked to excessive radon exposure, and researchers suspect that radon can also increase the risk of other cancers like colon cancer and rectal cancer.
How does radon get into your home?
Radon gas typically enters a home when there are holes or gaps in the foundation allowing a direct route for gas to flow from the soil into the home. If a home has a dirt floor in the basement, as was common in older homes built in the 1800s, you have a greater risk of radon exposure. Cracks in the foundation and very porous concrete also put you at risk. Of course, more radon is produced in some areas than others. A home on one street could have a dirt floor but no radon leaking, while one two streets over has only tiny cracks but plenty of radon in the basement.
How is radon detected?
Since radon is odorless and colorless, the best way to detect it is with a special meter that samples the air and measures the amount of radon present. Typically, you will leave this meter in the home for at least a few days since radon seepage can vary. If a home does have high radon levels, you can choose to either repair the foundation to keep the radon out or move past it and look at other homes.
For more information, contact a company like Greene Concrete Cutting Inc.