Can You Be in the House During a Radon Test and What You Need to Know

Can You Be in the House During a Radon Test?

Yes, you can be in the house during a radon test.

It is important to follow the guidelines for testing device placement and ensure that the test is conducted in the lowest livable area or an area with the potential to be finished.

Test devices should be placed at least 20 inches off the floor, away from other items, and at least 12 inches from a wall (or three feet from the wall if there is an exterior window or door nearby).

It is also recommended to keep the test devices away from drafts, humidity, heat, and areas of high humidity.

Air vents should be closed, and air moving devices should be turned off during the test.

However, normal entry and exit from the home is permitted, and HVAC systems should be run as if someone is living in the home.

Key Points:

  • You can be in the house during a radon test.
  • Follow guidelines for device placement in the lowest livable area or potentially finished area.
  • Test devices should be placed at least 20 inches off the floor and away from other items.
  • Keep test devices away from drafts, humidity, heat, and areas of high humidity.
  • Close air vents and turn off air moving devices during the test.
  • Normal entry and exit from the home is permitted, and HVAC systems should be running as if someone is living in the home.

Did You Know?

1. Radon, a colorless and odorless gas, is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States alone.
2. Radon gas is produced naturally by the breakdown of uranium in rocks, soil, and water.
3. Radon levels can vary greatly between different houses, even those located in close proximity to each other.
4. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that radon levels should not exceed 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) in residential homes.
5. It is safe to be in the house during a radon test, as long as all exterior doors, windows, and vents are closed during the duration of the test, typically 48-72 hours.

Placement Guidelines For Radon Testing Devices

When conducting a radon test, it is crucial to adhere to specific guidelines for device placement. According to radon testing guidelines, the devices should be positioned in the lowest livable area of the house or an area that could be finished. This guarantees accurate measurement of radon levels in the areas where individuals spend the majority of their time.

To obtain precise results, ensure that the test devices are elevated at least 20 inches off the floor and at least 4 inches away from other objects. This prevents obstructions that could interfere with the test results. Additionally, place the devices at least 12 inches away from walls. However, if there is an exterior window or door in proximity, keep them three feet away from the wall to account for potential air movement.

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It’s worth noting that drafty areas should be avoided when placing the test devices. Drafts can impact the accuracy of the test results by influencing the movement of air and radon gas. Moreover, maintain a distance of at least three feet from exterior doors to prevent any interference from air circulation near these areas. By adhering to these placement guidelines, you can ensure accurate and reliable results from your radon test.

Test Device Placement Restrictions For Real Estate Sales

When conducting a radon test during a real estate sale, there are additional restrictions on the placement of test devices. Guidelines state that the test must be done in the lowest livable area of the house. This requirement is in place to ensure that the test reflects the radon levels in the areas of the house where future residents will spend most of their time.

In addition to the placement restrictions mentioned above, it is crucial to keep the devices away from areas with high humidity. Therefore, testing should not be done in kitchens, bathrooms, or laundry rooms. The high humidity in these areas can affect the accuracy of the test kits and compromise the reliability of the results. By adhering to these guidelines, you can ensure that the radon test provides accurate information for potential buyers during a real estate transaction.

Factors To Consider When Placing Radon Test Devices

When determining the placement of radon test devices, it is essential to consider various factors that may affect the test results. For instance, it is crucial to keep the devices away from heat and areas of high humidity. Heat can impact the accuracy of the test results, and high humidity can affect the performance of the test kits.

It is also important to avoid placing the devices near air vents that would force air across them. The air movement caused by vents can interfere with the proper measurement of radon levels. Additionally, if your home has a fireplace or heating stove, it is recommended not to operate them during the test unless they are the main source of heat. This is because the combustion process can affect the airflow and subsequently impact the radon test results.

For homes with crawl spaces, it is advisable to conduct a radon test in the room above the crawl space as well. Crawl spaces can have unique radon levels due to different airflow patterns, and testing in the adjacent room provides a comprehensive assessment of the radon levels in the house.

Avoiding Humidity And Drafts During Radon Testing

To ensure accurate radon test results, it is vital to avoid testing in areas with high humidity, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. The humidity can affect the test kits and compromise the reliability of the results. Additionally, the test devices should not be placed near drafts, as drafts can impact the movement of air and radon gas, leading to inaccurate measurements.

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To minimize the impact of humidity and drafts, it is recommended to:

  • Keep the windows and doors closed for at least 12 hours prior to the test and during the test itself. This creates closed house conditions, which simulate the closed conditions expected about 70% of the year in most homes.
  • Normal entry and exit from the home are permitted during the test, but it is crucial to avoid any actions that could introduce excess air into the testing area.

Furthermore, HVAC systems should be run as if someone is living in the home if it is vacant. Air-to-air exchangers should be left on unless they are not used or used only occasionally. Furnaces or central air should be set to “auto” mode, and the fan should not run consistently. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that humidity and drafts do not affect the accuracy of your radon test.

Preparing The Home For Radon Testing: Closed House Conditions And HVAC Considerations

To prepare your home for radon testing, it is essential to create closed house conditions. This involves keeping all exterior windows and doors closed for at least 12 hours prior to the test and throughout the duration of the test. Closed house conditions are crucial because they provide a more accurate representation of the radon levels in the home, as they simulate the conditions that occur for the majority of the year.

During the test, it is important to avoid actions that could introduce excess air into the testing area. This includes minimizing the use of doors and windows unless necessary. Normal entry and exit can still occur, but it is crucial to be mindful of the impact on the test results.

Furthermore, when conducting the radon test in a vacant home, it is recommended to run the HVAC systems as if someone is living there. This includes leaving air-to-air exchangers on unless they are not used or just occasionally used. Additionally, furnaces or central air should be set to “auto” mode, and the fan should not run consistently.

By following these guidelines and making the necessary preparations, you can ensure that your radon test provides accurate and reliable results, helping you take appropriate actions to mitigate any radon issues in your home.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I open upstairs windows during radon test?

During a radon test, it is crucial to keep all upstairs windows closed. This is to ensure an accurate measurement of radon levels in the indoor air. Opening windows can disrupt the test results by allowing outside air, potentially affecting the levels of radon detected and causing skewed data. To maintain the integrity of the test, it is recommended to strictly adhere to the instruction of keeping all windows closed.

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Furthermore, it is important to refrain from using fans that draw in air from the outside during the radon test. These fans can introduce outside air, potentially altering the radon levels and invalidating the results. However, smaller exhaust fans can be utilized for brief intervals during testing, as long as they are not drawing air in from the outside. It is advisable to consult the specific guidelines provided for the radon test to ensure accurate readings.

What happens if I leave door open during radon test?

During a radon test, it is crucial to maintain a closed environment to accurately measure the radon levels. If you leave the door open during the test, fresh air from outside can dilute the radon concentration, leading to inaccurately low results. As a result, it is recommended to ensure that all windows and doors are closed at least 12 hours before the test begins and to keep them shut for the duration of the testing period. By following these guidelines, you can obtain reliable results and have a better understanding of the radon levels in your home.

Can you run ceiling fan during radon test?

During a radon test, it is recommended to not run a ceiling fan in the room where the testing monitor is placed. This is because the purpose of the test is to measure the natural levels of radon in the air, and running the ceiling fan could potentially disrupt airflow and affect the accuracy of the results. Ensuring that the room remains undisturbed allows for a more reliable measurement of radon levels.

Where is the best place to put a radon test?

The best place to put a radon test depends on the type of foundation the house has. For homes with crawl spaces, the ideal location would be in the room above the crawl space. In the case of homes with a cement floor or “slab-on-grade” foundation, a radon detector can be placed in any room. However, it is important to avoid testing in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room, as these areas might not accurately reflect the overall radon levels in the house. If a house has multiple foundation types, it is recommended to test all three areas (crawl space, room above the crawl space, and any other room) to get a comprehensive understanding of the radon levels throughout the house.

References: 1, 2, 3, 4