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Test Your Home for Radon: Quick tips

Radon is a natural radioactive gas that you can’t see, smell, or taste. Breathing in too much radon can cause lung cancer, especially if you smoke.

About 1 out of every 15 homes in the United States has a level of radon that needs to be reduced.

Testing your home is the only way to know if your home has a radon problem. If the radon level 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.

Test Your Home for Radon: Quick tips

Content last updated on:
March 25, 2014