How should radon be tested or monitored? Can I test myself?

What are acceptable ways to test for radon?

According to the EPA there are only two acceptable ways to test for radon during a real estate transaction:

  • A 48 hour test with a certified and calibrated radon monitor  (these are very expensive and must be calibrated every year)
  • Two 48 hour charcoal test kits with an accredited lab

There are also very specific placement, documentation and handling procedures that are best left to the professionals.  The owner/occupants need to be notified about maintaining closed conditions.  For real estate transactions a PDF document of the results from a EPA approved method or device is the only thing that will carry weight with the seller.

Cheaper test kits and monitors are sold at hardware stores and online but these are rarely approved or accurate, especially when they are not placed or handled by a professional.

What about monitors?  What if there is a monitor already in the home and it indicates the levels are low?

Typically what is seen near radon reduction systems are manometers or pressure gauges that only indicate whether the radon reduction system is under pressure or not.  These manometers do not provide any information about the radon levels in the home.  Sometimes small digital devices are observed that supposedly monitor radon levels – these are not recognized by the EPA as proper monitoring devices and typically are not accurate.  Professional radon testing is best ordered with your home inspector to ensure professional and accurate results that is trusted by all parties.

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