Radon is a natural radioactive gas that you can’t see, smell, or taste. There is usually very little radon in the air outside, but sometimes an unsafe level of radon can build up indoors.
Breathing in too much radon over time can cause lung cancer, especially if you smoke.
If you are breathing in too much radon, you won’t feel sick or have any symptoms right away. Testing your home is the only way to know if there’s a radon problem.
About 1 out of every 15 homes in the United States has a level of radon that needs to be reduced. If the radon level in your home is high, you can take steps to fix it.
Test your home with a short-term test.
Testing your home for radon is easy and doesn't cost very much. You can test for radon yourself or hire a professional to do it for you. If you rent your home, ask your landlord to get it tested.
There are 2 main types of radon test kits. Short-term tests take between 2 and 90 days. Long-term tests take more than 90 days. Start with a short-term test.
- Test for radon in the lowest level of your home that people spend time in. If you use part of your basement for living space, like a playroom, test there. If you only use your basement for storage, test the ground floor.
- You can buy test kits at home improvement or hardware stores. To order a test kit over the phone, call the National Radon Hotline at 1-800-SOS-RADON (1-800-767-7236).
- If your home has a radon level of 4 or higher, it’s time to take action. There is no safe level of radon, so you may still want to fix your home if the radon level is between 2 and 4.
Test your home again if the radon level is 4 or higher.
The radon level in your home can change. A long-term test is the best way to know what the radon level is over time.
- If the radon level was very high or if you are in a hurry, use another short-term test.
- If the level was close to 4 and you have time, use a long-term test.
If your home has a radon level of 4 or higher, fix your home.
If 2 radon test kits show that the radon level in your home is 4 or higher, make a plan to fix your home. You may also want to take action if the radon level is between 2 and 4.