What is an Inspection | Why do I need an Inspection | Certified Radon Testing | ASHI Code
Finding A Home Inspector | Credentials | Fees | Disclaimer | Pre-Inspection Agreement| Contact | Home

<< Back Do I Need To Test For Radon? Next>>

"The Environmental Protection Agency has been a leader in educating Americans about the risks of indoor radon gas and in helping all our people to safeguard their homes against this silent killer. Working in concert with both public and private health and educational organizations, the EPA has developed a strategy to demonstrate both the ease and the importance of testing every home and other buildings for radon. Millions of Americans have already performed this simple and inexpensive test, and hundreds of thousands have taken action to reduce dangerous levels or radon in homes, schools, and office buildings."

Bill Clinton
President, United States of America
October, 1999

How does it get into our home?
As uranium in soil, rocks and water breaks down, the invisible radon gas seeps up through the ground. When it reaches the floor of your house, it can enter through any number of paths including cracks in solid floors, cracks in walls, gaps around service pipes, and water supply lines. The cancerous gas then settles and collects at the lowest levels of your house. Over time, more and more radon seeps in, rising to higher elevations and increasing the concentration on lower floors.

How do I know if I'm in danger?
Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels, and elevated levels have been found in homes in every state. The level of radon gas currently present in your house and the danger that it poses to your family is based on a number of factors, some of which are:
The soil and rock makeup directly below your house

  • The soil and rock makeup in your region of the world
  • The amount of time that you spend in your house, specifically on the first three floors
  • The structure and condition of your house's foundation and pipes
  • The airflow through your house
  • The season of the year

Since these factors are specific to your house, the radon levels in houses in your vicinity cannot be used to determine your own radon levels. The only way to accurately determine if your house contains elevated levels of radon is to conduct a test with an easy and inexpensive radon test kit. There are two general way recommended by the EPA: short-term testing and long-term testing.

Short-term testing - This is the quickest and easiest way to determine the current level of radon gas in your home. An activated charcoal packet is placed on the lowest level of your home that is currently in use as living space and is left undisturbed for 48 hours. After this period, the packet is placed in the included envelope and mailed in for laboratory analysis. Within two weeks the results of the test are returned to you along with further instructions or recommendations. Bear in mind, radon levels tend to vary from day to day and season to season, so a short-term test does not necessarily give you an accurate reading of your home's year-round radon level. However, a high result on short-term test can reveal that a more accurate long-term test should be performed. Click here to obtain more information about Alpha Energy's M Series 48 Short-Term Test.

Long-term Testing - To obtain a better representation of your year-round average radon level, a 90-day long-term test can be performed. Similar to a 48 hour test, the 90-day test consists of a charcoal packet capable of taking radon reading over a 90 day period. After the packet has been left undisturbed for 90 days on the lowest level currently in use as living space, it is mailed in for laboratory analysis, and the results are returned to you within two weeks. Click here to obtain more information about Alpha Energy's MD Series 90 Long-Term Test.

Since the level of radon in a room can be effected easily (such as by leaving all of the windows open during the test), it is recommended that certain guidelines are followed. Please see our Radon Guidelines page for more information on obtaining the most accurate radon level readings. "For information about evaluating your test results and taking appropriate actions, see the article "Living With Radon."