Several different measurement methods may be used to determine the radon concentrations in structures. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. Users must decide which method is best suited to their situation.
The Public Health Division recommends a method which will provide an annual average radon concentration in the living area of a structure.
Short-term tests last from 2-90 days whereas long-term tests last from 91 days to 1 year. Various other dynamic testing methods are also available but are generally much more expensive to use.
Performing a Radon Test Yourself
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends the following:
Step 1. Take a short-term radon test. If your result is 4 pCi/L or higher, take a follow up test to be sure.
Step 2. Depending on the results of your first test, follow up with either a long-term test or a second short term test. If your short-term test results were 8 pCi/L or above, follow up with another short-term test. If your short-term test results are below 8 pCi/L follow up with a long-term test. Long-term tests will give you a more accurate reading of your year-round average radon level.
Step 3. If the average of your first two short-term tests is 4 pCi/L or above, or the result of your long-term test was 4 pCi/L or above, fix your home.
If your test results are below the action level of 4 pCi/L, you may want to retest in the future, especially if you start occupying a lower level of the home.
What Your Test Results Mean
Radon is measures in picocuries per liter (pCi/L). The EPA has estimated that the average indoor radon level in the U.S. is 1.3 pCi/L. The average radon concentration in the outdoor air in the U.S. has been estimated to be about 0.4 pCi/L. Congress has set a long-term goal that indoor radon levels be no more than outdoor levels. While this goal is not technologically achievable in all cases, most homes can be reduced to 2 pCi/L or below.
It is important to keep in mind that there is no “safe level” of radon exposure; any radon exposure carries some risk. Even radon levels below 4 pCi/L pose some risk. You can reduce your risk of lung cancer by lowering your radon level.
Radon Measurement & Mitigation Companies
Radon Measurement Companies (download as a pdf)
Radon Mitigation Companies (download as a pdf)