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Radon Testing and EPA Recommendations

A test must be conducted to determine if you need a radon mitigating system. As radon cannot be seen or smelled, you need special equipment to detect it.

There are two types of radon tests, depending on the devices employed – passive testing and active testing.

Passive Testing

Power is not required to make passive radon testing devices work. Charcoal liquid scintillators, charcola canisters, electret ion chamber detectors and alpha-track detectors are examples of such devices. Generally speaking, passive radon devices, both short and long term, are inexpensive.

Active Testing

In contrast to passive testing, active testing uses devices that provide hourly readings as well as average results for the entire test period, thus requiring power to function. These devices include continuous radon monitors and continuous working level monitors, both of which make active testing more expensive.

What Exactly Is Radon Testing?

It’s good to approach a state or local official to gain knowledge of the differences among various radon devices and what’s best for your particular needs and requirements. Make it a point to obtain your radon testing device from a qualified laboratory. The greater your radon exposure, the higher your risk of getting lung cancer. Therefore, by hiring a radon-certified contractor to install a radon mitigation system in your home, you are saving your family’s life.

Radon amounts in the air are often measured in picocuries of radon per liter of air (pCi/L). Sometimes, the results of a radon test can be expressed in Working Levels (WL) rather than pCi/L. In a usual household, the equivalent of 0.016 WL is around 4 pCi/L.

A radon abatement system should be in order at such a level. The U.S. Congress has instituted a long-term goal of keeping radon levels indoors lower than outdoors. Around pCi/L is generally found in outdoor air. If one long-term test of your home or the average of two short-term tests reveal radon levels at 4 pCi/L (0.016 WL) or higher, EPA recommends mitigating measures.

Present technology allows the reduction of most homes’ radon level to 2 pCi/L or even less. For a 2-4 pCi/L radon level reading, you may consider radon mitigation as well. For a short-term radon test, expect it to remain in your house for a minimum of 2 days and a maximum of 90 days; for a long-term test, you can expect the period to extend beyond three months. Each radon test should be taken for at least 48 hours. With a short-term test, you can expect faster results; with a long-term test, you will get a clearer idea of your home’s year-round radon level, and whether radon mitigation is a must in your case .

EPA Recommendations

Two radon testing categories are recommended by the EPA. One is for homeowners whose house is not for sale, and the other is for radon testing and reduction in real estate deals. One covers homeowners who have no plans of selling their homes, and the other covers radon testing and reduction in real estate deals.

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