FAQs: Radon Testing
Whether you’re building, buying, selling, or just living in a home, testing for radon is a necessary step toward better health and safety.
Frequently Asked Questions about Radon Testing:
- How do I test for radon?
- When do I need to perform radon testing?
- Do I need to test if I don’t live in a radon zone?
- Should I test for radon when building a new home?
- What do I do if my home has high radon levels?
- Do I need to retest for radon after mitigation?
How do I test for radon?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides tips for DIY radon gas testing.
You can order radon test kits over the Internet. Radon test kits can also be found in home improvement stores. Your state may also offer programs or information on how to obtain a test kit for free. See the EPA’s website for more details.
When do I need to perform radon testing?
You should test a home for radon:
- When buying or selling a home
- When building or moving into a new home
- 90 days after installation of a radon mitigation system
- Every two years after your first radon test
- After any significant renovations or alterations to your home
Do I need to test if I don’t live in a radon zone?
If your neighbor tested for radon and got a low result, you might think radon levels in your house will be just as low. You may also have heard that radon is more common in ranch-style homes, or that certain types of homes don’t necessitate worry about radon. These are common assumptions. They’re also incorrect.
While certain areas of the country have greater soil radon levels than others overall, that fact has relatively little impact on the radon level of individual homes. Variations in soil and atmospheric conditions mean that no home is “immune” to radon exposure. Radon affects 1 in 15 homes in the United States. Despite what your neighbor’s radon test may have said, there’s no way to tell how high your radon levels might be until you test your own home.
Should I test for radon when building a new home?
If you’re building your home, you will still need to test for radon. The good news is, you can talk to your builder about making your new construction as radon-resistant as possible. You can do this through the installation of clean gravel, polyethylene sheeting, or a radon vent pipe.
If you are planning major renovations to your home, it’s also a good idea to test (or retest) for radon before you begin. This will allow you to factor the time and cost of a radon system into your budget, should your home’s radon levels call for it.
What do I do if my home has high radon levels?
The EPA recommends contacting a licensed and qualified contractor. A professional can help you reduce your radon levels with a simple installation. The EPA even offers a checklist for selecting the right contractor for the job. Fixing a radon problem is not a do-it-yourself proposition.
Do I need to retest my home after radon mitigation? If so, how often?
If you have radon mitigation performed on your house, you’ll want proof your radon levels were lowered. Your contractor may give you a sealed short-term test you can perform yourself, or you can have an independent testing company retest your house.
We believe a radon contractor should not be the party to perform the retest, due to conflicts of interest. Radon Abatement Services can help arrange third-party testing for customers wanting to buy or sell a home quickly. For homeowners not in a buying or selling situations, we can provide sealed test kits.
We recommend retesting your home sometime over the following winter (at least 90 days after installation of a radon system) because winter often sees the greatest rise in radon levels. Over the long term, you should retest your home every two years to check your radon levels.
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