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How to Test for Radon Gas & Which Test is Right For You

By March 7, 2020October 27th, 2020Home Inspection, Radon
Test for radon

Radon Testing Methods

The only way to know how much radon gas is in a home or structure is to conduct a radon test. Generally speaking there are two types of tests that can be performed. Passive radon tests use devices that do not need power to operate and are typically less expensive. Active radon tests on the other hand use devices that do need power to operate and are typically more expensive.

There are also short-term and long-term testing methods. Short-term tests are conducted for less than 90 days and long-term tests are conducted for 91-365 days. Short-term tests are typically more cost efficient and produce more immediate results. This type of test is the most common during a real estate transaction. Long-term tests track how radon levels change in relation seasonality and provide a more complete picture of radon levels in the structure.

Let’s explore each method in further detail, as well as answer the question of which method you should choose.

Passive Radon Tests

Charcoal canisters are a quick and cheap way to test for radon levels. Radon in the air enters the canister and is adsorbed by the charcoal. The device is then sent back to the lab it came from and is analyzed by a team of professionals. Charcoal canisters can generally be purchased online and at local hardware stores.

Charcoal liquid scintillation is another short-term test that operates in a similar fashion as charcoal canisters. The test is analyzed by the laboratory it came from after the testing period is over.

Alpha-track detectors can be used for both short-term and long-term tests that range anywhere from a few days to a full year. As radon atoms break down inside the detector they leave tiny “tracks” that are analyzed by the lab. Click here for more information as well as alpha-track detectors for sale.

Electret ion chambers are radon testing devices that can be used for both short-term and long-term tests. This type of test is seen as both cost effective and accurate, and does not require laboratory analyses for results.

Active Radon Tests

Continuous radon monitors are used in short-term tests and are what is used by our company. Continuous monitors measure the level of radon in the air at specific time intervals and can track changes in concentration in real time. The use of continuous radon monitors requires professional training and certification in Florida, and typically produces more accurate results than over the counter short-term tests.

Aircat continuous radon monitor

Which radon test is right for you?

Many factors go into answering this question, such as:

  1. What is your budget?
  2. Do you want a short-term or long-term test? If you want a radon test as part of a real estate transaction, you most likely can’t do a long-term test.
  3. Would you rather do it yourself or hire a professional company?

At the end of the day doing your own research will help you determine the best type of test for your needs.

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