Everyone knows that cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. But, did you know that radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer? Radon is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, so you wouldn't know it was in your home unless you tested for it. Here's what every homeowner needs to know about zones and testing for radon in their home's air and water.
Find Out What Zone You're In
The Environmental Protection Agency provides an interactive map online, so you can see what zone your home is in by county. The reason there are differing zones or levels by geographical area is because of how radon forms from rock and soil, which is different in different parts of the United States.
It's important to note that the EPA recommends testing your home for radon, regardless of which zone you are in. The zones are simply a guideline of what you may expect for your area. Levels of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) are considered hazardous, although anything between 2 and 4 pCi/L can still pose a risk.
Have Your Home Tested for Radon
Now that you have an understanding of what the radon levels are in your area, test your home for radon. You can do this yourself with a radon test kit you can purchase at your local hardware store, or by ordering one online. These test kits are designed to check the air in your home for radon, which could take several days or several months, depending on the type of test.
There are also test kits that allow you to test your water for radon. If your home's water source is a well, you will also need to test your well for radon. The test results for both the air and the water will help you determine what measures you may need to take to keep radon out of your home, so you'll want to be sure to perform the tests properly so the results are accurate.
Be sure to read the instructions thoroughly so you understand the process and length of time necessary for the tests you choose. Alternatively, you can have a professional radon mitigation contractor test your home for you, which may be ideal if you live in a county that is located in Zone 1 or Zone 2. Your state's radon office can provide you with a list of radon mitigation contractors.
For more information on residential radon tests, contact a radon testing company near you.