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Understanding Radon Testing and Expert Recommendations

A test must be conducted to determine if you need a radon mitigating 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 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

As opposed to passive testing, devices used for active testing testing devices, which provide hourly as as well as full test readings, need power to run. 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. The radon testing device you use must be obtained from a qualified laboratory. More radon exposure means more chances 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.

A radon abatement system should be in order at such a level. The U.S. Congress is aiming to keep indoor radon levels less than outdoor. Outside air normally has around 4 pCi/L. EPA recommends mitigation measures if you get a result of 4 pCi/L (0.016 WL) after one long-term test or as an average of two short-term tests.

With current technology, most homes’ radon level can be lowered to 2 pCi/L or less. 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 Radon Testing Recommendations

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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