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  • Great West Radon

What is Radon Testing? Part 2

Updated: Feb 3, 2022

Radon testing is essential to protect your home against the threats of this silent killer. But what type of test should you undertake? In Part 2 of our blog series, we look at Long-Term Radon Testing...

As we touched on in Part 1 of our series, "What is Radon Testing", short-term testing is a very popular option for homeowners and homebuyers when preliminary results are required immediately.

However, it doesn't offer the proper duration and average that long-term testing provides. The length of long-term radon detectors is a 3-12 months period, compared to short-term testing, which is only for 96 hours. Over this longer period of time, you'll get a more accurate result of your average radon levels.

Let's take a deeper look at this radon testing below.

The Long-Term Radon Test

The measurement of radon levels should be done long-term, typically requiring a minimum of 90 days up to one year. You’ll want at least a couple of cold weather months included in your average as that is when your exposure will be highest. Most radon test kits, including the Radtrak² test (available at Great West Radon) rely on alpha particle tracking. This is a more realistic representation of typical annual levels in your home, which can fluctuate dramatically from day to day and month to month due to factors such as air pressure drops, strong winds, changing soil moisture, and radon-trapping snow cover.

Long-Term Radon Test vs. Short-Term Radon Test

A short-term radon screening is excellent for determining current radon levels in your house. Short-term testing will be beneficial to take action if radon levels are extremely high at your home, and if they are within a reasonable threshold, they can keep you calm until long-term tests have been completed. On the other hand, long-term radon testing will assure you that you're safe from radon's effects or confirm that action for radon mitigation should be taken.

The results and efficacy of long-term radon digital monitoring are a great alternative to a test kit as you don't have to worry about returning the kit to a lab, and can monitor for up to 10 years eliminating the need to purchase a test kit every 2 years. Radon monitors are beneficial because you have to turn them on once, and they will monitor radon levels in the environment just like a smoke detector.

You can't see or smell radon, as it is invisible, colourless and odourless gas. The harmful effects of radon gas also are unnoticeable even if you have dangerous levels in your home that could affect your health. It is so dangerous that even nonsmokers can develop Stage IV lung cancer due to its negative impact on lung tissues at a cellular level.

This is why it’s important to take adequate preventive measures to protect yourself and your family. Assume long-term radon testing is as important as eating healthy and not smoking in protecting your family on a long-term basis. By putting up the effort to detect radon today, you may be able to add years to your own and your loved ones' lives!

Just like the air we breathe, radon is invisible, but as it gathers to high levels indoors it becomes hazardous. It is a radioactive gas that causes DNA level damage in our lungs. So, if a long-term test reveals that your house has high radon levels, you should take action and remove the long-term risk by installing a radon mitigation system.

Long-term digital radon monitoring keeps you updated about constantly changing radon levels so that you can act when they get to levels you are no longer comfortable with. In contrast, short-term testing gives a short-term idea of radon levels when you first move in, a sample test, in other words.

When Do I Need Long-term Radon Testing?

By adopting long-term radon testing, the quality of life and lifespan of your loved ones can increase. Although the amount of Radon in your home can fluctuate greatly over a year, you should be focused on the average. Every single home in Alberta should be tested as Radon levels in homes even next door to one another can vary drastically.

The levels of radon are observed higher in the winter months when buildings are sealed up, with no fresh air, closed doors and windows. Last year your home may have had safe radon levels, but that might not be the case anymore. Having active, long-term radon testing equipment would make you aware of the increasing levels of radon. Large ground disturbances such as home building and road maintenance/construction within 5 km of your home can affect your indoor radon levels.

According to Health Canada, the radon test in a house or public facility should be a long-term assessment, mainly performed during the heating season (October to April). Health Canada does suggest a test lasting more than a month, preferably a minimum of three months, is advised.

The harmful effects of radon can not be seen with time; that’s why it is known as a stealthy or silent killer. However, better ventilation is helpful to lower radon levels. This is great in the summertime when homeowners have open doors and windows as well as additional ventilation to cool down their homes. The issue becomes more troubling in the wintertime when it is too cold outside to keep doors and windows open, causing indoor radon concentrations to go up substantially.

Get Your Radon Testing Devices at Great West Radon

To test a residence for radon, a variety of radon measuring equipment is available. There are two categories of radon testing devices: long-term test kits and digital monitors. Digital monitors can start giving your preliminary results in as little as 24 hours but can also build long-term averages.

At Great West Radon, Randova brand long-term test kits are available. Our digital monitor vendor of choice is Airthings. We sell the Airthings Corentium Home, Airthings Wave, Airthings Wave Plus, as well as the Airthings Home kit.

We pick our vendors for their products as they are known as high quality and are recognized by leading quality assurance companies.

Great-West Radon is a "One Stop Shop" for all your Radon related needs. We provide detail-oriented, honest, and reliable radon testing in Calgary by using state-of-the-art tools and technology. From radon mitigation to radon removal, we are the top-rated Radon services company in Calgary, and we are proud of the work we do and the relationships we've created with our clients. We only use the best materials and equipment, ensuring all guidelines set out by the Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program and Health Canada are being met. If you require radon testing, mitigation, removal, or a radon test kit in Calgary, Great Radon West has you covered.

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