Radon is a radioactive gas that is both colorless and odorless. Now, I know a radioactive gas sounds scary, right? Of course, it is, however there are ways to know if it poses a threat to your household. Getting a radon test is an effective way to determine if you have radon in your home!
Radon is a byproduct of the decay of other naturally occurring radioactive elements in the earth such as radium uranium, or thorium, which are radioactive metals. As a naturally occurring element there is no way to control or know exactly where it is present geographically, but there are charts that estimate the likelihood of it being in a certain area. Here is a map thanks to the EPA:
A radon test can be conducted by a home inspector who has been certified to perform such tests and usually takes 2 to 5 days to get results depending on testing method. There are also kits available at home improvement stores. For best results, I would recommend a professional conduct the test.
The good news is, if radon is detected you don't have to throw the whole house away! Radon mitigation is an effective way to lower the amount of radon in your home to safe levels. Pricing can vary. On average it costs $800-1200 dollars for pre-existing homes.
I think that everyone should do a little bit of work to stay vigilant as well. They make air quality monitors that can detect things like radon and carbon monoxides and VOCs. I would use one of these after you get an air quality test done just to monitor any changes in air quality throughout the year and solely as an indicator if further testing should be conducted. Here is a link to an air quality monitor that links to your smartphone.
As stated, I would use a device like this as an indicator and not a sure-fire indicator of anything.
Note: I am not an affiliate seller, I just like to share info and products that I have found. Some useful links I have found while conducting research include:
If you are buying a home or have never gotten a radon test it's probably time to do so! Radon is the second largest cause of lung cancer in the United States so why not find out if it's a problem that needs to be dealt with!