At least one test kit should be placed in the largest central living room on the lowest inhabited level of the home that gets airflow from the rest of the space. You should also test the floor you spend the most time on to observe whether and how your radon level is fading as it goes from floor to floor. If you only have time for one test, start with the room that shows the highest reading.
It's a good idea to get more than one test result because sometimes things go wrong with the machine or someone has walked on the skin right next to the meter. When this happens, some people think there's still radon in the house even though there's no longer any gas present. The only way to know for sure if your house contains radon is to test it. And since we only have one planet, it's important to not waste any time in taking care of this problem.
If your state or country requires it, you should also let your local health department know that you want free radon tests performed on your property. Some places will even send out workers to check up on houses with high levels of radon gas. This is a public health measure designed to find problems before families move into these homes.
It's best to start testing as soon as you move into a new house, but if that's not possible then at least start when you first notice signs of trouble in your current house.
Install a radon detector 2–6 feet above the floor, away from drafts, external walls, sumps, drains, windows, or doors. Radon can enter a structure through foundation cracks, sumps, or drains, and concentrations are often higher near these access locations. Place the radon detector as far as possible from any source of radioactivity, such as a nuclear plant, coal mine, or uranium ore processing facility.
Test your home's radon level using an official radon gas test kit. The kit comes with instructions for use and a sample collection device to take measurements over a period of time. When testing more than one room, place different colored stickers on each door to indicate which room is being tested at any given time. Remove all objects that may block air flow, such as furniture or pictures, so that all rooms are treated equally. Also, make sure the detector is not blocked by people or pets.
Measure the radiation levels in parts per billion (ppb). If you are provided with a reading that is higher than 4 ppb, reduce exposure sources such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and fertilizer usage. Also, check with your local government agency about whether there is anything you can do about high-radiation areas in your home. Sometimes this can be done by buffering outdoor soil with clean sand or gravel, or by sealing basement floors and walls against moisture infiltration.
A short-term test is useful for determining your present radon levels, although these levels might change owing to a variety of reasons, including:
Because the regions underneath your house are usually the first to acquire radon gas, you should consider installing one radon detector for every 2000 uninterrupted square feet and in regularly occupied rooms. The only exception would be if you have a proven history of low levels of radiation on site.
If you own a business near a nuclear power plant, you should install at least two detectors because radioactive particles can travel through soil and water. Install one detector about 30 miles from the plant and another about 30 miles away as backup.
You should also check your home's title or other documentation to see whether it requires radon testing. If your house was built after 1989, it is likely that it will not require certification by a qualified laboratory because construction methods have been improved to reduce infiltration. However, if your house was built before 1989, there is a chance that it may have high levels of radon gas present inside the building materials used during those early years. In this case, you should consult with a lab that performs radon testing to determine how much money you might be able to save by having your house tested yourself rather than having your landlord do it.
Radon gas is found in almost all homes.
Radon levels can be reduced in certain circumstances either passively (without the use of a fan) or aggressively ventilation the crawlspace (with the use of a fan). Crawlspace ventilation may reduce indoor radon levels by lowering the suction of the house on the soil as well as diluting the radon beneath the house. The two main methods for ventilating the crawlspace are to open up floor and wall cavities using insulation removal and fresh air infiltration and to install a fan.
If you choose to ventilate your crawlspace actively, there are several types of fans available. One type of fan is called an exhaust fan. These fans have blades that spin in the same direction as the flow of air inside the home and force it out through a hose at the back of the house. Exhaust fans are easy to install and cheap to buy, but they don't move much air so if you want to be effective at reducing radon levels you'll need to upgrade to a stronger model. Another type of fan used for crawlspace ventilation is a centrifugal fan. These fans use moving parts to create airflow by spinning objects such as feathers or plastic cards. Centrifugal fans are more efficient than exhaust fans and can move more air, but they are also more expensive to purchase.
It's important to remember that reducing radon levels requires removing soil and other materials that may contain radon gas from the crawlspace.