What is a Radon Test?

Radon is a gas that when exposed to high levels may lead to harmful effects such as lung cancer. The gas is colorless and odorless therefore detecting its presence is difficult. Radon is radioactive and is a result of the decaying process of uranium. Exposure is inevitable in low levels because it is present in the air and sometimes water. The fatality of the gas brought about the need to detect it especially in our homes through a process known as Radon testing. This article gives information regarding radon testing.

How to Test for Radon

The size of the structure and the type of building is a key consideration. Homes have different types of characteristics from schools and other facilities.

The danger of radon gas in our homes - Radon Testing concept image with an outline of a small house with radon text against an old cracked brick wall

The test should then be carried out at the lowest level of this structure that is used commonly by the members. Damp rooms such as bathrooms and kitchens should not be tested because this type of condition can alter the accuracy of the results. It should also be done away from the exterior walls, windows, and doors. For 12 hours before the test is conducted and during the test, all the doors and windows should be kept closed.

Types of Radon Tests

  • Short-Term Radon Testing

This type of test is chosen when one needs to know if the more serious types of testing should be carried out. It takes from two to seven days therefore passes as a quick and cost-effective way to perform the radon test. The tests come in a Do-It-Yourself kit that can be purchased online or in stores such as hardware stores. This brings inconvenience but at the same time, it is the least accurate testing method.

After reading the instructions and performing the test, one should mail the tests to a lab for results. The tests are mostly activated charcoal-based or they may use the electretion methodology. The results are then mailed back within a few days by the lab.

  • Long-term Radon Testing

This type of testing takes into consideration the inaccuracy that weather or seasonal temperatures may bring about to the test. Being very similar to short-term testing, the only difference comes about in the maximum number of days the test will be carried out. It will take 90 days to one year and is, therefore, more time-consuming. It is more accurate because it reduces weather and temperature effects by leading to an average result. Other factors whose effects are reduced include air pressure, variable soil. Moisture and snow cover.

Many of these tests for example the AccuStar test apply the theory of alpha particle tracking. To get a long-term radon test, they are available through state radon agencies. Online retailers may also offer the tests.

  • Continuous Radon Testing

In this method, the radon levels are monitored then tested. It can be done in the short or long term depending on the results and preference. The machines used for this method are continuous radon monitors that can check the levels throughout the day. The resulting levels monitored will then be displayed on the monitor’s screen. Thorough research is important when opting for this method because different monitoring machines come with different levels of accuracy. An example of such a monitor is the Safety Siren Pro Series digital meter that is available from online retailers. An average is given at the end of each day tested.

  • Professional Radon Testing

There are many advantages to this method. Among the factors that lead to inaccurate results is user error and this can be eliminated through seeking professional assistance. They set up the equipment, read and analyze the results of the test. They are trained, qualified and competent in using the equipment and reading the results.

  • Radon Detector

Passive devices and active devices are the two forms of the mechanism used in radon detection. The passive devices do not need electricity to power them to work. They trap the sample of radon also called radon residue for analysis in a lab. They include charcoal canisters electret ion detectors and alpha track detectors. The active devices all require power in their operation. Through continuous monitoring, they actively monitor radon levels. An example is the continuous working level monitors.

Radon proves to be a dangerous gas that we are exposed to through air and water. These radon tests are therefore important to know whether the levels of radon in homes, schools, or workplaces are high to enable further actions of mitigating. One should consider the four types of testing carefully and do the needed research to choose the best method.