Pennsylvania residents should periodically test homes for radon

January is National Radon Action Month!

Harrisburg, PA – January is National Radon Action Month, and winter is a great time to test for this known human carcinogen. 40 percent of Pennsylvania homes have higher levels of radon than the Environmental Protection Agency considers acceptable. 

Visit this page to learn more about radon and how to perform a simple test to keep you and your loved ones safe:

Radon is an odorless, colorless radioactive gas that occurs naturally from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks and enters homes through cracks in the foundation or other openings. High levels of radon tend to be found in basements, but the gas can be found anywhere in the home.

Winter is a good time to test for radon, because doors and windows are generally closed, providing more accurate results. If you’d rather not use a do-it-yourself test kit, hiring a qualified radon professional to conduct a test is another option.

The EPA action level is 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of air. If your home’s radon level is higher than this, the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Surgeon General recommend taking action to lower it.

A professionally installed radon reduction system, with a vent pipe and exhaust fan, will help prevent the radon from entering your home and discharge it outside.

Compared with the associated risk of lung cancer, radon reduction systems are very affordable, generally in the price range of other common home improvements. Having a system installed will also make the future sale of your home easier. 

If you’re building a new home, DEP recommends installing a passive radon system during construction. There is no reliable way to test the ground in advance for radon, and the cost of installing the radon system during construction should be less than installing one after the fact.

For people buying or selling a home, Pennsylvania’s Real Estate Seller Disclosure Act requires sellers to disclose the results of any known radon testing. The DEP website lists radon testing options for real estate transactions.

Pennsylvania law requires all professional radon testers, mitigators, and laboratories to be certified by DEP, which provides a public list of certified radon service providers. People can also obtain a hard copy or verify a company’s certification by calling 800-23RADON (800-237-2366).

 DEP is posting daily radon tips on Facebook and Twitter and airing a public service announcement on TV and radio. A helpful video with radon testing instructions is provided on the DEP website.

For more information, contact the DEP Radon Division: