HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Is a silent killer lurking in your home?
You can’t see it and can’t smell it but radon gas can seep into your home and greatly increase your risk for lung cancer.
It's a real threat for those of us here in the Tennessee Valley and the only way to know you have it, is to test your home.
North Alabama is a hot spot for Radon gas.
Almost all of our counties are in Zone 1 according to the public health department, that comes with the highest potential for elevated radon levels.
We asked Home Inspector, Juliann Oxley with Magnolia Property Inspections to test this Madison County Home and explain the danger behind what you can't even see.
"So you don't know you have radon. It usually collects in the lowest living level of your house so first floor living, maybe you have a basement. Crawlspaces don't really affect radon levels because it's pulled into the home environment," said Juliann Oxley.
Homes built on slabs don’t stop radon gas from seeping in either. Oxley said in her testing, typically one and every six homes come back with high radon levels.
"It's really where your home is located. Your neighbor could have radon and you might not have radon," explained Oxley.
Radon gas is naturally released from the breakdown of uranium in our soil but can be dangerous when it becomes trapped in our homes.
Exposure to radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer, behind smoking and kills more than 21-thousand people in the U-S every year.
"it's important for you to know so that you can take action. It's an actionable gas. It should be scary if you don't know, so finding out is really an important thing," explained Oxley.
For around $150, you can have a professional come in and run an electronic test for radon over a 48 hour period for the best results.
If you have a radon level of 4 pCi/l (Picocurie Per Liter) or more, take steps to remedy the problem as soon as possible, 4 pCi/l is the actionable level set by the EPA meaning the chances of getting lung cancer from radon are incredibly high and you need to take action.
Joey Price is the owner of Radon Solutions & Services. His company installs multiple radon mitigation systems in homes every week. Installation can run anywhere from $1,400 to $1,700 depending on your home.
Price said the mitigation system has more benefits on air quality than just getting rid of radon.
"A lot of the area used to be fields where they sprayed a lot of pesticides which are carcinogenic which are still in the ground so this pulls a lot of that stuff out besides radon," said Price.
You need a professional to install radon mitigation systems but to test, you can do it yourself.
Just order a free kit in the mail from the state health department here. When you’re done, send it back, and they’ll give you the results.
You can also buy one from home improvement stores or at your county co-op for around $10 to $14.