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Outsmart the invisible killer


​Imagine Dragons have it right in their song "Radioactive." When they sing, "I'm breathing in the chemicals," they aren't kidding. Radon is, in fact, radioactive, and in honor of National Radon Action Month (yes, that is a thing, and yes, we have no doubt you're googling it right now), we at vipHomeLink decided to tell you how to avoid becoming radioactive with radon.

The invisible killer may be inside your home 

Keep your home safe from radon with a few quick tips.

Radon isn't so different from carbon monoxide (CO). Like CO, radon is odorless, invisible, and tasteless. Unlike CO, radon is a radioactive gas (caused by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water) and can only be detected through testing.

Radon also isn't deadly at a moment's notice. Instead, it moves through the ground, into the air, and usually finds its way into your home through these entrances:

  • Cracks in the foundation, floors, and walls.
  • Construction joints.
  • Gaps around pipes.
  • Cavities inside walls.
  • Water supply.

We know what you're thinking: If radon isn't an immediate threat to me today, then why should I care?

Radon is really dangerous (really) 

Radon is one of the leading causes of lung cancer in the U.S., according to the nation's top doctor – the Surgeon General. In fact, the non-profit group Cancer Survivors Against Radon found that one person dies from lung cancer caused by radon every 25 minutes and lists radon as the leading cause of lung cancer for people who have never smoked.

So, of course, now you're wondering – 

How do I get radon out of my home?

Fans help to prevent radon buildup by pulling the gas through and out of your home.

First, you need to determine the radon levels of your home. This is done through short-term and long-term testing (we'll get to the difference in a moment). The National Radon Program Services at Kansas State University offers discounted test kits with analysis at no extra charge. You can also buy a radon kit for your home from your favorite online shop or from your local home improvement store.

Short-term testing is shorter than 90 days (many only last 2-4 days). Long-term testing is (you guessed it!) more than 90 days and sent off to a lab for analysis. Experts recommend both types of testing as radon concentration in a home fluctuates by the day, season, or weather, such as a hurricane and snowstorm.

A radon level of 4 pCi/L or higher requires immediate attention. For a smoker, the risk of getting lung cancer from radon is five times the risk of dying in a car crash. For non-smokers, it's equal to the risk of dying in a car crash.

Fixing radon involves inserting PVC pipes from the radon-emitting soil beneath the home, up through the roof. A fan draws the air through the system, so it doesn't build up and leach into the living spaces. Even homes with extremely high levels of radon can see a return safe levels with the help of these systems.

Don't fall prey to the invisible killer. Test for radon and fix your home if needed. Learn more about the potential threats inside your home and how to mitigate them in our vipTIPs. Not a member? Subscribe today with our risk-free, 90-day trial. 

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