: Radon Blog :
Your home has never been tested for radon before, so how do you go about testing for it? You cannot see, feel, smell, or taste radon. Special devices are required to measure radon's presense
Radon in the air can be measured through several types of radon test kits: Short Term One Time Use Kits, Long Term One Time Use Kits, and Digital Radon Monitoring equipment for constant use.
The short term radon testing kits use a container that contains a quantity of granular activated charcoal. The charcoal absorbs the radon gas entering the canister from the surrounding air. At the end of the radon gas test period, the canister is sealed and sent to the laboratory in the pre-paid mailer for analysis. These are the types of kits commonly used by home inspection services as part of a real estate transaction. For better results, the test may be performed in several locations of the basement and then the average of the multiple results is taken to get a good idea of the overall short term radon content in the air. These detection units are sent to an appropriate laboratory for radon exposure readings.
The long term one time use test kits are also known as alpha track detectors. An alpha track detector operates on a very different principle than the charcoal-based short term radon test kit and provides a much better indication of your home's long term average radon level. Inside the unit is a piece of film that records the impacts (tracks) of alpha particles produced by the decay of radon and its decay by-product, polonium. At the end of the radon gas test period, the radon testing kit is sent in the pre-paid mailer to the laboratory, who counts the alpha tracks on the film, computes the radon concentration, and reports the analysis. These kits are for use over a period of 90 days to 1 year. These detection units are sent to a laboratory for results determination.
There is a digital radon detector designed for use in areas where confirmed radon activity should be constantly monitored. The Safety Siren Pro Series 3 Electronic Radon Detector from Family Safety Products is the first digital radon gas detector of it's type for home use. The detector may be placed face-up on a tabletop, counter top, or any flat surface where the ventilation slots will not be blocked. This radon detector provides a continuous reading of the radon level in your home. The detector may be placed face-up on a tabletop, counter top, or any flat surface where the ventilation slots will not be blocked. The radon detector provides a continuous reading of the radon level in your home.
Lastly, radon can also be measured in drinking water. This is particularly important for those homes with a well as the source of water. Compared to radon entering through the soil, radon entering through water will in most cases be a small source of risk, however the risk does exist. Kits exist which allow the home owner to send in a sample of the house tap water from a faucet to a laboratory for analysis of it's disolved radon content.