How a Radon Gas Test Works

radon gas test

Radon gas is a dangerous colorless, odorless radioactive gas that’s produced by decaying uranium in the soil. It can seep into your home through a crawl space, your basement floor and walls or even a ground level slab. High radon gas levels are the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer for everyone else. So performing a radon gas test is the first step in looking out for your family’s health.

How long does a radon gas test take?

You can conduct a short-term (48 hour) test or long-term (90 to 365 days) radon gas test yourself using an inexpensive kit. Many homeowners opt for the short-term test to get a quick read on their current radon levels. However, since radon gas levels can fluctuate by season, outside temperature and barometric pressure, you should always retest later on if you get a low reading with a short test.

How much does radon gas testing cost?

Short-term test kits cost as little as $15 from amazon.com and a long-term kit costs around $60. The purchase price usually includes the laboratory fee, but confirm that before you buy. Also, check the laboratory’s online reviews regarding lab results turn-around time; some labs take months to get back to you.

How to conduct a short-term radon gas test

Choose a time when high winds or rain-storms aren’t in the forecast and make sure you keep your doors and windows closed for at least 12-hours before opening the kit. The test should be placed on the lowest livable space in your home. Set the kit on a level surface about 2-ft. off the floor and in the center of the room, away from heat/AC registers, fans and laundry equipment. Open the kit, record the start time and leave it in place for 48-hours. During the test, keep family and pets away from the test area and keep all your doors and windows closed, except for normal entry and exit. Then seal the kit, record the ending time and mail it off to the testing laboratory using the included packaging materials and instructions.

Interpreting radon test results

Test results will be shown in picocuries and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) strongly recommends installing a radon mitigation system in your home if the lab results are 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher. However, no level of radon is truly safe. If the test results are near the 4pCi/L level and a second test confirms that reading, you should explore your options for lowering that level. Contact a local certified radon mitigation contractor to discuss a radon mitigation system, especially if you or any family member is a smoker.

Buy a radon test kit now on Amazon.

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Originally Published on The Family Handyman