Many home improvement centers and hardware stores sell do-it-yourself radon test kits. Radon Testing Colorado Springs includes activated charcoal or electret ion detectors that measure radon levels for two to seven days. And can be mailed to laboratories for analysis.
A long-term test that stays in the house for over 90 days can give a more accurate reading of your year-round average radon level. These types of tests are most commonly used during real estate transactions.
Short-term radon testing is a type of radon measurement that takes a brief period, usually between one and 12 days. These tests may be conducted in homes, schools, workplaces, and other buildings. They can help determine the presence of radon gas, which is a known cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
However, this type of radon measurement is considered less accurate and reliable than long-term measurements and cannot be used to assess the need for radon mitigation. Radon levels can vary significantly over short periods, creating inaccurate readings.
In addition, several factors can impact radon concentrations, such as weather conditions, making short-term measurements more unreliable. Recommends a long-term test lasting between 3 and 12 months.
Generally, these tests are performed in the lowest level of a home, where occupants spend most of their time (e.g., basement). Exceptions to this rule are rooms frequently used as playrooms or home offices and can be adequately ventilated. Radon concentrations in these rooms are often higher than in lower-level occupied spaces.
Short-term radon testing uses a passive or active alpha track detector. The device is placed in the space to be tested and sealed for a defined period. As the air in the space passes through the detector, alpha particles from radon and its decay products cause damage tracks on the surface of the device. The number of tracks is proportional to the radon concentration in the space. At the end of the test period, the device is removed and sent to a laboratory for analysis.
While a shorter testing window can be useful, a longer one is recommended to provide a more accurate indication of the average radon concentration in a given space. This is because the radon concentration can differ significantly over a single day or between different seasons, and these variations can cause erroneous results.
Long-term measurements should be made in multiple locations to give a more complete picture of the average radon concentration in occupied spaces. A combination of long-term and short-term measurements is also a good option when assessing the need for radon reduction. It is also recommended to retest a few months after your radon level has been reduced to ensure that the result remains below the EPA Action Limit.
Radon is a dangerous gas that can affect indoor air quality and put people’s health at risk. When levels are high, they can increase the risk of lung cancer significantly. It is, therefore, important to have radon testing done in your home or workplace. It is recommended that you test your property at least once a year, and ideally during the heating season. In this way, you will be able to see how radon changes throughout the year and can then determine whether or not you need radon mitigation.
Short-term tests are the most common method for radon measurement and are normally performed as part of a home inspection. They measure the average radon concentration for a period of between 48 hours and 90 days, depending on the test type. These are often used during a real estate transaction and can provide useful snapshots of radon activity. However, it is not uncommon for levels to fluctuate significantly in response to weather changes, barometric pressure, or the permeability of the house’s soil.
Most short-term tests involve placing a detector in a building and leaving it there for the time instructed. The detector is then mailed back to an analysis laboratory for reading, after which the results can be obtained. This is a relatively time-consuming process that can result in delays in receiving the test results. This is not ideal, as radon has a short half-life and can change in the interim.
Other long-term radon detection devices are electronic and do not need to be sent away for analysis. These include active charcoal diffusion and ion chamber detectors, as well as continuous monitors. In these devices, air is either pumped or diffused into a counting chamber, where the number of ions generated from radon decay can be measured. This data can then be converted to a concentration of radon in pCi/L using the device’s calibration factor and duration of measurement.
Some long-term radon measurements are also designed to detect the presence of thoron. This element is similar to radon but has different properties and can’t be distinguished by standard single alpha track detectors (ATDs). These devices use two ATDs in a dual chamber, with one having a higher diffusion resistance than the other, and calculate the difference in thoron readings from the two detectors.
Radon escaping from building materials (into the air and water) generally poses a much greater risk of lung cancer than radon that originates in ground gases. This is because the concentration of thoron (220Rn) is usually higher in airborne than that of radon, and its half-life is shorter (4 s) than that of radon (3.8 d).
Measurement of thoron can be accomplished using an electronic measurement device that uses dual alpha track detectors. These devices detect both radon and thoron, and because of the different half-lives of the two isotopes, they can differentiate between them by using other detector substrates.
These devices typically consist of a plastic bag with one or more alpha track detectors in which radon and thoron are trapped. The thoron concentration is then measured by comparing the detection capability of the different detectors. This method is less expensive than single radon monitoring but is more complicated to use.
Another approach is to measure radon and its decay products, including progeny, with an electronic detection device. The detector is a silicon diode solid-state sensor activated when an alpha particle hits it. This type of detector is sensitive to radon and thoron, but the detection capability is lower than for single radon monitoring.
In addition to measuring radon, detectors are also available for detecting the radioactive decay product of radium (radium-226), which is released into water in a home. Waterborne radon has been shown to pose a significant cancer risk when consumed by humans and may be absorbed through the skin during showering, washing dishes, or drinking water.
All homes should be tested for radon, particularly those with basements or that are built on rock formations that are prone to movement. It is important to try a home at least once every two to three years, as house conditions can change the radon levels. In addition, a home should be tested after remodeling to determine whether the renovations have altered the radon level. If the radon level is above, it should be mitigated by a certified radon professional.
Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that seeps into homes and buildings from the ground. It is formed from the decay of uranium in natural stone and can be inhaled, posing a significant health risk. The EPA recommends that homeowners test their homes for radon annually. This is especially important for people who smoke or have family members who are smokers. High levels of radon can increase the risk of lung cancer, making it one of the leading causes of death from inhalation of toxic gases, behind only tobacco smoking.
Short-term tests can measure radon in homes and buildings over a limited time, typically two to seven days. These tests are very accurate and cost-effective and are the only way to know for sure whether a house has elevated radon levels. However, since radon concentration in the air can fluctuate and testing conditions can be affected, the results of a short-term test should always be confirmed with a long-term measurement.
If a homeowner tests their home for radon and finds it has a level of 4 pCi/L or higher, the EPA recommends that they take steps to reduce the radon levels in their homes. This is typically accomplished by sealing cracks in foundation walls and floor slabs, as well as installing a venting system for passive ventilation. The cost of these measures generally is less than the costs associated with a lung cancer diagnosis and treatment.
A short-term test can be taken by someone who owns the property and is considering selling it or by someone working on their home, such as a contractor or plumber. In either case, the person taking the test should close all exterior doors and windows and place the radon detector in a room that is used regularly. The tester should also keep track of the barometric pressure, temperature, and other factors that could affect the test.
During this test, the detector is left in the home or building for some time (typically 2 to 7 days) and records real-time radon measurements in various ways. The readings are then sent to a laboratory for analysis. This type of test can be very precise and is the preferred method for determining an annual average radon exposure.