How to Measure Radon Levels

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Radon occurs naturally in soil and rocks.
Radon occurs naturally in soil and rocks. (Image: granite dump image by Brenton W Cooper from Fotolia.com)

Radon is a naturally occurring gas that comes from the decay of uranium in soil. Radium is a product that comes from the decay of uranium, and the resultant gas is radon. Radon has no color or odor and is invisible. An increased incidence of lung cancer has been found in some people who experience chronic exposure to high levels of radon. There are a number of ways to test for radon, but the simplest is a kit that is used at home and then sent to a lab. There are both long- and short-term kits available. The longer the test, the more accurate the result.

Open kit and read instructions.

Close all windows and doors. Keep them as closed as possible during the duration of the test. Do not use a short-term test kit when there are severe thunderstorms or extremely high winds.

Place the testing module from the kit in the lowest section of the house that is lived in. If you use your basement frequently, place the module there, otherwise it should go on the first floor. While the module needs to be in an area that is used often, do not place it in the kitchen or bathroom. Also keep it away from drafts, high heat or humidity and exterior walls.

Use your heating or cooling system normally during the test. Leave the module alone during the testing period.

Send the module to the testing lab following the manufacturer's instructions. If an elevated radon level is found, it can usually be fixed by a radon-reduction contractor. The Environmental Protection Agency determines that a high radon level is 4 pCi/L or more.

Tips & Warnings

  • Testing kits are available at most home improvement stores as well as discount stores.

References

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