Short-Term Radon Testing
The short term testing method is the quickest way of radon testing. The testing period lasts from two (2) to
ninety (90) days. Short-term radon testing equipment includes a charcoal canister, alpha track, electret ion
chamber, continuous monitors, and charcoal liquid scintillation detectors, which remain on your property
anywhere from two (2) to ninety (90) days. Radon levels vary from day to day and season to season, so
testing radon through the short-term process is less likely to tell you your year-round average radon level.
Long-Term Radon Testing
A long-term radon testing kit remains on your property for more than ninety (90) days. Common equipment
for this type of testing includes an alpha track and electret ion chamber detectors. A long-term test is different
from a short-term test because, since the testing time is longer, you will get an idea of your home’s year-round
average radon level. Knowing this could mean the difference in whether you decide to mitigate. The reason is
that high pressure levels outside could cause radon levels to fluctuate, and if they peak when you are testing for
radon, you could see a reading that is abnormal for your home.
Passive vs. Active Testing Devices
Testing equipment can be active or passive. Passive equipment requires no power source and is left in an area for the length of time dictated. The device works through exposure to the air and at the end of the test period, is sent to a lab to be tested. Active equipment utilizes a power source and many active testing systems can provide more sophisticated testing. For example, some monitors will record when peaks occur, so specialists can note whether any mitigating factors were involved, like heavy rain, which can greatly increase radon level readings. Active equipment can record events that could indicate interference in the testing, like differences in temperature for long periods of time. This type of reading could indicate that windows and doors were opened or that the device was moved to a new location for a time. Sometimes in real estate transaction-related testing, homeowners can attempt to show more positive results. Active monitoring can help detect whether any tampering has occurred. Check with your specialist to learn which type of testing will be best for your situation.
EPA Recommendations for Radon Testing
The EPA encourages radon testing, noting that all homes have the potential to have high radon levels. New homes and old homes alike are susceptible, and a home that has no radon gas may be right next to a home whose levels of radon are at unacceptable levels. In many areas, such as here in Wisconsin, realtors recommend radon testing before purchasing new real estate. If the test results indicate high radon levels, sellers may choose to install mitigation systems or allow for the cost in closing negotiations.
The EPA recommends taking a short-term radon test, and if the results are 4 pCi/L or higher, then proceed with a follow-up test to make certain. If the short-term radon testing result is high (about 10 pCi/L or higher), then the best direction is taking a short-term follow-up test instead of a long-term follow up test. Results for radon at an average of 4 pCi/L or higher on the first and second tests indicate a need for remediation.
Avoid performing short term radon testing during storms or high winds as air pressure, and rapidly moving air can impact the results.
Perform the test in the lowest part of the home that people use on a regular basis.
Avoid moving the test equipment during the test.
If the test will last for less than a week, try to maintain closed house conditions (all doors and windows remain closed except to allow for normal traffic in and out, and no fans that bring air into the home should be run during the test period).
Peak Radon Mitigation Provides Experienced and Certified Radon Testing and Mitigation
We know that protecting your family or those who come into your place of business is important to you. Making a correct evaluation of the radon levels in your home and determining the proper strategy for mitigating those levels is important to us. We have certified, experienced and insured radon testing and remediation specialists on our staff, so you can have peace of mind and healthy bodies. For a consultation or more information about radon, contact us today.