As a homeowner in the United States or Canada, running consistent tests in your house for radon gas should be at the top of your maintenance routine. After smoking, radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America. Moreover, it has been found that one in every 15 homes in the United States have high radon levels.
Luckily, most of these tests can be done without professional help using a wide range of radon detectors available today. Here are some of the best picks.
Among the listed radon detectors, the AirThings Corentium remains the overall best home radon detector based on user reviews.
Radon Eye RD200
Produced by Radon FTLab, the Radon Eye RD200 detector gives its results in minutes. Radon Eye guarantees that you will get a very reliable result in 60 minutes.
This detector uses Radon Eye’s proprietary detection technology which gives 30 counts per hour per pCi/L. You can easily connect your Android/iOS device to the Radon Eye RD200 detector where your home test results will be visible. These results get updated every 10 minutes and you get an option to track monthly/weekly ratings.
Key Features of the Radon Eye RD200
AirThings 2960 View Plus
Manufactured by AirThings, the AirThings 2960 View Plus gives an accurate radon measurement (+- 10%) at 5 pCi/L after 7 days. It uses a USB C cable, an air quality monitor, and 6 AA batteries for its operation.
The battery cell is made of alkaline material and has an average battery life of 2 years. The AirThings 2960 View Plus also detects air pollution, temperature,CO2 levels, humidity, airborne chemicals, air pressure, and radon in its vicinity.
The Wi-Fi connection lets the user synchronize test results easily with your mobile device. Test results can be viewed via their online dashboard as well.
Key Features of the AirThings 2960 View Plus
Also developed by AirThings, the AirThings Corentium was the first battery-powered digital radon detector. It has a visual alarm indicator that warms when the radon level is increasing.
The accuracy in test results improves after 7 days with an error margin 10% and 5% within 2 months. It uses 3 AAA batteries for its operation.
The design of the internal monitor is taken from an advanced high-contrast technology normally seen in commercial detectors. The system is so reliable and robust that AirThings ships it with a ‘no-calibration required mark’ valid up to ten years.
Key Features of the AirThings Corentium
Buyer's Guide For Radon Detectors
Here are some of the most important features to watch out for when buying radon detectors.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about radon detectors.
How Do Digital Radon Test Detectors Work?
The radon test detectors work by tracking or counting the quantity of radon particles in the air. Digital radon test detectors make use of air sensors to identify alpha particles. They then count the number of these particles per hour, followed by determining the radon level.
Where Can a Radon Detector be Placed?
For the radon detector to work effectively, it should be put on the lowest point of elevation. Place it in a common room where you spend most of your time, such as the living room.
The fact that we humans cannot detect radon gas does not mean it does not affect us. Prolonged exposure to radon gas increases an individual's chances of having lung cancer by 50%.
The above-listed radon monitors detectors are some of the best with an assurance of accurate test results; however, if you want the most accurate radon measurement possible, order one of our radon test kits here.
Thanks for reading!
Radon gas occurs naturally in soil.
Radon can enter any home, regardless of how old your building is, its structural integrity, location (on the ground, in a crawlspace, or a cellar), or whether or not it is sealed.
Radon levels are high in houses of all shapes and sizes, and consistent worldwide.
The only way to determine the radon level in your home is through testing. This can be done by yourself using a DIY testing kit or by consulting experts.
How Does Radon Gas Enter A House?
Radon is formed when radioactive elements such as radium and radium decay.
It can enter your home through various channels, including cracks and wall gaps.
During the construction of houses, the foundation often comes in contact with this radioactive element, which, when it decays, finds its way into the building through holes in the foundation.
Radon gas can also enter your home if your basement is in contact with rocks and natural stones such as granite containing this radioactive element.
This dangerous gas can also be found in well water because wells sourced from an aquifer are in contact with the soil and rocks where Radon gas is present.
When such water is used in the home for washing, bathing, and other activities, it builds up the Radon gas concentration in your home.
Combating Radon Gas In Houses
The Department of Housing and Urban Development suggests taking the following extra steps to protect yourself against a radon problem and reduce the risk of developing lung cancer due to excessive radon gas levels in your house:
Radon Testing At Home
The only sure way to know if you and your family are at risk of radon exposure is to have your home tested. To reduce the risk of radon problems, you can test for and reduce elevated radon levels by doing the following:
Buying A Radon Testing Kit
You can test your home using a DIY Radon Test Kit or hire radon reduction, assessment, and mitigation services to do the testing for you (This may cost you more, but radon mitigation is the best way to combat radon).
Putting Your House Or Workplace To The Test
It shouldn't take you too long to carry out the test, and it's inexpensive and straightforward. It entails opening a box and placing a small measuring instrument in a room for a specified amount of time.
Short-term testing could take anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Long-term testing could take up to 90 days. The longer the test takes, the more relevant the results are to your environment and way of life.
Sending The Radon Detection Kit To The Right Sources
Follow the testing kit package instructions to determine where to submit the device for results.
What Effects Does Radon Exposure Have On Health?
According to the EPA, in the United States, radon is the 2nd leading cause of lung disease. Many homes have high levels of radon, which may increase the risk of cancer and cardiovascular problems.
Radonite enters the lungs whenever anyone breathes in radon. Radon and its decay products emit radiation in the form of beta and gamma rays. When radioactive compounds in the body emit alpha particles, they may be hazardous.
Alpha particles could harm already vulnerable lung cells, increasing the likelihood of lung cancer.
Important Things To Note
Radon Is Not Hazardous Outside, But It Is Very Poisonous When Enclosed Or Inside
Radon concentration is often higher inside houses than outdoors because there is less indoor air and less room for radon gas to scatter and escape.
Although radon exposure may occur in any kind of structure, Radon levels are often higher in cellars, vaults, and living areas in direct contact with the soil, Homes with good insulation and tight seals are more prone to accumulating radon to dangerous levels.
Radon Gas Traces May Be Found In Springs, Wells, And Boreholes That Provide Groundwater
Radon exposure may occur through the consumption of polluted water, but inhaling radon is usually more dangerous.
It is more common to find elevated radon levels in groundwater such as springs as opposed to surface water such as lakes and streams.
Radon levels in groundwater may be higher in homes that use that water source than in water that has been processed at a treatment plant.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Test My House For Radon?
Yes. If you live in a place where radon levels are high, you need to have your home tested.
The EPA believes that 6 million households in the United States now have hazardous radon levels.
You can test for radon by employing an expert or purchasing a do-it-yourself test kit from a reliable radon test kit shop.
Most radon gas testing kits include two-day or ninety-day tests that must be returned to the manufacturer for results.
Where Does Most Of The Radon In Our Homes Come From?
Radon may enter a building mostly through the earth or through cracks, construction joints, and openings.
Radon gases are produced by soils and minerals. Excess radon may enter your house through water, building materials, and gas sources.
What Is The Impact Of Radon On The Skin?
Continuous skin exposure to high radon levels can lead to skin cancer. Radon emits carcinogenic radiation. Although this substance is neither invisible nor colorless, it might create issues for homeowners.
Radon is among the leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and Canada. It may be visible at ocean level once it has been extracted from the soil.
At low quantities, it readily evaporates outside and is typically not dangerous.
How Frequently Should My House Be Tested?
Environmental agencies recommend getting a radon test done before purchasing a property, after significant renovations, after a reduction or mitigation system has been put in place, and every two years after that.
Given the numerous ways this radioactive gas can enter your homes, such as leaks and cracks, Radon gas exposure should be taken seriously.
You shouldn’t wait until things are critical before conducting a test and taking precautions to reduce this threat to a safe level.
According to the American Cancer Society, long-term exposure can damage lung tissue, increase the risk of developing lung cancer, and cause other health effects.
With the option of a DIY Testing Kit, it is now simple to carry out this process and protect your family and loved ones.
As you may or may not know by now, radon is a radioactive element derived from uranium, thorium, and other radioactive elements that decay in soil, rocks, and groundwater. Radon is a potentially toxic gas known for almost two centuries. It is an invisible, colorless, and odorless gas. Because of these features, radon cannot be detected using only human senses.
The main attribute that has helped radon evade human research for many years is its invisibility. Since we tend to believe what we see and throw suspicion to what we can't see, the awareness around radon gas is slow to spread.
The dangerous thing about radon is that it emits radiation in alpha particles that are potentially harmful to human health. What is more damaging is that after its alpha emission, it gets converted into certain daughter elements, which continue to release radiation in the lungs for decades. This article mainly focuses on the invisible story of radon and how this invisible gas is a potential threat to human health.
Radon: The Leading Cause of Lung Cancer
Radon is one of the most extensively investigated human lung carcinogens. It has been known for several years as the potential cause of lung cancer among miners. However, radon does not remain confined to mines. Research also indicates that the number of cases of lung cancer due to residential exposure to radon ranges from 3,000 to 33,000, making it the second cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking. Apart from lung cancer, radon exposure is also associated with other malignancies such as leukemia.
According to the health authority, radon exposure is a category one cause of lung cancer. As other studies have shown, radon exposure is the second leading cause of death in patients with lung cancer. About 10 to 40 thousand Canadians succumb to lung cancer due to radon exposure every year. A statistical report also shows a significant rise in lung cancer cases, mainly due to the exposure of contaminants including radon, asbestos, and heavy metals.
Pathogenesis of Lung Cancer After Radon Exposure
This story begins in an environment of high radon concentration. Whenever someone inhales air in such an environment, radon becomes trapped in the lungs. Radon disintegrates into its daughter radioactive elements in the lungs by releasing highly ionizing radiation (alpha particles). This radiation produces oxygen free radicals that damage the core of life – DNA (genetic material carrying complete life information)—the damaged DNA results in the development of mutations that are the primary setting for cancer.
However, cancer takes decades to develop. In addition, other changes have been noticed in the lungs of patients who have only years of history of radon exposure. In these patients, the daughter elements of radon keep on emitting radiation in the lungs, resulting in the formation of fibrosis within the tissues. This fibrosis is the leading cause of restrictive lung diseases characterized by difficult inspiration.
Signs & Symptoms of Radon Exposure
As you can't see, feel, or smell radon, you do not know when you are inhaling radon unless some signs or symptoms appear. Hence, it is pretty important to look for the early signs and symptoms of radon poisoning because if they are left untreated, they can lead to the development of lung cancer.
The classical sign of radon poisoning is a persistent cough due to respiratory distress. Other pulmonary (related to lung) symptoms include recurrent attacks of bronchitis or pneumonia, coughing up blood, chest pain, wheezing, and hoarseness of voice. Some patients also report weight loss, fatigue, and loss of appetite. Whenever such symptoms arise, you must get yourself a thorough medical examination.
Radon: Equally Disastrous to Smokers and Non-Smokers?
A pronounced study clearly states the differential effects of radon exposure among smokers and non-smokers. According to this study, 260 out of 1000 smokers will develop lung cancer if exposed to 20 pCi/L of radon during their lifetime. Similarly, but not as bad, 36 individuals will develop lung cancer in every 1000 non-smokers.
It is clear from this study that regardless of the potentially disastrous synergistic effect of smoking and radon exposure, radon exposure is more than enough to cause lung cancer. That’s why it is known as the element of risk. Every year, about 21000 deaths occur due to radon exposure, and only 2900 of those are non-smokers.
How Damaging is Radon Exposure in Indoor Environments?
Radon is an invisible gas that accumulates in closed buildings. More specifically, buildings with poor ventilation provide a more favorable environment for the dramatic accumulation of radon. Once it becomes concentrated within a confined area, it creates a lung cancer inducing situation similar to that which was observed in miners. Therefore, the most favorable radon concentration locations are the buildings' basements.
As proven from various research studies, radon is a carcinogen found in homes, offices, warehouses, mines, etc. Therefore, all those who have several years of indoor radiation exposure due to radon are at risk of developing cancer and other lung disorders.
Environmental Factors Influencing Indoor Radon Concentration
Significant data demonstrate the effect of environmental factors on radiation exposure by radon in indoor environments, including homes, schools, offices, and other buildings. One of the particular factors is the outdoor temperature. It has been observed that the indoor radon concentration is significantly higher in winter-autumn than in spring-summer.
This detailed analysis further demonstrates that the indoor concentration of radon is inversely related to the indoor humidity, outdoor wind speed, and outdoor dew point temperature. It concludes that whenever indoor humidity is higher, there are fewer chances for the radon to accumulate in that area.
In addition, rain has been observed to increase the radon concentration indoors.
Indoor Sources of Radon
The primary sources of indoor radon includes soil gas, building materials, and tap water. Soil gas infiltration is by far the major contributor to indoor radon concentration. Here arises a question - How can we determine the points of entry for soil gas? The answer lies in the facts that are discussed later.
Among soil particles, specific tiny spaces are filled with water or air in the ground. The gases that are occupying these spaces are collectively termed soil gas. Soil gas is composed of nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. It also contains additional gases like nitric oxide, methane, and ammonia.
Building materials like brick, marble, and granite have a basal level of radioactivity due to some radioactive minerals. They are also likely to possess radon in significant amounts, leading to a higher level of radiation.
Drinking water is only a minor source of radon. Due to drinking contaminated water, radiation exposure is only associated with a negligible risk of stomach cancer and other gastrointestinal malignancies.
Preventive Measures Against Radon Exposure
Primary health care providers must understand the role of radon in causing lung cancer and what precautions should be taken by the general public to avoid undesirable outcomes. These actions begin with getting your house tested for radon exposure. If you are following the E.P.A. radon exposure guideline of 4 pCi/L, and you test higher than that, then action is required to reduce radon levels and therefore minimize radon exposure.
General Preventive Measures
The best cure to any illness is prevention. Individuals should be guided to quit smoking, as radon and smoking have a synergistic effect in causing lung cancer. Nutrition-rich fruits, high in antioxidants, and vegetables may also help the body fight the carcinogens. In some cases, carotenes supplements are also prescribed to individuals at risk of high radon exposure. These supplements lower the chances of cancer development.
Environmental Measures to Reduce Exposure
According to a statistical report, about 42% of radiation exposure worldwide is because of radon. To our surprise, only 0.9% of the global radiation exposure is because of the nuclear industry. It is clear from this finding that radon is dramatically increasing in our local environment and is causing severe health effects. Thus, it is the recommendation of health authorities to get buildings – houses, schools, offices, government - tested for the presence of radon. Environmental testing would be the best preventive measure against radon exposure, which would help to eventually reduce radon-related lung cancer cases because we would be able to identify which buildings require mitigation.
Radon can easily get into your home through cracks and in the foundation of your home. While many people install a radon mitigation system to control radon levels, others try to use epoxy coating on the basement walls and basement floors as a method to combat elevated levels of radon.
But are floor sealing systems any effective? If yes, then how would we seal cracks in the basement floor to stop radon?
Stick till the very end of this article to find out!
Radon Gas: An Overview
Radon is a radioactive gas formed by the break-down of radioactive elements such as uranium. This is a colorless, odorless, and an inert gas, which makes its detection quite tricky unless you are using a dedicated tool.
This is a naturally occurring gas, so people are almost always exposed to it. It usually seeps into the buildings through the gaps and cracks in the basement and accumulates over time.
Radon dilutes itself in the surrounding air, and then starts to cause many health problems. Prolonged exposure to radon increases the chances of lung cancer by 14%. According to the EPA, radon causes over 20,000 lung cancer deaths every year in the US alone.
Can Radon Enter Your Basement?
Radon usually enters your house through the basement, and it emanates when uranium found in soil naturally decays. Since it is produced from the soil, it finds easy access indoors through the cracks in your basement. The pressure difference between the outside and inside area of your home creates a vacuum. This vacuum pulls radon through the cracks or holes in your basement. Radon can enter your house through:
However, you will need a special instrument or test kits to accurately determine the concentration of radon in your house.
Will Sealing My Basement Help?
Yes, you can reduce the level of radon in your basement by sealing the cracks. The only prerequisite is that your house must have a radon mitigation system to manage the level of radon in the house.
You must also keep in mind that you should seal the whole floor rather than the cracks. This is because, over time, the flooring can develop new cracks, allowing the radon to enter the house. Hence, covering the basement flooring with the help of the sealant reduces the changes of new cracks and reinforces the floor again.
Also, as per the EPA, you must use a sub-slab depressurization system to remove all the radon gas present beneath the basement flooring before sealing it. This system extracts the extra radon and vents it off in the air with the help of the fan.
Once the extra gas is removed, you can seal the basement floor and reduce the level of radon in your house.
How To Seal The Cracks In The Basement Floor
The foundation of your house is one of its most important components. Thus, while laying down the foundation of the house, special emphasis is put on it, but no matter what you do, it develops cracks over time.
Since these cracks are sufficient for the radon gas to escape into your house, it is essential to seal these cracks in the basement. You can follow these steps to seal the cracks in the basement floor for radon:
1. Clean The Area
Before applying any sealant on the basement floor, you must clean the floor properly. Cleaning is essential so that the sealant can stick to the floor properly. You can prepare a solution of dish soap and warm water and then scrub the surfaces with the help of a scrub brush.
If your floor has mold growth, you must use a bleach solution, mold remover, or baking soda solution for scrubbing. Once you have removed the mold, wait for the floor to dry so as to avoid mold growth again.
In addition, if your floor has been painted over it, you must remove the paint with the help of a paint stripper. Once you have removed the paint, you can scrub the surface.
2. Check For Openings
Next, you must locate all the openings and cracks on the flooring. These openings and cracks act as a place for the radon to seep in. Therefore, it is essential to waterproof the foundation and prevent possible leaks.
You can fill these openings and cracks with caulk or hydraulic cement. After applying the mixture of caulk or cement, you must wait for the mixture to dry and solidify.
3. Checking The Surrounding Of The Basement
You must go through all the corners of your basement properly to identify any more cracks. You should also look for all the water sources present outside or inside the basement. Relocate all the plants and fix the damaged gutters and downspouts.
4. Applying The Sealant
Once you are done with patching the basement floor and removing all the water sources, apply one to two coats of the sealant. You can choose the sealant as per the surface of the basement. Use a roller or paint brush to apply the sealant uniformly on the flooring.
Radon gas can enter your house through any gap, crack, or cavity in the wall. It becomes necessary to close the cracks and seal them. Otherwise, radon gas can harm you and your loved ones. Regularly inspect the flooring and the walls to ensure they have no holes or cracks.
Lastly, you should get your floor sealed even if you have a mitigation system in place already. This is because sealing helps in dehumidification, dust-proofs the slab and improves usability.
If the area is too large, consider hiring a professional instead.
Whether you've just moved into a new home or have been living in the same place for years, making sure that your home is safe from nefarious gases like radon is crucial for your family's health. After all, you want to be able to breathe easy in your own home, right?
Fortunately, there are ways to test for the presence of radon gas, and we've got the scoop on the best long-term radon monitors out there. These monitors will help you get an accurate reading of the radon levels in your home without any lab fees. Although the results they provide are not as accurate as what a lab can produce, you will get a continuous reading that you can check at any time.
So whether you're looking for an easy, no-fuss way to test your home for radon gas, or want to be extra sure that your family is safe, read on for our top 5 picks for the best short-term AND long-term radon monitors.
The 5 Best Long-Term / Short-Term Radon Monitors For Your Home
Let's review the following electronic devices, all of which are equipped with sensors capable of short-term and long-term detection. Please keep in mind that this list is not in any particular order. No one device is better than another. They each have different features and different options. Your choice depends on your own personal preferences.
1. RadonEye RD200 Home Radon Detector
Having accurate and continuous readings of the radon levels in your home is key to keeping your family safe, and the RadonEye RD200 Home Radon Detector does just that. This little gadget is designed to be placed in your home and will take readings every 10 minutes, giving you up-to-the-minute information about the radon levels in your home.
Not only is the RadonEye RD200 easy to use, but it's also one of the most responsive radon monitor on the market. The OLED display is large and easy to read, even from a distance, and the free app (for iOS and Android) allows you to track the readings over time, so you can see if there are any spikes or changes.
All in all, the RadonEye RD200 is a great choice for those who want quick, accurate, real-time readings of the radon levels in their home.
2. Airthings 2930 Wave Plus
What's better than a smart home device that can tell you the radon levels in your home? One that can also tell you the humidity, temperature and air quality of course! The Airthings 2930 Wave Plus does all that and more, making it one of the most comprehensive continuous radon monitor on the market.
The most interesting feature of the Wave Plus is its "Wave" function, which gives users a color-coded visual of the air quality in their homes. Green means the air is good, yellow means it's moderate, and red means it's time to open a window!
The accompanying Airthings app is also very user-friendly and gives users the ability to see trends over time and set up alerts if the radon levels in their homes get too high.
3. SafetySiren Pro4
If you're willing to dish out a bit more cash for a radon monitor, the SafetySiren Pro4 is a great option. This reliable and well-reviewed testing device has been on the market for years, so you know it's tried and true.
The SafetySiren Pro4 is placed in your home and will take readings every 24 hours, giving you a good idea of the long-term radon exposure in your home. This device has an audible alarm that will sound if the radon levels in your home get too high, so you can take action immediately.
Homeowners will love that the SafetySiren Pro4 is easy to use and gives them peace of mind knowing that they'll be alerted if the radon levels in their home get too high.