Homeowners encouraged to test for radon this winter

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Officials with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection are encouraging homeowners to test their homes for radon.

40 percent of Pennsylvanians have higher levels of radon in their home than the Environmental Protection Agency considers acceptable. This is due to the state’s geology, with higher levels of uranium and thorium in our soil and rocks.

Radon is a colorless and odorless gas, which often gets into homes through cracks in the foundation or other openings. It is one of the leading causes of cancer, second only to smoking, according to the EPA.

Winter is the best time to test your home for radon, because doors and windows need to be closed to provide an accurate reading.

“The temperature also has an effect. Generally, the radon’s about 30 percent higher in the winter time than the summer time,” said Robert Lewis, Program Manager of the Radon Division of the Department of Environmental Protection. “So, when we’re dealing with a radioactive substance, we like to be more conservative. So, we’d rather find something high than miss it in the summer time, when it might be low.”

Radon testing kits are typically inexpensive and can be found at home goods stores. You can also hire a qualified radon professional to conduct the test, if you’d rather not do it yourself.

If a test finds elevated levels of radon in your home, it’s recommended you hire a certified radon service provider. The DEP provides a public list of providers on their website.

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