Radon is a colorless, odorless gas, which means you can’t rely solely on human detection to find it in your home. The U.S. Office of the Surgeon General and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) both recommend all homes be tested for radon, especially when purchasing, selling or building a home.
That testing requires the use of special equipment, which you can either purchase yourself or hire a professional to use. If you do opt to go the DIY route, that testing kit must be approved by the EPA.
Keep in mind that radon levels can vary from day to day, so testing can also occur over a larger time period. Short-term tests can be completed within two to 90 days, and long-term tests can take three months or more.
But how exactly does radon testing proceed, and how does the equipment used to complete its function? Here is some information about how to use a radon detector in Des Moines, IA.
Using radon test devices
Radon tests will either detect the radon gas directly or will find the byproducts of radon’s natural radioactive decay. There are two types of radon test devices: active and passive.
Active devices require the use of electrical power and feature several continuous monitoring devices, including continuous working level monitors and continuous radon monitors. These devices will detect and record both radon and its byproducts. These types of tests are higher-end, more expensive tests and usually require professionally trained testers for them to work as designed.
Passive radon testing devices have a bit more variety. They can include the following types of devices:
- Charcoal canisters: Charcoal canisters, as well as charcoal liquid scintillation detectors, absorb radon or its byproducts onto the charcoal in the equipment. Then, in a lab setting, testers count the radioactive particles emitted from the charcoal with the use of a sodium iodide counter, or convert those particles to light in a liquid scintillation medium to count them in a scintillation detector.
- Alpha track detectors: These devices have a thin plastic film on them that gets etched by the alpha particles that hit it. Then, in the lab, the testers treat the plastic to make those tracks visible and then count the tracks they see.
- Electret ion detectors: These devices have a Teflon disc that has a static charge. Any time an ion generated from radon decay hits the disc, the electrical charge gets reduced. In the lab, analysts measure the total reduction of the charge to calculate the radon level.
In most cases, you can find any of these passive devices (except electret ion detectors in some circumstances) in your local hardware store, or you can purchase them online. You might need to go directly to a laboratory to purchase an electret ion detector. Passive devices are usually less expensive and do not require professional training to be used.
For more information about radon measurement in Des Moines, IA, contact the team at Sir Build-a-Lot today. We look forward to assisting you!