What is the Best Air Purifier for Radon Gas?
Air purifiers are acclaimed to clean the air of just about anything you can throw at them. This fact holds true even when you are dealing with dangerous radioactive gasses like radon, but they should not be your primary line of defense. Radon is a gas that can come up out of the ground, and it is known to cause cancer.
The best air purifier that will deal with radon in your home will have an activated carbon filter. No other type of air filter can capture radon gas. Air purifiers are not as effective as radon reduction systems, so please consult a radon specialist. A still better option is to install fans into your basement for radon removal before it enters your home. While you are down in the crawlspace, monitor your sump pumps to make sure that they are working.
Activated carbon filters are designed to be able to capture gasses out of the air. No other kind of air filtration system can boast this remarkable fact, as they are all designed to capture solid particles, rather than gaseous fumes. Because radon is a gas -like Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)- it can be addressed with the use of a carbon filter.
Radon and Your Home’s Air Quality
Radon air entering into your house is thought to be the second leading cause of cancer in the US after smoking. So get rid of radon. Because of this, radon really ought to be considered when people consider their home’s air cleaning quality. Indoor air quality and radon go hand in hand. After all, why would you care about some harmless dust when there is something that is actually dangerous in the air?
Traditional air filters are ineffective at filtering gasses, including radon from the air. It does not matter how many replacement filter you change. This is why manufacturers have begun making activated carbon filters which are proven to cleanse the air of gasses and odors alike. Therefore, the best (and the only) air purifier for radon will need an activated carbon filter.
That being said, even an air purifier with a carbon filter may not be enough to address some radon issues in homes. The best machine for the job of reducing radon levels in your home is actually purpose-built to address radon. These machines generally have a lot more activated carbon than a standard household air purifier does, which is very important. But, the best measures to take at addressing your radon issue is actually taking preventative measures.
Install A Basement Fan
The best way to reduce radon levels in your home usually boils down to installing fans into your basement or crawlspace! This practice is often called “source control” and it simply shoots the radon gas away from your family. By pulling the radon gas away from your home’s underbelly, you are saving your family from the effects of radon and health risk. The EPA recommends getting someone who is qualified to install these fans and spearhead your home’s radon mitigation campaign.
Once you’ve installed a radon fan into your basement (there are generally services that can do this for you), you should test the air in your home once again. This is the best way to test to see if your mitigation efforts were worthwhile.
The EPA recommends installing radon fans in your basement to remove radon from your home, rather than use an air purifier with a carbon filter to capture ambient radon. This is because of the fact that prevention is a lot better than curing any issue. As the old adage goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
But, all that being said, an air purifier with a carbon filter can still help to clear some of the ambient radon in your home’s air, it just shouldn’t be your first choice!
WHAT IS RADON? WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT RADON IN MY HOME’S AIR
Radon is a gas that comes up from the ground, and can seep into your home from the very foundation your house is built atop of. Radon comes from natural uranium deposits, which are all over the globe. As the uranium breaks down, radon is released. It slowly makes its way to the surface, which may just be where your home is built. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
Radon is a known carcinogen, which means that the EPA has directly linked it to cancer cases. It is literally everywhere we go, whether that is indoors or outdoors. That being said, it’s most dangerous in higher concentrations, and your home is prone to be exactly where it concentrates.
Smokers, who are already at a heightened risk of lung cancer, are the most susceptible to the effects of radon gas. Because of this, there are a lot more cases of smokers and ex-smokers who develop lung cancer because of the radon in the air they breathe. Take care of you and your family and any other cause of lung cancer that can enter your home.
HOW CAN I TEST MY HOME FOR RADON?
You can’t see or smell radon, so the only way to find out if it is an issue is to actually test for radon. These tests are rather simple, and can find them for less than the cost of eating out with the family. If you would like to test your home, just look up something along the lines of “radon testing kit”. There, you will be met with many different options. You can also have this test done for you, if you so choose. You will want to test your radon system annually.
These testing kits will likely have instructions of their own. But here’s a quick step-by-step on how most of these kits generally have you perform your radon test. These steps will apply to one of the “short-term” tests that are offered.
-Open your test unit and immediately place it in the least lived-in room on the lowest level in your home.
-Close this room off (shut the windows and doors leading into the room), and keep it closed as best you can.
-If possible, it is recommended to have the room you intend to test closed off for at least 12 hours prior to starting your test, but it isn’t generally required.
-Wait for any storms or heavy rains to pass, as these weather patterns can actually alter your test results.
Short-term radon tests are quick tests to see if you have a radon issue in your home. There are also long-term radon tests out there, but many people like to find out as soon as possible. If the air in their home is potentially killing them, hence the short test. These short-term tests can be as short as two full days (48 hours). But can be a little longer depending upon who you do your test with.
Long-term radon tests are better at telling you the specifics of your radon exposure, and they generally last about three months (90 days). These tests are nice because they help you account for the varying levels of radon in your home. Radon levels actually can increase and decrease with the seasons and weather, so long-term tests are more accurate.
SO, SHOULD I GET AN AIR PURIFIER?
If you have a radon issue, then no, you should not get an air purifier as your primary means of mitigation. Prevention, in the form of a professionally installed radon fan, should be your first call. However, if you have allergies, an issue with lingering odors, VOCs, or any number of other issues with your home’s air, an air purifier would be a wise choice.
Air purifiers really do a whole lot, and it seems like their list of capabilities grows every year. That being said, your standard home air purifier, even if it has an activated carbon filter, will not address your radon issue for your whole house. Whole-house air purifiers may be better equipped to deal with whole house issues, like radon, but these solutions are costly, and once again, prevention beats a cure any day.
Do Air Purifiers Work?
Yes, and depending on the make and model that you are considering, they work very well! Air purifiers are great for dust control, in addition to combating your seasonal allergies. You may have thought there was no fix for dust. No, air purifiers won’t cure you of allergies, but they will seemingly cure you while you are home. All of your allergens have been pulled out of the air.
What Are VOCs?
VOCs also known as Volatile Organic Compounds are chemicals that are released by everyday items. Such as: cleaning solutions, aerosols, and paint. They are known to cause diseases later in life, and they can worsen the effects and severity of Asthma.
What Are Charcoal Filters?
Charcoal filters are one and the same as carbon filters, these phrases are used interchangeably. These filters mainly come in two different types activated and impregnated carbon. Impregnated does everything activated carbon does, but it also targets VOCs, which can be dangerous.
Why Don’t Normal Air Purifiers Capture VOCs?
VOCs are gasses, which means they are a lot smaller than the particles that even a HEPA filter can capture. VOCs have to be captured with impregnated carbon filters. They have special chemicals embedded into their structure so that they can deal specifically with VOCs.