Radon gas, though not known to many, is the second top cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking in the United States. It is responsible for almost 21,000 deaths per year according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The gas is dangerous because it has no odor or color, hence making it hard to detect with the naked eye. It occurs naturally and is found everywhere around us; in fact, we could be breathing it right now. However, the gas becomes really dangerous when trapped inside a home. You can easily be overexposed to it and there is no treatment for that.
When moving to a new home, it is paramount that you get some detector to identify whether there are deadly amounts of radon present. But keep note, you should not do this test only when you are moving in to a new house, but also from time to time to inspect the current radon levels at any given time in your home.
There are a variety of options of radon test kits available for home use:
1. Short term options
This first option of radon test kits checks your home for the presence of radon gas over a period of 2-3 days. They help determine the level of radon gas in the home at that particular time. However, although these tests are more affordable and fast, they measure a relatively short period and thus do not consider the underground flows of radon that keep changing from time to time. Most people use these tests to determine the need for a long-term test.
2. Long term options
Long term radon test kits are considered better than short term detectors because they have a broad result range. They check your home for radon over a period of close to one year and provide more conclusive results. The results can help you determine if your home needs a mitigation system installed or not. Long term radon test kits are considered accurate because they are able to measure significant fluctuations of the radon gas from one day to the other, week to week, month to month, and then provide an average.
3. Home purchase options:
Alpha-track radon detectors
They are by far the most popular purchase option. They are a long-term option that uses plastic sheets called polycarbonate plastic to collect particles from the air. The sheets are then analyzed by a lab and the radon levels in your home identified.
Charcoal radon detectors
These are short-term radon detectors but are a great and affordable option if you are on a budget. The charcoal absorbs gas from the surrounding air and then a lab analyzes it to identify radon gas presence.
Digital radon detectors
These detectors are an all-round favorite choice because they offer results continously and consistently. You do not need an analysis from the lab hence making them perfect for both short and long term uses.
4. Options completed by radon specialists
For thorough and well analyzed results, it is important to consult radon specialists to conduct the tests. Radon specialists have trained field experts who can help analyze the state of radon gas in your home in a way that you can’t. They also utilize much more advanced radon testing kits that give better results than home purchase options.
Risks and benefits of doing the tests yourself versus having a professional do it for you.
There is a risk of not doing the test right when you do it by yourself and thus getting inaccurate results. You could also be putting your life at the risk of overexposure all along without knowing it. On the bright side however, you will save a lot by doing it yourself.
Consulting a professional on the other hand will save you the time, energy and risk of getting inaccurate results. A professional will also be quick to note if a mitigation system is needed fast.