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Understanding Radon Testing and Expert Recommendations

A test is necessary to know whether your need a radon mitigation system. Considering that radon is invisible and cannot be smelled, you need special equipment to know if it is present.

There are two types of radon testing based on the devices used: passive and active.

Passive Testing

There is no need for power to work with passive radon testing devices. 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, which include continues radon monitors and continuous working level monitors, tend to make this type of testing more costly.

Understanding the Radon Testing Process

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. More radon exposure means more chances of getting lung cancer. Hence, a radon-certified contractor installing a radon mitigation system in your home can practically save your family’s life.

To measure how much radon is in the air, picocuries of radon per liter of air or pCi/L is the unit used. 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. Outdoor air usually has a radon level of pCi/L. 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.

With present technology, the radon level of most homes can now be reduced to 2 pCi/L or even lower. Radon mitigation can also be considered for a radon level reading of 2 pCi/L to 4 pCi/L. A long-term radon test stays in your house for over 90 days, while a short-term test will remain for 2 days to 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 .

Radon Testing Recommendations from EPA

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 is for radon testing and reduction in real estate deals, and the other is for homeowners with no intention to sell their houses.

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