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Radon Testing and EPA Recommendations

Determining whether you need a radon mitigating system requires a test. Considering that radon is invisible and cannot be smelled, you need special equipment to know if it is present.

Depending on the devices used, radon tests come in two types – passing and active.

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. Passive radon devices are generally cheap in cost, whether they are meant for short-term or long-term use.

Active Testing

As opposed to passive testing, devices used for active testing testing devices, which provide hourly as as well as full test readings, need power to run. Such devices include continuous working level and continuous radon monitors, and they make this type of testing pricier.

Understanding the Radon Testing Process

To understand what makes radon devices different from one another, and to know which ones are most appropriate for your needs and foreseen testing conditions, you may want to consult a local or state official. The radon testing device you use must be obtained from a qualified laboratory. More radon exposure means more chances of getting lung cancer. Thus having a radon mitigation system installed by a radon-certified contractor can be a lifesaver.

Radon amounts in the air are often measured in picocuries of radon per liter of air (pCi/L). In certain cases, Working Levels (WL) instead of pCi/L is used. In a regular home, 0.016 WL is equivalent to bout 4 pCi/L.

At this level, experts would recommend a radon abatement system. The U.S. Congress has set a long-term goal of keeping indoor radon levels lower than outdoor levels. Around pCi/L is generally found in outdoor air. If your house gets a single long-term test result or a two short-term test average result of 4 pCi/L (0.016 WL) or more, EPA recommends mitigating steps.

With current technology, most homes’ radon level can be lowered to 2 pCi/L or less. Radon mitigation can also be considered for a radon level reading of 2 pCi/L to 4 pCi/L. A short-term radon test stays in your home for 2-90 days, while a long-term test can be in your home beyond three months. All radon tests must be taken for at least 48 hours. Shorter-term tests yield quicker results, but longer-term ones give you a more accurate picture of the year-round average radon level of your home, as well as indicates if a radon mitigation system is needed.

Radon Testing Recommendations from EPA

Radon testing is recommended by the EPA in two categories. 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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