Fast Facts About Radon Test Kits
Originating from the decomposition of uranium found in some soils and rock formations, radon gas can build up in homes causing significant health issues. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and responsible for more than 20,000 deaths annually, which is why it’s important to test for and mitigate radon levels in your home.
While entrusting testing to a professional radon removal expert ensures the most accurate results, home radon test kits are available if you’d like to first test for radon yourself.
Here are some fast facts about home kits to know before getting started:
Passive vs. Active Radon Tests
There are two main type of radon test kits:
- Passive kits simply need to be placed in a low-traffic area on the lowest livable floor of your home and left there for the designated testing period.
- Active monitors are placed similarly but, because they need a power supply, require just plugging the display unit into an electrical outlet.
Types of Tests
Homeowners can choose between two different types of radon tests:
- Short-term radon kits measure radon levels for two to 90 days for express results.
- Long-term radon kits are meant to monitor radon levels from 90 days to one year to obtain more accurate, year-round readings.
Ease of Use
Radon test kits are relatively simple for the average homeowner. Give both passive and active kits enough clearance from certain surfaces for accurate results. Your radon test should ideally be:
- 3 feet or more from exterior windows or doors
- At least 12 inches from the ceiling
- 1 foot or more from exterior walls
- 20 inches or more above the floor
- 4 inches from other objects or radon tests
- Kept away from heat sources
Airborne radon levels are measured in picocuries per liter of air, or pCi/L. If your test kit reveals that radon levels in your home exceed 4 pCi/L, it’s time to take action and schedule radon mitigation measures with a professional.
When to Test for Radon
You should aim to test and retest your home for radon every two to five years, even if your first test indicates that it’s at a safe level. You should also test before and after making any changes to your house, such as finishing a basement, making energy efficient improvements, adding or modifying central HVAC systems or installing a kitchen vent hood.
Testing for radon during the winter months or heating season is recommended when you keep your windows and doors closed more. This helps trap radon in your home for longer periods for a more representative reading. However, testing all year and in all seasons can help provide a full overview of radon levels in your home.
Factors Impacting Radon Test Accuracy
Weather can affect radon levels inside your home. Particularly windy weather, for example, can disrupt test kit readings, especially on short-term tests, so it’s best to wait for calm conditions. Interference from heat, humidity and other gasses can also impact accuracy.
The leading fact that can impact the accuracy of your radon test results is human error. If you choose to you a home test kit, it’s vital that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter.
Can I Test For Radon Myself, or Should I Hire a Professional?
While radon test kits are designed for homeowner use, a professional radon tester is advised to ensure accurate results. Professionals have specialized equipment and training to conduct more comprehensive and precise tests along with radon mitigation. If you’re planning to buy or sell a home, some real estate transactions may require professional radon testing.
Get Tested for Radon Today
Even if you can’t see it, radon could be present in your home. It’s important to test for radon to ensure that your family is safe from the long-term threats that radon poses. Contact Radon Crew to get an instant quote and schedule an appointment with the crew to determine your best course of action to test your home for radon and live with peace of mind.