Learning The “Secrets” of Tests

Understanding Radon Testing and Expert Recommendations

Determining whether you need a radon mitigating system requires a test. 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.

Passive Testing

There is no need for power to work with passive radon testing devices. Examples of these devices are charcoal canisters, alpha track and electret ion chamber detectors and charcoal liquid scintillators. Generally speaking, passive radon devices, both short and long term, are inexpensive.

Active Testing

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

It’s good to approach a state or local official to gain knowledge of the differences among various radon devices and what’s best for your particular needs and requirements. Make it a point to obtain your radon testing device from a qualified laboratory. The greater your radon exposure, the higher your risk of getting lung cancer. Hence, a radon-certified contractor installing a radon mitigation system in your home can practically save 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, test results can also be expressed in Working Levels (WL) instead of picocuries per liter for air. In a typical house, 0.016 WL is equal to around 4 pCi/L.

At such a level, a radon abatement system would be recommended. The U.S. Congress has set a long-term goal of keeping indoor radon levels lower than outdoor levels. Outside air normally has around 4 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.

With current technology, most homes’ radon level can be lowered to 2 pCi/L or less. For a 2-4 pCi/L radon level reading, you may consider radon mitigation as well. 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. With a short-term test, you can expect faster results; with a long-term test, you will get a clearer idea of your home’s year-round radon level, and whether radon mitigation is a must in your case .

Radon Testing Recommendations from EPA

Radon testing is recommended by the EPA in two categories. One is for homeowners whose house is not for sale, and the other is for radon testing and reduction in real estate deals. One is for radon testing and reduction in real estate deals, and the other is for homeowners with no intention to sell their houses.

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