What is radon?
Radon is an invisible gas formed in the Earth’s crust. It surrounds every one of us as part of the air we breathe.
Where does radon come from?
The rocks and soil beneath our homes contain traces of uranium. Over time, the uranium breaks down and forms other elements. This is called radioactive decay. Radon is one link in the decay chain of uranium. When radon gas decays, it emits radioactive radiation in the form of an alpha particle.
How does radon enter a building?
Radon rises and can enter a home or workplace through the hot water tank, sink, shower, and microscopic cracks in a building´s foundation.
Why is radon important?
Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer amongst non-smokers¹.
Approximately 21,000 people die from radon-related lung cancer every year in the United States alone².
Due to radon’s fluctuating nature, long term, daily monitoring is necessary.
1 American Cancer Society
2 US Environmental Protection Agency
What is the difference between Short-term versus Long-term radon detection?
Short-term radon detection is suitable if you need a speedy answer that will take between 2 days and 3 months. For instance, you can use it after buying a house to check if you need radon mitigation work. These types use charcoal based methods to absorb the radon gas which is later resealed and returned to the vendor or lab for evaluation.
The main advantage of this is speed as it takes less than 90 days for the results which make it significantly faster than long-term methods. However, it still takes a long time to get the results back from the lab. These kits are also cheap and can cost anything from $10 to $30 per kit. The problem (as mentioned in an earlier post) is that they are unreliable due to the vulnerability for errors.
Long-term radon detection may take where from 3 months up to a year depending on the product. Since these methods are used for the long-term, it provides more accurate readings than the short-term methods as it measures the average radon levels. However, the accuracy varies from product to product. The problem with these products is also the length of time it takes to get the results. Furthermore, similar to short-term methods, it is also inconvenient as you need to return items for processing and evaluation. Many "old school" methods of long-term radon detection have the hassle of returning items to the vendor which takes both time and effort. In other words, it becomes less convenient to measure radon.
Why Long-term measurement matters?
Radon levels fluctuate over time and are influenced by the elements in our environment. Monitoring over longer periods of time allows for such fluctuations to be accounted for, giving you more accurate and meaningful results.
Are Charcoal Test Kit Results Reliable?
Charcoal test kits are vulnerable to user errors. Charcoal is a very active compound. Since it absorbs radon, it can absorb other things as well. Moisture wreaks havoc on charcoal kit test results. If a canister is not properly sealed, humidity can permeate the chamber where the charcoal is housed. When a can isn’t sealed well, it can continue absorbing other elements, which leads to inaccurate results.
Why Digital Radon Detection?
The advantage here is that you can use these products for both short-term and long-term measurement purposes. If you are looking for short-term solutions, you can get an answer within 2 hours to 24 hours. Moreover, for long-term purposes, it can measure radon levels continuously thereby giving you up-to-date results so that fluctuating radon levels do not become a problem.