How to Test Your Home for Radon

How to test your home for radon

Radon gas – known as a “silent killer” – oftentimes enters homes undetected, lurking in the air. 

The idea of testing for radon may sound intimidating, but we promise it’s easier than you might think – and it’s crucial to protect you and your family. We want to take this opportunity to provide you with clear, step-by-step instructions to make this process as straightforward as possible.

Before we get into it, we want to emphasize the importance of recognizing that radon awareness is the first step toward protecting your family.

Radon doesn’t discriminate between homes; it affects properties of all shapes, sizes, and locations. By understanding the dangers of radon and taking proper precautions, you’re safeguarding your home and being proactive in creating a safer living environment for everyone under your roof.

Let’s get into it. 

Why is Radon Dangerous?

Radon #1 cause of lung cancer

It’s estimated that around 1 in 15 homes in the U.S.A. are estimated to have dangerous levels of radon. 

Believe it or not, radon gas is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers

It is responsible for thousands of deaths each year – nearly 3,000 deaths amongst people who have never smoked. Radon infiltrates homes largely undetected, putting the occupants at serious risk without any visible warning signs. 

Without proper testing, detection of this odorless gas is essentially impossible. In addition to lung cancer, prolonged exposure to high levels of radon can lead to other respiratory issues. This is why taking proactive measures to protect your health is so important. It all starts with a deep understanding of this hidden danger. 

Testing Your Home for Radon

If you’re wondering how to test your home for radon, we’ve got good news: it’s super easy – and you don’t need a science degree to implement proactive measures. 

There are two primary ways to test your home for radon:

You can a) use DIY kits or b) get professional testing services. 

We recommend doing both

DIY kits are readily available and affordable – making it the convenient choice for homeowners. To take things a step further, professional testing services provide more comprehensive results, as the equipment used is much more advanced than the standard DIY test. 

DIY Radon Testing

Small radon testing canisters

Testing your home for radon can be done with a simple DIY kit. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Buy a Radon Testing Kit

You can buy radon test kits at your local hardware store or online. You can either purchase long-term or short-term tests. Be sure you use a kit that is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

Step 2: Place the Test Device 

We can recommend setting your radon test kits at the lowest level in your home. Different kits have different setup procedures. Follow the kit’s instructions to place the test device.

Step 3: The Waiting Game

Radon levels fluctuate by the day – and you probably won’t get reliable results overnight. Most short-term DIY kits recommend a 2-7-day testing duration. Some long-term tests measure radon levels for as long as 90 days. 

Step 4: Send It Off!

Once the test period is over, the next step is to send the kit to a certified laboratory to be analyzed. The results will indicate the concentration of radon in your home.

Professional Radon Testing

Now, let’s get into option two. 

As mentioned, professional radon testing services generally provide more accurate results – owing to their expertise and more specialized equipment. This includes radon mitigation if dangerous levels are detected. 

Professional radon testing

These trained professionals know exactly where and how to place radon detectors for the most reliable readings. They also use more advanced technology to detect trace amounts of radon to ensure no stone is left unturned. 

While DIY testing is a great way to be proactive – and we highly recommend it – professional testing adds an extra layer of peace of mind. This is especially important in areas where radon levels are more likely to be elevated, including regions with geological characteristics more susceptible to radon infiltration – influenced by rain, snow, soil composition, and barometric pressure. 

Interpreting the Results

Understanding the basics of radon is crucial to gauging the analysis of your radon test results. The EPA recommends taking action if your home’s radon levels are at or above 4 pCi/L (picoCuries per liter). Here’s what to do:

  • If Below 4 pCi/L: No immediate action is needed, but consider periodic testing.
  • If Above 4 pCi/L: Get in touch with a certified environmental contractor to discuss your radon mitigation options.

If your test results show levels above 4 pCi/L, it’s imperative to act quickly. A certified environmental contractor will discuss your radon mitigation options based on your specific situation. 

The Next Step 

Testing your home for radon is an easy step to take in protecting your family’s safety. Even though radon is invisible and odorless, it’s important that you don’t underestimate the risk factors. Fortunately, mitigation is not overly expensive – and getting started with proactive measures is a simple task. At Certified Environmental Contractors, we are a science-first inspection and mitigation company specializing in radon, mold, oil tanks, and more.  

For professional radon testing and mitigation services, trust us to keep you and your family safe. Get in touch with us today to learn more. 

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Certified Environmental

Jason is an environmental scientist with 11+ years of experience working on environmental projects in New Jersey.