Get a Low-Cost Radon Test Kit
Short-term and Long-term test kits are available for purchase through the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest.
*Note test kits no longer contain a black sponge, but instead have a cardboard insert. The video will note this change.
Short-Term Test Kits
A short-term test is performed for at least two days, but no more than 90 days. A typical short-term test, including those offered through this site, last 2-7 days. A short-term test will produce results that represent a snapshot of the radon levels during a specific time period. Radon levels vary throughout the year (warmer months = lower radon levels, cooler months = higher radon levels). A short-term test is recommended, if you have not previously tested and want quick results.
Long-Term Test Kits
A long-term test is performed for more than 90 days, but no longer than 12 months. Performing a long-term test will offer a better idea of radon levels in the home, as data is collected over a longer period of time. A long-term test is recommended, if you want to know what the average radon level is in your house throughout the year.
Radon Test Kit Placement
It is recommended that at least one test kit be placed per foundation type in your home. For example: If you have only a basement in your home, one test is needed. If you have a basement and crawlspace, two tests are needed; one test placed in the basement and one test placed in the room above the crawlspace. It is important to test all areas in contact with the soil, whether it be a basement, crawlspace or slab-on-grade. It is suggested to place the test kit in the lowest livable area of your house and in an area that you spend a lot of time. Good examples include: living/family rooms, bedrooms or offices. Be sure not to place the test kit in areas of high humidity such as: kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, storage rooms, in a crawlspace or near a sump-pump.
Before placing a test-kit make sure that you begin closed-building conditions at least 12 hours prior. Closed-building conditions are keeping windows and doors closed except for normal entry and exit into and out of the house. Fans and humidifiers should not be on during the test. Closed-building conditions should be maintained for the duration of the test and test kits should be placed in an area where they will not be disturbed.
- At least 3 feet from doors and windows to the outside.
- 20 inches to 6 feet from the floor.
- At least 4 inches away from other objects horizontally and directly above the test kit.
- Away from drafts.
- At least one foot from exterior walls.
- Away from heat, fireplaces, furnaces, direct sunlight, and high humidity.
It is recommended that short-term test kits be hung from the clear plastic hook at the corner of the kit; however if this poses a problem, it is okay to set the test kit on a coffee stand, end table, night stand, dresser, etc. as long as the test kit remains undisturbed.
Be sure to read the instructions carefully before placement of the radon test kit.
What Do My Results Indicate and What Is My Next Step?
Radon levels are measured in picocuries per liter of air or pCi/L. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) recommends that home owners take action if their radon level is 4 pCi/L or more. If the radon level is under 4 pCi/L, it is recommended to test again in two years. If the radon level is above 4 pCi/L another test is recommended. Although you are not required to mitigate your house, in the event of high radon results, it is strongly recommended that you do. Fixing a radon problem is quite simple. It involves the installation of a radon mitigation system which consists of a vent pipe, fan and sealing cracks in the foundation and the sump pump. A typical installation costs around $1,000 - $2,500 depending on how many different foundation types you have and the layout of the home.
For more information about the dangers of radon, testing or mitigation please contact the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest at 1-800-788-5864.