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Radon - How Often Should You Test?

As part of our "coverage" of National Radon Action Month, I thought we could take a look at a question that seems to be getting some discussion lately—How often should you test your home? A colleague of mine shared an interesting analogy with me that helps put frequent testing into proper perspective. She compared radon testing to medical checkups. You get your teeth checked twice a year. Women and men get their respective cancer screenings, usually annually. We don’t just do these one time and then say cool, I’m in the clear.

Radon: What can change over time?

Seasonal Influences - Well, many things can cause the radon level to change in your home. For one, there are seasonal changes. If a short term radon test was performed in the spring, one should consider doing another test during a different heating/cooling season, like fall or winter. And then test every couple of years. It isn’t expensive or difficult to test for radon and it’s the only way to know if any change has occurred to the level of radon in the home.

Home Changes - The EPA identifies the following major ways that radon can enter a home: cracks in solid floors, construction joints, cracks in walls, gaps in suspended floors, gaps around service pipes, cavities inside walls, and the water supply. So if renovations, changes in ventilation, earthquakes, settling of the ground beneath the building, or even just time have effected or disturbed any of these items, radon could essentially be finding new ways to enter your home, and you should retest just to be sure.

In fact, according to the EPA, "If you are planning any major structural renovation, such as converting an unfinished basement area into living space, it is especially important to test the area for radon before you begin the renovation. If your test results indicate a radon problem, radon-resistant techniques can be inexpensively included as part of the renovation."

Otherwise, in the above example, if you finish the basement and then test, you might end up needing to tear out finished portions of the basement in order to install the mitigation pipes. And, once again, because major renovations can change the level of radon in any home, always test again after work is completed.

Living Pattern Changes - Not only can radon levels undergo changes, but your living patterns may change. If you plan to or begin living in a lower level of your home (closer to where radon enters your home), you should retest the home on that level.

Some Final Thoughts
So in the end, you may not need to test your home as often as, say, you visit your GP or your dentist, but—especially since it is inexpensive—it is a good idea to test every couple of years. Get information on how to test your home for Radon here.

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Have Questions?
US Inspect is a leader in the radon industry. In fact, we started out as a radon testing company way back in 1986 and we also design and build our own radon monitoring devices. So, feel free to contact us through this blog or otherwise if you have any radon-related questions.

What exactly is Radon anyway?
Are you new to this topic and want to know more about why we test for Radon at all? Check out these links to the EPA's Web site below:

The Basics: What is Radon? Why is it a concern?
How does Radon get into the home?
How to Lower the Radon Levels in Your Home
The risk of living with Radon