How To Ensure Your Radon Test Is Performed Correctly
High levels of Radon are harmful and can cause severe health issues, including lung cancer, if not removed from a home. Therefore, it’s essential to hire a home inspector that can carry out radon testing to identify and eliminate the problem.
However, as a consumer or client of a home inspector, you may have no idea of how a Radon air test is done. In many cases, the testing process is not even shown to you or ever seen by you.
Luckily, The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does have exact protocols for how a test is to be completed, and I have followed these guidelines for twenty-two years. Unfortunately, I see Radon testing done incorrectly more often than not by many individuals.
If you’re not interested in the science of Radon, and you only want to identify the levels in your home or the house you are buying, then you certainly can pass on the details. However, you should still be aware of how the test will proceed. Also, as you have to pay for the test, you should get your money’s worth.
One of the basic requirements relates to handling. Whoever sets the Radon test must also be the person who collects them. It’s an integral part of quality assurance. This person needs to check the house to look for any signs of tampering, windows open, or any other issue affecting the test. They must also be the individual that stops the test by closing canisters before leaving the building. None of this can be assured if the person starting the tests has a Realtor or anyone else stop the test.
If you pay for a proper Radon air test, the professional you paid should be dropping them off to start the analysis and come back to stop the test and collect the canisters. That is in the EPA protocol for a Measurement Technician. While the State of NH does not require it, I still follow EPA protocols. Therefore, I place the canisters and collect them, and no one else can touch them.
EPA best practice
EPA provides literature that clearly states how a Radon test should get done, but different protocols exist. For example, canisters are placed in the lowest level suitable for use when buying a house. It includes an unfinished basement that someone could finish in the future. If you already live in the house, you would test in the lowest level you regularly use.
The unfortunate thing is that if you ask most people out there who are doing Radon air testing, they’re not going to tell you that they’re not following protocol. Also, in some cases, they may honestly believe that they are doing it right when they’re wrong.
Some basic questions to ask:
Did you have ALL the windows throughout the house closed twelve hours before the Radon air test was started?
Did you check fireplaces, dampers, dryer vents, or any other devices that tie in the outside for being correctly closed?
Where are you placing the canisters, and how are they being secured as not to be moved?
Are you placing and collecting the canisters?
Who is processing the test?
Have you taken any classes for Radon air testing?
Keep in Mind:
- As stated earlier, if the Radon air canisters are not being placed and collected by the same person or company, then it’s not a valid test.
- If the individual is not placing signs at every entry to notify that a test is in place, how could anyone know to keep doors closed behind them?
- If the canisters are not in breathing range (not on the floor) or placed near a window, then they have not been set correctly.
On a final note, It appears there are professionals that only want to do part of the test but still collect all the money. I appreciate that a lot goes on during a real estate transaction, but if you’re asked if you want a Radon test, don’t just say “sure.” Please find out how it’s done!
The information about completing a proper Radon air test is out there. It’s also in my head and is not complicated. So you can call me, and I can tell you how to do Radon air testing correctly.
If you’re looking for a home inspection company to conduct a Radon test in Lee, New Hampshire, and East Central, Seacoast, South Central New Hampshire areas, reach out to Drougas Inspections LLC. I’m very experienced in this field. My other services include home inspections, septic and sewer inspections, and water testing.
I serve clients across southeastern and central-eastern New Hampshire, including Lee, Londonderry, Wolfeboro, and Wakefield.