Ensuring The Radon Tests Accuracy
Performing a radon test is a simple task, although there are many factors that have to be met for it to be an accurate test. For the purpose of this article, I am going to be talking about a short term test lasting between 2-9 days, specifically a 48 hour test. One of the main things is maintaining “closed house conditions”. This means that the windows and doors in the house are closed for 12 hours prior to the test and the entire length of the test. Normal entry and exit is ok, as long as the doors are not kept open. If the garage door is opened, the door between the garage and basement should be shut.
Any fans that bring in air from the outside should not be used during the test. Small exhaust fans that are run for only a short time, can be used. A window or wall unit air conditioner should not be used except on recirculation mode, without drawing in outside air. If the house has a radon fan as part of a reduction system, it should be on at the time of the inspection. If the radon fan has been off, it should be turned on and running for 24 hours prior to the test. If the radon system is functional, it should always be kept on. A radon mitigation system is made to run continuously and should not be turned off, except for repairs.
If the test is being performed with a continuous monitor that needs power to run it, the power should be kept on and the monitor not touched or bumped. If it is touched or moved, it will usually show that it was tampered with and the test will be void. The canister type test or E-Perm test, is a little harder to determine if it was tampered with, although just as accurate as a continuous monitor if the test is valid. The main reason for inaccurate test results is the testing equipment being tampered with. It is amazing what people will do to get out of paying for a radon mitigation system, (Usually around $750 or more). Of course if you are having your own house tested for yourself, you have no reason to tamper with it. It is a different situation if you are selling a home and the buyer is having the test done.
In the end, the testing equipment is only as good as the procedures are performed, and the people in the house are honest. If either are not met correctly, then the results will not be accurate. The location of the test is also a reason for an inaccurate result of the radon levels. The test could of been done properly and not tampered with, although if the test was not done in the correct location of the house, it will not show the truest radon level for this specific house. It should be placed in the lowest livable area of the house, but there are a lot of factors that determine where at in the lowest area. This is the main reason that I think a radon test should be performed by a radon testing specialist that is certified through the DEP. (Department of Environmental Protection)
Filed under: Radon Information
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