Radon Testing and Recommendations
A test is necessary to know whether your need a radon mitigation system. Considering that radon is invisible and cannot be smelled, you need special equipment to know if it is present.
There are two types of radon testing based on the devices used: passive and active.
Power is not required to make passive radon testing devices work. Examples of these devices are charcoal canisters, alpha track and electret ion chamber detectors and charcoal liquid scintillators. In general, passive radon devices – both long-term and short-term – are priced cheap.
In contrast to passive testing, active testing uses devices that provide hourly readings as well as average results for the entire test period, thus requiring power to function. Such devices include continuous working level and continuous radon monitors, and they make this type of testing pricier.
Understanding the Radon Testing Process
Approach a state or local official to help you understand the differences between radon devices, and to get recommendations as to which are best for your needs and anticipated testing conditions. Be sure to get a radon testing device from a qualified laboratory. Radon exposure can increase a person’s risk of getting lung cancer. Therefore, by hiring a radon-certified contractor to install a radon mitigation system in your home, you are saving your family’s life.
The amount of radon present in the air is typically measured as picocuries of radon per liter of air (pCi/L). Sometimes, the results of a radon test can be expressed in Working Levels (WL) rather than pCi/L. In a regular home, 0.016 WL is equivalent to bout 4 pCi/L.
At this level, experts would recommend a radon abatement system. The U.S. Congress has set a long-term goal of keeping indoor radon levels lower than outdoor levels. Outdoor air usually has a radon level of pCi/L. If your house gets a single long-term test result or a two short-term test average result of 4 pCi/L (0.016 WL) or more, EPA recommends mitigating steps.
Present technology allows the reduction of most homes’ radon level to 2 pCi/L or even less. If your level is from 2 to 4 pCi/L, you can also consider radon mitigation. A short-term radon test stays in your home for 2-90 days, while a long-term test can be in your home beyond three months. All radon tests must be taken for at least 48 hours. Quicker results can be expected from shorter-term tests; longer term tests, on the other hand, give you a better understanding the average radon level of your home throughout an entire year, and tells you whether a radon abatement system is necessary.
Two radon testing categories are recommended by the EPA. One is for homeowners whose house is not for sale, and the other is for radon testing and reduction in real estate deals. One covers homeowners who have no plans of selling their homes, and the other covers radon testing and reduction in real estate deals.