Understanding Your Radon Results
You have recently had your home tested for radioactive radon gas or possibly you are in the process of purchasing a home and have asked to have the home tested for radon. NOW WHAT!
If you have had a short term passive test performed (2-90 days) for quick results, meaning no electronics have been used, a small canister, vial or packet filled with a medium containing charcoal is likely to be used. This medium absorbs and stores the radioactive radon daughter cells, called alpha particles. These particles are then extracted and read in a lab. There are other methods such as the Electret Ion Detectors and Alpha Track Detectors for short term testing up to 90 days yet the charcoal canisters are the most common for real estate transactions for a 2-7 day test. These tests will give you an overall average of radon collected.
Another method for short term testing is an electronic test, also know as an active test to measure radon levels. An electronic test uses a Continuous Radon Monitor which measures the alpha particles on a continuous basis giving an hour by hour reading. Continuous Radon Monitors may be preferable for a real estate transaction because they are tamper proof and some machines have a motion detector to identify if the machine has been moved. Make sure if you are having an electronic test performed that you use a professional who has been certified by the AARST-NRPP National Radon Proficiency Program.
When doing an electronic test, you will see your radon levels on an hourly basis which may fluctuate. This is normal! Radon is a concern when long term exposure is experienced. Spikes in the levels are common particularly during the night. Levels are known to fluctuate based on the season and can be higher during heating season or during heavy wind and rain.
That being said, if you view your radon results via the electronic method and see hourly changes, take a deep breath and know that is normal. We live on Planet Earth which is constantly changing so rely on the overall average for mitigation versus your hourly read for peace of mind. If your levels are between 2.0pCi/L and 4.0pCi/L, you may want to have a radon mitigation system installed to reduce levels and re-test. EPA action level is 4.0pCi/L yet the EPA has concern between 2.0pCi/L and 4.0pCi/L. The WHO, World Health Organization, recommends fixing your home at 2.7pCi/L.
Test Your Home…Protect Your Family!