How is Radon Tested?
You can’t see, touch, or smell radon gases. So how do you know if you have radon in your home? The only sure way is to test for it. So how is radon tested? There are multiple ways to perform a radon test, but the two most common ways are charcoal kits and continuous monitoring devices. Let’s discuss the positives and negatives to both.
First, let’s discuss charcoal testing kits. Charcoal test kits can be purchased from your local Lowe’s, Home Depot, or Amazon. The main benefit of the charcoal test is the cost. You can purchase a kit starting from around $15.00 a kit. The process to test is relatively easy and comes with step by step instructions. After the charcoal packets have been placed out for 48 hours, you simply seal them up in the provided return package that came with your kit and mail it to the lab. Within 5-7 business days, you will receive the overall results of the levels within your home.
This is great for someone who is testing radon levels within their own home for their own insurances. However, it may not be the best option for a Real Estate transaction. Charcoal tests are very accurate, but the results can be tampered with. Durning a Real Estate transaction how would you know if the seller did or did not tamper with the charcoal packets? How would you know if the seller placed them outside? Were they removed and replaced with brand new ones? To ensure that you are protecting yourself and your family this test may not be the best option for you during a Real Estate transaction.
To provide peace of mind during a Real Estate Transaction a continuous monitoring test is recommended. How is radon tested continuously? These devices will give hourly readings of the radon levels in your home. One of the negatives to testing with this device is it’s a bit more expensive. Testing costs typically range from $150.00 to $200.00, but there is an upside. From this information, you can determine when or if levels spiked above 4.0 pCi/L. Whereas a charcoal test will only provide an overall result.
Continuous monitoring will also determine if and when someone potentially has tampered with the device, shown within the data provided from the device. If there is a power failure or if the device was unplugged. These devices typically have a backup battery to ensure that the test continues. The results are also immediately available. You don’t have to wait for lab results, meaning you can move forward with the purchase of your home with greater peace of mind.
The data from a continuous monitoring test can ultimately help you better understand the radon levels within your home and how they can fluctuate. This is why we only use continuous monitoring systems at Home Inspection Carolina. It’s also recommended that you hire a professional that is certified and professional recognized by your State, NRPP, or AARST. This helps ensure you hired someone that has been trained on how and where to test for Radon.
For further information on Radon and how it can affect your home, please visit NCRadon.org.