How to Set Up a Radon Test | American Radon Mitigation

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How to Set Up a Radon Test

Before opening your radon test kit, be sure that your doors and windows have been closed for at least 12 hours. If you have a radon mitigation system, it should be running at least 24 hours before starting a radon test.

What Level to Test

Now choose the areas you want to test. This should be the lowest livable area if it’s for a real estate transaction or the lowest lived-in level of your home if it’s not.

If your home has multiple foundations, you should test each of those foundation types. For example, a four-level split would require a test in the basement and a test in the area that’s at ground level. If you have an addition, test the original part of the house and the addition. If you have a basement and a crawlspace, test the basement and the room above the crawlspace. If your foundation is over 2000 square feet, do two tests.

Which Room to Test

Test in rooms you use the most often like a bedroom, living room or an office. Some radon test kits are skewed by humidity so avoid kitchens, bathrooms, crawlspaces laundry rooms and mechanical rooms.

Now that you’ve picked the room you want to test, go ahead and open your test kit. Be sure to carefully follow the instructions. Fill out the start time and date along with any other requested information. Remember that someone at the lab must be able to read your writing.

Now hang, place, or tape your test kit in your normal breathing zone between 2 and 6 feet from the floor. It should be at least 3 feet from exterior doors and windows, 1 foot from exterior walls, 4 inches from other objects, avoid direct sunlight and not be placed in a draft or next to an air vent.

Showing how to tape radon test kits to an interior wall using masking tape.
Two Airchek test kits can be deployed next to each other for quality control. Here they are simply taped to an interior wall of the house.

How Long to Test for Radon

Most short-term test kits are designed to be exposed between 2 and 7 days. Long-term radon tests are typically exposed for 3 to 12 months.

During the Test Period

Keep your doors and windows closed during the test period if you’re doing a short-term radon test. Yes, you can enter and exit the house just close the door behind you. If you have window AC units, be sure they are set to recirculate. You’ll also want to set your furnace fan to auto.  

You can use your house normally if you’re performing a long-term radon measurement.

Ending Your Radon Test

Be sure to carefully seal the radon test kit shut after the test period. Record the stop time and date and answer any remaining questions.

Mail it Fast!

Time is of the essence here. Most test kit manufacturers recommend expedited shipping. The half-life of radon is 3.8 days. If the test gets to the lab 4 days after you mail it, that means that there’s only half the radon left in the kit to count. The lab can take this into consideration, but the longer a kit takes to arrive at the lab, the lower the accuracy.

Getting Your Results

Most labs mail or email your radon results back to you once your radon test kit has been analyzed.

Some labs charge a fee for analysis. We use Airchek and Alpha Track test kits. They do not charge a lab fee.

Check out our blog to discover what your radon levels mean and when you should take corrective action to lower your radon exposure.

Minnesota Department of Health Guide to Radon