Radon Analysis for Real Estate Transactions

All homeowners can (and should) test their home for radon.

Testing is relatively inexpensive and easy to do, plus it is the only way to know for sure that you and your family are safe from the harmful effects of radon. Some homeowners have the misconception that radon only affects older homes and new houses don’t have this problem when in fact radon is everywhere and will infiltrate all types of houses. Newer houses have the benefit of using radon-resistant construction techniques during building which can be effective in preventing radon from entering the house. No matter the age of the house, every house should be tested for radon after occupancy. There are two general ways to test your home for radon:

  • Short-Term Testing:
    The quickest way to test for radon is with a short-term test. Short-term tests remain in your home for two days to 90 days, depending on the device. “Charcoal canisters,” “alpha track,” “electret ion chamber,” “continuous radon monitors,” and “charcoal liquid scintillation” detectors are most commonly used for short-term testing. Because radon levels tend to vary from day to day and season to season, a short-term test is less likely than a long-term test to tell you your year-round average radon level. If you need results quickly, however, a short-term test followed by a second short-term test may be used to decide whether or not to fix your home.
  • Long-Term Testing:
    Long-term tests remain in your home for more than 90 days. “Alpha track” and “electret” detectors are commonly used for this type of testing. A long-term test will give you a reading that is more likely to tell you your home’s year-round average radon level than a short-term test.

Whichever way you decide to use is acceptable, it just depends on how long you want the test to be conducted. Short-term tests are quick and provide a radon level at that given point in time. Long-term tests are a little more involved, but provide a more year round average radon level in your home. See EPA Radon Testing Checklist for test conditions.