There have been radio ads promoting DIY Radon Test Kits. We get asked often about what the DIY results look like and why to use our Radon testing service.
Business owner, physician Aaron Bye, pills has attended classes on Radon through the University of Minnesota and passed tests to become NRPP Certified. Acer goes beyond a DIY test, in addition to the results we will help guide you on what action needs to be taken, if any. Acer will personalize the report based on the home and results of the test. In the event that mitigation is recommended we will help you find a qualified mitigation company.
Acer Home Inspections uses a Continuous Radon Monitor (CRM) giving us the ability to get results just 48 hours after the start of the test. With a DIY kit it can take between 7-14 days from the start of the test until you receive the results. To demonstrate the difference between our Radon testing service and a DIY kit below is our example started on January 29th.
January 29th 10pm
Both tests were started within 1 foot of each other in the basement.
CRM-The Continuous Radon Monitor will test for 48 hours and provide 49 data points.
DIY Kit-A 72 hour test that will be mailed in for lab analysis (72 hours is the minimum time allowed for accurate results on a DIY test)
Both tests are in progress
CRM- Test ended and results were retrieved and reported
DIY Kit- Still waiting for 72 hour minimum
DIY kit- Test pouch was taken down, all needed times were recorded and mailed in.
DIY-Waiting for results
DIY-Waiting for results
DIY-Waiting for results
DIY-Wondering when I will get my results
DIY-Starting to think they will never be done!
February 7th 4pm
DIY Kit- Test results were emailed
In conclusion both tests were performed in compliance with EPA standards and completed by a certified Radon professional. The measurement readings were within an acceptable margin of .1 pCi/L. The CRM gives us 49 data points while the DIY kit provides only one average number. Our CRM unit took just 48 hours to get the results. The DIY kit took 210 hours. Not all home inspectors use a CRM to conduct a Radon test but at Acer we feel time is important.
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This week we are staying on the topic of radon since we are indoors more with the cold weather season. Midwesterners spend most of the winter inside in the warmth of their home (even the hard-core winter lovers). General indoor air quality is not as clean as the outdoors, malady holding in the dust, germs and even Radon!
Our homes obtain a large amount of air through the ground. Even a concrete slab is porous enough to pull air though and allow Radon and other particles into your home. Imagine your home as a giant vacuum.
As funny as this depiction is… it is very true. As we heat our homes it sucks air out of the ground. This air contains Radon and other gases from the soil. This is why even if a test shows lower than a 4.0PC/L reading some homeowners still mitigate to lower the Radon levels even further and get the additional benefits we have heard about from a mitigation system.
Benefits of a mitigation system can include:
- Lower Radon levels (50%-99% typical reduction)
- Cleaner smelling basements
- Lower levels of moisture in damp basements
- Higher resale value
- Cleaner indoor air
This is a video that really can hit home for some. It is a public service announcement from the EPA stressing the importance of testing your home for Radon.
Graphic courtesy of The EPA
Video courtesy of SOSRADON
Are there any symptoms that people might look at to suggest they have high radon levels in there house?
No symptoms can be detected. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non smokers. Radon is odorless and invisible.
What are clues that might indicate you need to have testing done sooner than later.
The only way to tell Radon level is to test.
Is this a soil condition that causes high levels?
There are areas of the world that have higher levels of radon due to the makeup of the earth below but all rock contains trace amounts of uranium that breaks down and causes Radon Gas.
What is Radon remediation?
Subfloor depressurization has been the most effective way of lowering Radon levels. Subfloor depressurization basically means venting the air from below your house. Your home is a big vacuum powered by the stack effect this is how Radon and a large amount of air you breath enters your home.
Do you report your tests results to the government?
No. The report is sent to our client and can be shared with who they wish to see it. In a real estate transaction it is disclosed to the home buyer.
Why should I pay a professional to perform the test when I can go buy a test kit for $20 from the store?
When you hire Acer Home Inspections you receive more than just the test results from our Continuous Radon Monitor.
- A graph and data table of hourly results
- Average Radon levels of the test
- A 3 ring binder to keep all of your Radon information in one place
- A test conducted to EPA standards
- Advice on what to do after your test
When using store bought kits EPA Standards require the use of 2 test kits for 72 hours plus shipping and processing. The results are then averaged to give the homeowners radon level. Acer Home Inspections can conduct the test in 48 hours and issue results with a detailed graph and table of radon levels within 24 hours of data collection.
Minnesota has a great booklet about Radon available in PDF form. Radon Booklet click here
Minnesota has a new law on the books about reporting any known radon tests being disclosed to a buyer of a home. This law starts January 1st 2014. Many of the news stations report Do It Yourself kits for cheap alternatives to hiring a professional. While the kits can be accurate there are protocols that I have been trained in to have the results hold up in the court of law.
The EPA has protocols that must be followed and documented in case there is any discrepancy in the future. Why is this important? When a home is sold the seller must disclose if Radon testing has been done. If Radon has been tested the information from the test must be disclosed along with any information about any mitigation completed on the home. Homes under 4.0 pc/l is below the EPA’s acceptable level of Radon for performing mitigation.
At Acer Home Inspections we use continuous radon monitors and EPA protocols to complete a Radon Test that will stand up if there are any questions. We are also a 3rd party that has no interest in the results and only care about the accuracy. We do not offer mitigation but there are many qualified companies that do.