OK, how about a show of hands- how many of you know what Radon is?……. That’s what I thought. Not many people know about radon unless they’ve bought a house in the last 10 years. Radon- sounds like the name of a sci-fy robot or something, doesn’t it. In fact, it’s a colorless, odorless gas that occurs naturally all over the country in varying degrees of concentration. In low concentration, it’s pretty much harmless. In higher concentrations it can cause lung cancer.
Nowadays home buyers frequently choose to get the home they want to buy tested for radon. The test is provided by all home inspectors with results back within a couple of days of the test. If you’re not buying a home and getting a home inspection, you can buy do-it-yourself kits from home centers for less than $15. Right now, the NC Radon Program website hosted by the NC Department of Health and Human Services is offering FREE radon test kits. I love the word FREE, don’t you? The link to get the free kits is a bit slow, so just have patience for it to open up.
The good news is that if your home has a too-high concentration of radon, there are plenty of ways to clear it up that don’t cost too much. The idea is to have an air handling system that sucks up the problem air, often in a crawlspace or basement, and blow it outside so that the gas doesn’t have a chance to concentrate in the house. Outside, it is dissipated so that it’s not a problem.
The NC Radon Program site has lots of information about radon, the effects of different levels, and how to get rid of it. It even has a NC zone map to give you a bit of an idea of how often this is a problem. The fact is, though, that your neighbors house can test just fine and yours show concentrations about a safe limit, so doing the test is the best approach. I’ve ordered my free kit and will run the test as soon as I get it.
If you’re outside of North Carolina, check your state health department for radon info, or you can go to a comprehensive site run by the EPA here.