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Why Radon Testing Is Important Before Buying a Home

Radon is a dangerous gas that can cause lung cancer. If you’re thinking about buying a home, it’s a good idea to have radon testing done first.

Radon Testing Colorado Springs places a detector in the basement or lowest occupied level, away from drafts, radiators, and exterior walls.

radon testing

Long-term tests measure radon levels over at least three months. During that time, a small testing device is placed in your home or workplace and left undisturbed for several months, with the results mailed to a laboratory for analysis. Long-term testing allows for more accurate measurement because radon levels fluctuate daily and seasonally, depending on weather conditions and ventilation habits.

Using short-term test kits is the fastest way to find out your building’s radon levels, but they provide only a snapshot of your indoor radon concentration. Radon levels can also vary daily, depending on the operation of furnaces and fireplaces, changing weather conditions, and opening/closing windows and doors.

The EPA says that short-term tests can miss spikes in radon levels and, therefore, may provide inaccurate readings. As a result, homeowners may spend money on radon mitigation when their risk is low or need to pay more to lower their risks when they could have saved thousands of dollars in unnecessary costs.

Even non-smoking radon exposure can cause Stage IV lung cancer in humans, and that’s why accurate information about radon is so important. The perceived benefit of getting a test result faster is rarely worth the cost of compromising accuracy when testing for the most dangerous gas known to humankind.

The best radon test is one that is conducted for a year. A lab will analyze the accumulated data, which will give a more accurate picture of your radon exposure and your radon levels.

Most long-term test kits use an alpha track detector, which measures radon levels by measuring the damage caused to a thin film in a detector for 91 days to a year. These devices are typically available at home centers and hardware stores or online, and they can be purchased for around $70 each, including shipping to the lab.

Regardless of the type of radon test you choose, it’s a good idea to perform your tests during the heating season. This is because radon levels are higher during the winter when people are more likely to be inside.

Short-term tests measure radon levels for 48 hours or less. They are quick, inexpensive, and easy to use. They are the method most often used to test for radon before purchasing a home or as a follow-up to a long-term test. Short-term testing kits are available at home centers, hardware stores, and online retailers. They contain some containers filled with activated charcoal, which absorbs the radon gas in the air throughout the test period. The canister is then sealed and sent to a lab for analysis.

Most short-term radon test kits use an electronic sensor to measure the alpha particles produced during radon decay. The sensors are placed in the lowest part of a home (usually the basement), where people spend at least 4 hours daily. The device must remain undisturbed during the test (although picking it up to dust underneath occasionally won’t hurt). The sensors are then mailed to a lab for processing.

The EPA recommends that you test any time of year. However, the heating season is typically the best time for testing a home. This is because a house is heated and ventilated more during this time, so the radon level is likely higher than at other times of the year.

Unfortunately, the accuracy of short-term radon testing kits is limited. They can be inaccurate by up to a factor of 2 compared to long-term tests. This is because radon levels vary widely from day to night and month to month, and the short-term tests provide only a snapshot of one moment in time.

It is also important to note that a short-term test is inaccurate enough to determine if a home’s radon level is above or below the EPA action level of 4 pCi/L. This is because a short-term test does not account for how the homeowner uses their home, which can change the radon concentration significantly.

Therefore, in addition to a long-term test, you should always retest your home before and after making any changes. This includes modifying the ventilation system, finishing a basement, adding an energy-efficient heating or cooling unit, and changing any other factors that could alter your home’s average exposure to radon.

Radon is a naturally occurring gas in the atmosphere that can cause lung cancer when found in higher concentrations in homes. You can’t see, smell, or taste radon, so the only way to know whether your home has high levels is to test it. Tests are relatively cheap and easy, making radon testing an affordable option for homeowners.

A radon mitigation system can cost from $300 to $1,300, depending on the size of your house and how it is constructed. A professional will inspect your house to determine the best type of system to install. They will also use diagnostic tests to help them design the right system for your home. These tests may include a continuous radon monitor (CRM) test, a charcoal canister test, or an electret ion detector. A CRM is an electronic device that requires annual calibration and certification by a trained operator. These devices are often used in real estate transactions and typically have a higher price tag than short-term tests.

The cost of a short-term test can range from $10 to $25. The most common method involves placing a small container filled with activated charcoal in the home for 2 to 90 days. This device then measures the radon level inside the home by analyzing the air in the container. This information is then sent to a lab for analysis. Other methods for short-term radon testing are available through some DIY test kits. These usually consist of a test tube or canister with a tamper-proof seal that houses an electret ion detector, which is powered by a battery and has a statically charged Teflon disc that attracts ions from decaying radon molecules. These devices can be purchased online or from most hardware and home improvement stores.

While the increased radon testing rates in Kentucky following the release of geologic maps was encouraging, more research is needed to examine the long-term effects of this communication strategy on testing rates and on radon mitigation rates, lung cancer incidence, and the economic value of avoided radon-related premature deaths and lung disease. A more integrated approach to radon outreach could improve radon testing rates, including incorporating the geologic map-based infographics with other initiatives, such as free radon test kits at pharmacies, primary care clinics, and tobacco treatment services.

Inhaling radon can lead to lung cancer in people who smoke or are at higher risk due to genetics. It also can damage other organs, such as the kidneys and ovaries. In general, the risk of getting cancer increases by about 16% for every 100 Bq/m3 increase in long-term average radon levels. Radon can enter homes through groundwater or from gaps in walls or floors. A home’s geology, building materials, and ventilation affect radon levels.

 Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in people who don’t smoke and the first for those who do. It’s an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas that can build up in a house without anyone knowing it is present. The only way to tell if your home has elevated radon levels is to have it tested.

Tests can be done by professional inspectors or with do-it-yourself kits you buy at a hardware store. A professional will ensure the device is placed in the best location based on your home’s configuration and can reduce interference or “measurement noise.” Professional tests are usually more accurate than DIY kits, but both can help you determine if your home has high radon levels.

Radon levels are expressed in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). The EPA recommends that homeowners take action to reduce radon levels in the home if they get results above four pCi/L. If you’re thinking of buying a home, consider having it tested before making an offer. The results can have a significant impact on the final price of the property.

For the duration of a short-term test, it’s important to keep windows and doors closed as much as possible. Do not operate fans, use the fireplace or wood stove, paint the home, or make major remodels that could alter the airflow. The same goes for a long-term test, which should be conducted in the lowest livable area of the house.

A radon test should be re-run if it’s done in winter, as radon levels tend to be higher during that time of year. A retest will help you confirm whether or not radon levels have decreased since the initial test and can provide a more accurate reading of your home’s radon level.