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How do you test radon levels?

A:

Quick Answer

Test radon levels using a do-it-yourself short- or long-term test kit. Only a test kit with the "meets EPA requirements" label on it should be used, says WebMD. Another option is to hire a qualified tester.

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Full Answer

The short-term test kit is the quickest way to measure radon levels. It remains inside for two to 90 days depending on the type of detector in the kit and package directions. During the test, keep all windows and outside doors closed as much as possible, and only use fan systems or devices that recirculate air, rather than bring air in from the outside. For a two- or three-day test, close the windows and outside doors 12 hours prior to the test. The short-term test needs to be placed in the lowest level of the building that is used, except for the bathroom or kitchen, and it should sit at least 20 inches above the floor away from exterior walls, drafts, high humidity and high heat, instructs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

A long-term test remains in the building for more than 90 days and produces results for the year-round average radon level. Implement the same tips as used for the long-term test. It may be used as a follow-up to a short-term test with a 4-picocuries-per-liter result, recommends the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; however, a second short-term test can be used as a follow-up for faster results. Either kit can be purchased at most home improvement stores or ordered online from Kansas State University's National Radon Program Services.

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