As a homeowner, you have to concern yourself with all kinds of home "invasions" from pests to gases you cannot see or smell. It is the latter that could be more dangerous than a family of cockroaches in your kitchen. Radon and CO2 detectors should be installed throughout your home, but if you can only afford to install one kind of monitor now, which should it be? Which is more toxic as a silent and deadly killer?
Slow-Growing Cancer vs. Dying in Your Sleep Overnight
Really the difference between radon poisoning and CO2 poisoning is the length of time you have between exposure and death. Radon is lethal, to be sure, but unless the levels are exceptionally high, you might have to wait several years before radon in your home kills you. With CO2, a single night of breathing in this colorless and odorless gas will kill you in your sleep! While you do not want either in your home, it is clear that CO2 levels will kill you faster and without you even realizing what is happening to you as it happens.
Radon Sickness Has No Warning Signs, CO2 Does
Unless you know what to look for, it may be impossible to tell without the radon or CO2 detectors that your home has a problem. Radon affects you slowly over time, so there really are not any noticeable signs that you are being poisoned until lung cancer is diagnosed and/or you are having a lot of trouble breathing. CO2 poisoning, however, makes it seem like you have really bad flu. You will feel dizzy, nauseous, and have a headache which may or may not be accompanied by a mild fever. It will be much more apparent in children because they have more respirations per minute and are breathing in more of the CO2 every hour than adults.
Fixing the Problem
If you cannot afford radon and CO2 detectors for the entire home, consider buying one of each. Put the CO2 detector upstairs, where the CO2 is most likely to harm you when you are sleeping and unaware of the presence of the gas. Put the radon one downstairs where the gas will be inhaled while the family is present and having dinner or watching TV together during the rest of the hours when you and your family are awake. If either gas is present in strong quantities, hire a CO2/radon mitigation contractor like one from Certified I.A.Q. Professionals to test the area.