Radon Testing: How to Test for Radon in Your Home
Radon is a radioactive gas that can build up in homes and cause lung cancer. We can test for radon using charcoal canisters or with a special film.
A home inspection will usually include Radon Testing Colorado Springs. It is important to follow the instructions on the test kit for an accurate reading.
Alpha-track detectors, also known as track-etch detectors, are used to detect radon in your home. These devices are passive and work by allowing the alpha particles from radon to strike an exposed chip on the device. When these tracks are counted in a lab, the average concentration of radon can be determined. The track-etch detector is the most common test method for long-term (90 days to a year) monitoring of radon in your home.
These tests should be placed on the lowest level of your home, away from any water sources (like bathrooms or kitchens), drains, windows, and doors, and in a room that is not used frequently. The device should not be disturbed during the course of the test.
When conducting a long-term radon test, it is important to make sure that the area of the house that you are testing is closed off from other areas of your home (like your living rooms and bedrooms) for the duration of the testing. The closed-house condition allows for the most accurate results by limiting your exposure to other factors that can influence the testing results, such as varying weather conditions and the movement of people in and out of the area.
For this reason, these long-term tests require more time to complete than a short-term test and may be more expensive. However, the more accurate data that you will be provided with can allow you to take more informed steps to fix your radon levels and protect yourself and your family.
Many home owners choose to purchase a charcoal canister or charcoal liquid scintillation kit to conduct a short-term test on their own. It is important to know that these kits can only be analyzed by a lab and are not accurate for long-term monitoring of the radon in your home.
The passive radon test is a cheap and easy-to-use device that is a great option for property owners who want to test their homes for radon. It is a home-testing kit that contains two detectors and step-by-step instructions to help you set it up in your home. It is recommended that the detectors be placed in the living room and bedroom of your home, but it is also possible to test other rooms or areas of your house if you prefer. It is important to follow the directions included in your test kit closely to get the most accurate results.
The radon detectors are placed in the home and allowed to remain undisturbed for the duration of the testing period. Once the testing time is up, the detectors are sealed, packaged, and express-mailed to a laboratory for analysis. The laboratory will then send the radon test results to the property owner.
Another popular type of radon detection device is the electret ion chamber detector. These lab-produced devices contain a Teflon disc that is charged with static electricity. When the Teflon disc comes into contact with radon, it loses its charge, and the level of radon can be determined from the reduced electric charge level. These types of detectors are generally used by radon professionals and are often the preferred method for radon testing in real estate transactions.
Passive radon tests are less reliable than active tests due to the potential for interference. This can occur from running appliances such as ceiling fans, dehumidifiers, and standing or table-top fans. It can also occur from household activities such as opening and closing windows, using the bathroom and kitchen, and using the vacuum cleaner. This may result in inaccurate radon readings.
For more accurate radon levels, it is best to have a professional conduct the radon inspection. This professional can use an activated charcoal canister, an alpha track detector, or a continuous monitor and can offer recommendations for a radon mitigation system. This is a crucial part of the process, as high levels of radon can pose serious health issues for a family.
If the passive test shows radon levels above the recommended level or there are other reasons to perform further testing, the next step is to use a continuous monitoring device. These are small devices that stay in your home for between two and 90 days. They are tamper-proof and provide hour-by-hour documentation of radon levels in your home. They also document temperature and barometric pressure changes that might indicate tampering, such as someone opening windows in an attempt to skew the results.
The device measures air containing radon and its decay products through a small chamber that contains an electret. The ionization generated by radon and its decay products ionizes the electret in the detector, and the discharge of the electret over time is proportional to the radon concentration. This information is then converted to a yearly average exposure using a mathematical model. These devices can be purchased from a home kit store or by mail, but hiring an EPA or state-certified radon tester is the best way to ensure that you will receive accurate test results.
These devices are most commonly used in long-term tests (90 days or more), but they can be used for short-term testing as well. They should be placed on the lowest livable level of your home, such as a basement if you have one, but should not be placed in closets, laundry rooms, or utility areas. They must also be tested under closed building conditions, meaning that all doors and windows are kept closed except for normal entry and exit, and attic fans are turned off.
Like the charcoal canisters, these units collect radon and its decay products through an electronic sensor. Once the test is complete, it is sent to a lab for analysis. The lab is required to be accredited through a state program in order to ensure that the devices and measurement processes are calibrated properly. This process helps to reduce the possibility of careless errors that can happen in other, non-accredited laboratories. The calibration and cleaning procedures that the lab follows can be verified through a certificate of compliance.
Radon levels are measured in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). Although no level of radon is considered safe, the EPA recommends that action be taken if your home’s radon level is 4 pCi/L or above. A radon reduction system can be installed in your house to reduce the amount of radon entering the building and decrease your risk of lung cancer. Most radon reduction systems use a vent pipe that is connected to an exhaust fan located outside the house or in the attic space. The system pulls the radon from the soil underneath the foundation through the vent pipe and exhausts it out of the house. Depending on your home, a contractor may need to perform diagnostic tests to determine the best system for your house.
If you decide to hire a contractor to fix your radon problem, make sure that the contractor is a member of the National Radon Safety Board or the National Radon Proficiency Program. They should also carry out a visual inspection of your house to determine the best system to install. This includes checking any gaps where pipes or wires enter the house and construction joints in walls and floors. It is also important to check for any well water sources that could be contaminated by radon.
To ensure accurate results, a short-term radon test that lasts no more than four days should be conducted on the lowest level of your house, where people spend most of their time. During the testing period, you should keep your windows closed and not operate fans that recirculate air or bring in air from outside. You should also avoid painting or making major changes to the house.
Whether you are performing the test yourself or hiring a measurement professional, it is important to follow the directions in the radon test kit closely to ensure accurate results. You should also make sure that the measurement device is listed by a program like the NRPP or NRSB and is clean and functioning properly.
Since radon can only be detected by a specialized test, you should have your home tested at least once every two years. If you have a radon reduction system in place, you should also test the home again to ensure that it is working properly.