Because radon is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, the only way to know whether or not your house contains dangerous levels of radon is to test it. The tests are simple and cheap to perform and will give you an accurate depiction of how much radon is in your house. The EPA recommends the following test steps:
1. Take a short-term test. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality (otherwise known as the DEQ) sells test kids online for $9.00. Their website is https://deq.utah.gov/. Local hardware stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s also sell radon test kits but they are more expensive and also charge a processing fee.
2. Receive your test results. The test results take some time to process and are usually given to you three weeks after the test is taken and sent to the DEQ. When you receive your results, they will tell you how much radon is in your house.
While there is no “safe” level of radon inside of houses (as radon is radioactive and brings harm with it wherever it goes), it is suggested by professionals that any levels under 4pCi/L should not be worried about. If, however, your house tests higher than 4/pCi/L, that suggests that your house has dangerous levels of radon within it. When this happens, it is recommended that another test is taken to double-check the test results.
3. Perform a follow-up test. There are two options for follow-up tests: a long-term test and a short-term test. There is some speculation as to the accuracy of short-term tests, which is why performing a follow-up test is recommended in the first place. If you have the opportunity, it is a better idea to perform a long-term test. Short-term tests, though fairly reliable, can show “false positives” and indicate dangerous levels of radon (more than 4 pCi/L) when there is not that much or “false negatives” and indicate safe levels of radon when there are dangerous levels of radon present.
Another important aspect to consider is that radon levels fluctuate greatly from year to year, season to season, and sometimes even from hour to hour. This means that there is a possibility that a short-term test could be performed during an upward spike and therefore indicate dangerous levels of radon when overall the house contains “safe” levels of it.
4. If your house tests above 4 pCi/L again, mitigate your home. Once the effects of radon begin to show, it is often too late. Long-term exposure to dangerous levels of radon frequently results in lung cancer and other respiratory problems. That is why if your house contains dangerous levels of radon, you should install a ventilation system that pumps any lingering radon in your home outside your home, releasing it into the air and keeping you and your loved ones safe.