Homeowners should test for radon during winter


HARRISBURG, Pa. — Winter is the ideal time to test for radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas, the second leading cause of lung cancer.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) encourages Pennsylvanians to conduct a simple test of their homes for radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is the second leading cause of lung cancer.

Winter is a good time to test in the commonwealth because doors and windows are closed, providing more accurate results.

“Because of our geology, nearly every county in the commonwealth has locations of high radon levels, putting Pennsylvanians at risk of exposure,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “A radon test is a great way to protect yourself and your family. Fortunately, testing your home for radon is as simple as opening a can, and inexpensive do-it-yourself tests are available at hardware and home stores.”

Leading cause

Radon is a leading cause of lung cancer in Pennsylvania, according to Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine.

Radon is an odorless, colorless, radioactive gas that occurs from the breakdown of uranium in the ground. It enters homes through cracks in the foundation or other openings. As a result, high levels of radon tend to be found in basements, but the gas can be found anywhere in the home.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set 4 picocuries of radon per liter (pCi/L) of air as an Action Level. If your radon level is higher than this, EPA, DEP, and the U.S. Surgeon General recommend having a radon mitigation system professionally installed to lower it.

Typically consisting of a pipe and exhaust fan, the system will vent radon to the outside. All radon testers, mitigators, and laboratories in Pennsylvania must be certified by DEP, which provides a public list of certified radon service providers.

Test kits

People can also obtain a hard copy or verify a company’s certification by calling DEP at 800-23RADON (800-237-2366). DEP will send free follow-up test kits to Pennsylvanians who’ve tested their homes and have results higher than 100 pCi/L or who’ve installed an active mitigation system in the past year.

If you’re building a new home, DEP recommends installing a passive radon system during construction.

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.

For more information, contact the DEP Radon Division at 800-237-2366 or 717-783-3594, or via email at ra-epbrpenvprt@pa.gov.

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  1. I really like that you touched on installing some radon testing in the new construction homes now. My parents are in an older home and are worried about radon gas in the house. They need to reach out to some professionals that will be able to help them get rid of any gas near their home.

  2. That’s good to know that radon can cause lung cancer. I would want to avoid cancer as much as possible, so radon sounds like a good thing to avoid. I’ll have to consider getting my house tested to make sure that I don’t have any issues with radon in my house.

  3. Some really important in this article. Getting your home tested for radon can help protect you and your family from the danger of radon.

  4. OH. MY. GOODNESS. What?! Oh, wow. I didn’t even realize just how dangerous radon is towards our respiratory system, which is why protective gears must be worn when testing for its presence. I’m so gonna have to warn my husband about this matter so he can simply hire an expert to handle the situation he’s facing currently pretty soon. There’s been a report of radon leak at his office basement parking lot for a few days now and he’s been asked to investigate the issue.


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