Don’t be fooled by radon testing!
A radon test, whether the radon testing is done during a real estate transaction or with a radon test kit, does not tell you the annual average of radon gas in your home. It is the annual average that the EPA tells you to be concerned about regarding your risk of lung cancer from radon gas exposure.
You could spend thousands of dollars repeating short-term radon tests to find out your annual average. For less than the cost of one test, you can own a radon monitor that will give you the necessary information you need to determine if long-term exposure to radon gas introduces the risk of lung cancer to you or your family.
A radon monitor is only $149.99, and if you purchase your monitor from IndoorAir.com, you’ll get free shipping, and I’ll send you three e-books for free:
- Breathe Easy Indoor Air Quality Guide
- How to Reduce EMF Radiation Exposure
- DIY Mold Inspection – Know Your Enemy
That’s like getting a $24 discount plus you’ll learn other important ways to protect your home and health.
Want to know more?
I’ve witnessed radon testing from its infancy to the point where radon in homes is tested for in virtually every real-estate transaction. How did this happen?
Home inspectors have been sought after by radon testing laboratories and companies that sell radon mitigation systems. They are told they can make thousands of extra dollars per year by selling radon tests to their home-buying clients. The inspectors then show homebuyers only part of the information from the EPA regarding the risk of lung cancer to help them sell inferior short-term tests. This generates money for themselves, the laboratories, and mitigation companies.
Home inspectors use scintillation canisters or digital testing equipment shown above to perform short-term tests. What they don’t tell you is that the short test does not give you a true picture of the annual radon gas levels that are present in your home. Short-term radon test results can also be inaccurate for a variety of reasons.
How can short-term radon testing be inaccurate?
Short-term radon tests can yield unreliable and misleading information due to false positive and false negative test results.
There are four ways to fall victim to false positive test results:
1. Houses that sit vacant for a little while or have had the windows closed for lengthy periods can accumulate radon levels that exceed the purported action level. These conditions can create a false positive test result generating unnecessary concern and expense.
2. Water from recent rainfall creates hydrostatic pressure as it moves downward through the earth which then pushes radon gas under a home which temporarily increases radon levels yielding a false positive test result.
3. When the surface of the earth is frozen, radon gas underneath cannot escape harmlessly to the outdoor atmosphere. In response, the gas seeks an upward path of least resistance which happens to be underneath a home where the earth is not frozen. This condition can temporarily force the gas into a home which then yields a false positive test result.
4. Mechanical exhaust vents including air-to-air exchangers, clothes dryers, kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans, water heaters, and some furnaces and fireplaces, contribute to negative indoor air pressure inside of homes. Intermittent negative indoor air pressure can pull earthen radon gas into your home yielding a false positive test result.
All of these factors can give the impression that your home has a radon problem when it may not.
There are five ways to fall victim to false negative test results:
If your house was ventilated recently before a test, allowing radon to escape, this could yield a false negative test result in a home that has a serious radon problem.
Perhaps more deceivingly but unfortunately common, if a home seller knows a radon test will be performed by a home inspector, they can use four tricks to thwart the test results:
1. Thoroughly ventilate the house just before the test
2. Covering up the radon testing devices until the inspector returns
3. Opening windows or doors while the test is in process
4. Using fans to diminish the amount of radon near a testing device
Sellers do these things to avoid being forced into purchasing a mitigation system before they sell. In some instances, their real estate agents coach them so they can eliminate the complications of negotiations before closing.
I’ve had clients who purchased homes wrongly believing their house was safe from the lung cancer risk associated with radon gas exposure, only to discover their radon levels were much higher after they moved in. In one instance, the level was only 2 pCi/L when tested at the time of their home inspection, but was later discovered to be 16 pCi/L. Their radon gas level was eight times higher than what they were told when they purchased the home, and four times higher than the EPA action level.
Is it worth the gamble to rely on a short-term test?
According to the EPA, performing short-term radon tests has a 49.9 percent chance of yielding false positive or false negative test results due to all the variables. Is your risk of lung cancer worth that gamble?
Benefits of long-term radon monitoring
Radon monitors are so easy to use and you incur no lab fees. Simply plug your monitor into an outlet on the lowest level of your home and your radon level will appear on the LCD screen. And with the touch of a button, you can read monthly, seasonal, and annual averages in your home. And if radon levels exceed the radon action level, an audible chirping sound from the built-in alarm will alert you.
Monitoring is the only way you’ll ever know if you or your family is at risk. If you’d like to purchase one, or perhaps a few for gifts, send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Say Radon Monitor in the subject line and then include your name, mailing address, and phone number. I’ll call you back to complete your transaction and send you your free books from IndoorAir.com.