Radon is a radioactive gas produced by the decay of elements like uranium. Radon is found in soil, rocks, and groundwater, and when released outside, it dissipates safely in the air. When released inside your home from the rocks and dirt beneath your home, it can build to dangerous levels, harming your health. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer. There are over 20,000 radon-caused deaths every year.
Can You Test For Radon Yourself?
Technically, you can test for radon yourself. You can get a radon testing kit online or at many big box stores. Testing for radon yourself is relatively straightforward, and these tests usually consist of two vials for collecting samples and a form and mailing address. When the test is completed, you will use the mailing address to send the sample back to the appropriate lab.
Depending on your test kit, you may keep the test in your home for at least 48 hours with a short-term test, and long-term radon tests can last for 90 days or more. Once the test has been in your home long enough, you will send the sample to the attached lab, and they will analyze it and then provide you with the results. It seems simple, but several factors can affect the reading your radon test kit gets.
A DIY radon test kit will either be charcoal or alpha track. Charcoal tests absorb the radon in the air for a specified amount of time, and once in the lab, the radioactive particles emitted by the charcoal are counted or converted to light, giving a radon level readout. Alpha track tests use a plastic film that is etched by the alpha particles that strike it. In the lab, the tracks are counted, giving the radon level.
The Issues With DIY Radon Testing
Since there are quite a few steps you need to follow to ensure accurate results, there are quite a few things that can go wrong with your DIY radon test.
You need to ensure you place your test kit correctly, and you can skew your test results by accidentally turning on a fan, opening a window, or running the air conditioner.
There are several other issues you could come across as well. When the test is completed, you’ll need to send the results to a lab to be analyzed. This process can take several weeks, so if you need prompt results, a DIY kit may not be in your best interest.
Professional Radon Testing
Professional radon testing is the best option for the most accurate results and in real estate situations. Professional radon testing is performed by an impartial third-party who is trained and certified.
There are two types of tests exclusively available through certified professionals, include the passive electret test, and active tests. The electret test uses a Teflon disc that is statically charged. When an ion generated from radon decay strikes the disc, the electrical charge is reduced, and that reduction is measured in the lab. Active tests are the only ones that require electrical power. They use a continuous monitoring device to detect and record your radon levels the entire duration of the test.
After Your DIY Radon Test Kit Or Professional Radon Testing
After you use a DIY radon test kit or perform professional radon testing, you’ll receive your results. Radon levels are measured in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has an action level of 4.0 pCi/L. This means a testing result at or above this level needs prompt mitigation to protect your family best. While there is no safe level of radon, 4.0 pCi/L is considered by the EPA as a threshold for increased danger to your health.
Radon is best reduced through a radon mitigation system. The outdoor level averages 0.4 pCi/L, and the average home has a concentration of 1.25 pCi/L. While anything under 2.0 pCi/L is preferable, reducing your level from 4.0 pCi/L or higher to below 2.0 pCi/L is exceedingly difficult. Radon mitigation systems use a motorized fan and PVC piping to draw the radon from the rocks and soil beneath your home and vent it out at the top where it safely dissipates. Use a highly-trained and certified company for your professional radon testing and mitigation system installation needs.
Reduce Radon With A Radon Mitigation System
It can be frustrating to find out your home has high radon levels. Fortunately, there is something you can do about your elevated levels. Contact Pine Breeze Radon Mitigation today. The experts at Pine Breeze Radon Mitigation can test for radon or install radon mitigation systems to reduce your radon exposure.