Radon Testing: Is Your Home a Radon House?

Air Things Device in Nashville, TN

Thinking of testing your home for radon?

Testing for radon these days is much more simple and accurate than in the past. There are a variety of testing devices available (see our recommended radon measurement devices!) that are easy to understand and user-friendly.

Should I test for radon?

YES! One of the most important things to know about radon is that every home has the potential for high radon levels. This is especially the case if you’re local to the middle Tennessee area.

There are a few common radon myths I hear all the time… All untrue. I have people tell me that their home can’t have radon because:

•It’s brand new

•It’s and old, leaky house

•The house is over a crawl space

•The house has a full, concrete basement

The problem is this describes almost any house, which would mean that no homes have radon, and we know that is false. The rare exception being houses near water on stilts.

The actual answer is no matter when or how your house was built and regardless of foundation type, you could have elevated levels. Check out this interactive map and see if your area is known to have high radon levels.

How do I test for Radon?

The good news is it is incredibly easy to test your home. The state of Tennessee offers free test kits, but can take 6-8 weeks for delivery. The other thing to note is it’s a passive device that has to be analyzed by a lab, which means you need to set the test up properly and mail it off. These kits are fine, but the thing I don’t like about them is they are the least accurate, most susceptible to false readings and longest turnaround time.

A much better option for homeowners is an electronic radon monitor. My favorites are compiled here with descriptions to make the decision easy. You keep these monitors forever. They monitor long-term, eliminating the need to perform a short-term test every year or two. Plus, if you need a radon mitigation system you can now monitor your levels to ensure they are staying low! You’ll be aware immediately if something on the system fails and can avoid exposing yourself and your family unnecessarily.

If you’re in a hurry for a real estate transaction, your best bet is to call us. We drop off a test and send a detailed report with the results. It’s easy.

Where Should I Test For Radon?

According to the EPA, these guidelines should be followed for an accurate test:

  • The testing device should be placed in the lowest level of the home that could be used regularly, whether it is finished or unfinished.
  • The testing professional should identify an appropriate test location. If the radon test is being conducted for a real estate transaction the buys and sellers should both be informed and agreed upon the testing location.
  • Radon tests SHOULD NOT be conducted in a closet, stairway, hallway, crawlspace, or any enclosed space of high humidity or high air velocity (i.e. kitchen, bathroom or laundry room)
  • Keep doors and windows closed for at least 12 hours prior to testing.
  • Do not conduct short-term tests lasting less than four days during severe storms, high winds or heavy rain.

When you get your radon test results back you will see a number followed by pCi/L, or picocuries per liter of air. pCi/L is the unit of measurement we use primarily here in the United States. The EPA sets their action level, meaning the level at which radon should be mitigated, at 4 pCi/L. You may also hear the number 2.7 pCi/L. This is the action level the World Health Organization has set.

Much of this information is available online, but I wanted to compile some simple radon testing information based on real life experience without going into unnecessary technical explanations.

I hope this has been helpful. Please, reach out with any testing or mitigation questions.