Since we are unable to see or smell radon, special equipment is needed to detect it. There are two types of radon testing devices, passive and active and the differences are listed below. You can also choose a short-term test (usually 2 to 5 days) or a long-term test (longer than 90 days)

Testing Devices

Passive Radon Testing Devices

  • Do not need power to function.
  • Include charcoal canisters, alpha-track detectors, and charcoal liquid scintillation devices that are exposed to the air in your home for a specific amount of time and are then sent to a laboratory for analysis.

Active Radon Testing Devices

  • Require power to function.
  • Continuously measure and record radon in the air, making radon spikes and dips more apparent.
  • Include continuous working level monitors and continuous radon monitors.
  • May include anti-interference features that reveal if the unit is moved during testing.
  • Generally considered to be more reliable than passive radon devices.
  • Normally used only by home inspectors and air quality professionals.

Testing Methods

Short-term radon testing:

Short term tests typically last between 2 – 5 days depending on the device. The testing requires that the home be closed up except for typical entry and exit patterns. Because radon levels vary from day to day and season to season, a short term test is less live to give you an accurate indication of the year round average.
Advantages of short-term testing: Quick results, less expensive

Long-term radon testing:

Long term tests last more than 90 days and require the use of specific testing devices. A long-term test is more likely to give you a more accurate indication of your actual radon level and exposure.
Advantages of long-term testing: more accurate measurements

Professional Radon Test
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Pillar to Post uses professional radon monitoring devices which have been classified as a “Continuous Radon Monitor” testing devices which have been evaluated and accepted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The unit must be in place for a minimum of 48 hours.
My next post will discuss how to test for radon and interpret the results.