Milwaukee Homeowner’s Guide to Radon Testing and Mitigation

graphic of a house shape with the words "radon air testing"

Over 20,000 Americans are killed by radon in a single year. Here are the facts:

  • Radon is a colorless and odorless gas that can cause lung cancer, especially if you’re exposed to high levels of radon over a long period of time.
  • When you breathe in radon, it destroys the cells that line your lung. And, while smoking can put you at a higher risk of developing radon-related cancer, it certainly impacts nonsmokers too.
  • Usually, radon comes into your home through cracks in your walls or floors, and from the soil in your yard.

So, how do you test for radon? And why is radon testing and mitigation so important? Read on to find out.

Radon Testing: The Basics

In general, there are two main kinds of radon testing: short-term and long-term tests.

You should use a short-term test to test your home about twice each year. However, if you notice that you’ve been coughing up blood, getting hoarse more frequently, or even have a cough that just doesn’t seem to quit, you will want to consult a physician and test more often to ensure there isn’t a problem.

Short-term testing can help you determine if a more extensive test is needed. You should leave the test kit in a low-activity room in your home for about two to six days. Then, mail your test to a lab.

This step is why so many homeowners choose to have their radon tested professionally. That way, they can feel good about the lab they’re working with.

There are also long-term and continuous radon testing options, which are electronic monitors that plug into an outlet in your home.

How Does Radon Mitigation Work?

The goal of radon mitigation is to lower the level of radon gas in your home or any commercial building. The process often includes caulking the foundation of your property, covering up any soil that’s in or too close, and sealing off the cracks in your walls.

Additionally, a radon mitigation system is used to pull dangerous radon gas out of your home and away from your soil.

This is accomplished by using a ventilation pipe and fan. This pipe, which is usually made out of PVC, usually remains attached to the side of your home. This way, it continually works to keep your home’s levels of radon gas under control.

So, how often will the system need to be replaced? Usually, you’ll need to replace your radon mitigation fans anywhere from every 5 – 20 years. It depends on the make and model you use.

Do You Need Professional Radon Testing?

We hope that this post has helped you better understand who should test for radon and why radon testing is so important. Obviously, when it comes to the health and safety of your family, there’s no reason to take any risks.

If you think you may have a radon problem, get in touch with us today to schedule a test or discuss your mitigation options. Also, be sure to check out the other home improvement services we provide.

Does Radon Smell, and Other Answers to Common Radon Questions

Focus on Radon Chemical Element from the Mendeleev Periodic Table

We spend countless dollars and man-hours trying to purify our air of pollution, but some of the most dangerous substances come from nature itself. Radon is an under-appreciated threat, but it’s estimated that 1 in 15 US homes have unsafe radon levels.

How do you know if your home is that one in fifteen with a problem? Does radon smell or can you see it? Does it cause symptoms? Read on for the answers you need to protect your family.

Frequently Asked Questions About Radon

Radon is a natural gas that’s created when uranium in the environment breaks down. It may be natural, but it’s also radioactive, so the questions and answers below can help you protect your health.

Does Radon Smell?

One of the scariest facts about radon is that it doesn’t make itself known. Radon is naturally odorless and colorless, so you can’t rely on your smell or your sight to know if there’s a problem.

Why Is Radon Dangerous?

The primary danger of radon is that over time it can cause lung cancer by damaging the cells in your lungs. In fact, while smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer in the US, radon exposure is number two.

What Are the Symptoms of Radon Exposure?

Unfortunately, there are no symptoms of radon exposure, so you shouldn’t assume you aren’t being exposed just because you’re feeling fine.

It is, however, helpful to know the symptoms of lung cancer. That way, if it does develop, you can get early treatment and improve your chances of recovery. The symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • A long-lasting cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hoarse throat
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Pain in the chest, especially while laughing or coughing
  • Frequent respiratory infections

How Does Radon Get Into My Home?

Because radon is released from rocks and soil, there are many ways it can get into your home. It typically enters through cracks in the structure or through building materials. Worse yet, once it’s inside your home, the insulation keeps it in so it becomes concentrated in a small space.

How Much Radon Is Safe?

If you have your home tested for radon, it will be measured in “picocuries per liter” of air. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers dangerous radon levels to be anything above four picocuries per liter.

How Do I Get Rid of Radon?

Radon should be handled by a professional. If you have high radon levels (or you think you may), you should call a radon mitigation expert. Radon specialists like us are able to install technology to remove the radon from your home and keep it out.

Protecting Your Home from Radon

Excessive radon is nothing to sneeze at, and because it doesn’t make itself apparent until it’s caused a serious illness, you can’t wait until you know about the problem.

It’s important to be proactive about testing your home for radon and taking radon mitigation steps if necessary. If you’re ready to take that step, contact our radon specialists today. We service the Milwaukee, New Berlin, and Madison areas.