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Overview of Testing

Once you have decided to test your home for Radon and have obtained the appropriate testing devices, make sure that the Radon test kits or devices are placed in the lowest occupied level of the home. Or if you have an area such as an unfinished basement that you spend more than 4 hours a day in or plan to occupy, then the test should be done there. The best location for the test device in that area is in what we like to call the “breathing zone,” which is the area between head level if you were lying on either a couch or a bed and head level while standing or sitting. In a more exact measurement, this area is typically 2 to 6 feet off of the ground. Your existing furniture items, such as nightstands, coffee tables and desks, work well to hold these devices.


While Health Canada recommends the 91-day test kits as they are the most representative test for your annual average exposure, we understand that not everyone wants to wait that long to see if they should take action against the Radon levels in their home. As such, we offer do-it-yourself short-term test kits, which are great for immediate and accurate results. 


For short-term tests, we use Electret Ion Chambers, or E-Perms, to determine the amount of Radon in your home. These tests take approximately five days in total. To minimize the variation in the numbers, the test should be done in what’s referred to as closed-house conditions. You will need to keep all the windows and doors closed as much as possible for 12 hours before the test and during the four days of exposure for these test kits.


We use Radonova Alpha Track test kits for our long-term testing. They are a highly reliable way to get Radon levels as close as possible to your annual average exposure. The test duration is between 91 days (3 months) and 365 days (1 year). Ideally, the testing is done during the heating season, as Radon is usually higher during the winter, but the test can be done anytime. Closed house conditions are not required for this test, nor do you need to do any preparations. All the test kits we offer come with detailed instructions and a prepaid envelope to send to the lab, and lab fees are included.

Interpreting Your Test Results

When you receive your report with the results, there are two critical pieces of information: the Radon number and the duration.


The duration is the exposure time of the test kit and will tell you how close your test is to your actual annual average exposure. The longer a test’s duration, the more accurate it is to your exposure over a year.


It is entirely normal for Radon levels to spike or drop over a few days, especially in bad weather.


The Radon number is how much Radon you’ve been exposed to over that period. Depending on the health organization, there are several different guidelines or action levels. Health Canada has an action level of 200 Bq/m³, the EPA in the USA’s action level is 148 Bq/m³ (4 pC/L), and the World Health Organization’s action level is 100 Bq/m³.


There are various reasons why each organization is different, but it comes down to how each group does their radiation dose calculation using other variables. 


It’s not uncommon for us to be asked, “At what level should I take action?” and our advice is simply this: consider what your comfort level for Radon (or radiation) is in your home, and make your decision based on that. The core goal of radiation prevention is the ALARA principle, As Low As Reasonably Achievable. We aim to get your average Radon levels below the World Health’s action level of 100 Bq/m³.

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