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Understanding Radon Testing and Expert Recommendations

Determining whether you need a radon mitigating system requires a test. Because radon can’t be seen or smelled, special equipment is necessary to detect its presence.

There are two types of radon tests, depending on the devices employed – passive testing and active testing.

Passive Testing

To make passive radon testing devices function, you don’t need power. Such devices can include alpha track detectors, electret ion chamber detectors, charcoal liquid scintillators and charcoal canisters. Passive radon devices are generally cheap in cost, whether they are meant for short-term or long-term use.

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. These devices include continuous radon monitors and continuous working level monitors, both of which make active testing more expensive.

What Exactly Is Radon Testing?

To understand what makes radon devices different from one another, and to know which ones are most appropriate for your needs and foreseen testing conditions, you may want to consult a local or state official. Make it a point to obtain your 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, 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. Outdoor air usually has a radon level of pCi/L. If one long-term test of your home or the average of two short-term tests reveal radon levels at 4 pCi/L (0.016 WL) or higher, EPA recommends mitigating measures.

With present technology, the radon level of most homes can now be reduced to 2 pCi/L or even lower. If your level is from 2 to 4 pCi/L, you can also consider radon mitigation. For a short-term radon test, expect it to remain in your house for a minimum of 2 days and a maximum of 90 days; for a long-term test, you can expect the period to extend beyond three months. Each radon test should 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 .

EPA Recommendations

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 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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