JAM (2005) Enterprises
How do I test radon gas for myself ?
"Do It Yourself" (DIY) Testing
What if I don’t want a professional measurement ? Can I measure radon gas myself ? Yes !
If you choose to measure radon gas yourself with a kit * available at hardware/big box stores or from the Internet, please read the section on the limitations of these kits (especially the short-term ones) before you purchase one. Many consumers have been severely disappointed after buying these. Also read the big-box [ex.Home Depot] store reviews on these products.
Caveat emptor - Buyer beware !
I have completed (March 2016) a short-term test for a client who had purchased a big-box-hardware store long-term radon test (90+ days) kit and received the result of over 600 Bq/m3 (3x Health Canada's limit!) from the lab in Florida. He was ready to have an estimate for installation of a mitigation system. However, he wisely decided to have me come in and re-test and verify the level before spending upwards of $2500 for a system when he already had an operational HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilator) in place. The result of my ST testing was less than 100 Bq/m3 (1/2 of Health Canada's Guideline) using a Continuous Radon Monitor. He will follow up with one of my Long Term DIY test kits (Accustar AT-100) next fall and winter. The moral of this true story is - if in doubt as to the validity of the measurement with some of the "store-bought" kits, please call me to get your house re-tested before you decide on a mitigation system. With high radon levels, Health Canada recommends mitigation within 1-2 years of a high value. I am NOT involved in mitigation so I will give you an unbiased test result; do NOT fear that I am going to convince you to put in a mitigation system.
If you do decide on a DIY test, I do offer for sale, a long-term (91-365 day) test kit (Accustar AT-100) at a competitive price ($49.95 + HST + shipping to you at cost ) for “Do-It-Yourself” testing. This product is the NUMBER ONE rated long term-detector in Consumer Reports 2014, 2015 and 2016 and is widely used in Canada and the US by both professionals and consumers. The price INCLUDES the LAB ANALYSIS and AIR MAIL SHIPPING to the US (Massachusettes) lab and a report of results (email or on-line). I also get a copy of the report so I can discuss the results with you (email or phone) if needed. This LT test can be easily set up by anyone and detailed instructions are included. A Customs declaration is already pre-printed on the return envelope. If interested in ordering one of these, please email me ([email protected]), give me a call at 519-709-0673, fill in the “Request More Information" form (My Services section) or order directly from my "Web Store" (on my website www.radondetectionlondon.ca ). As with nearly all Internet-sourced detectors, shipping to the customer is EXTRA. I use Canada Post Expedited parcel shipping because it is expedient but reasonably priced (My "Venture One" pricing is approximately $13-$14 for shipping within Canada; a higher rate may occur for some small towns with a postal code starting with N0x xxx). The shipping costs involve not only a base postal rate, but the mandatory fuel surcharge and HST.
I would strongly advise that you avoid retail short-term testing kits and leave the short-term measurement up to me or other professionals. See why in the explanation - What are the test kit limitations ?
* See Consumer Reports 2014, 2015 and 2016 for information and ratings on homeowner-purchased radon test kits.
What are the test kit limitations ?
Please be aware that most big-box store and hardware store test kits (Prolab) do NOT include lab fees which are extra ($15-$40) but some include shipping fees back to the lab. Those that do include shipping, usually use the least expensive method which takes the longest time; this can invalidate the test results. The "short-term kit" shipping alone can cost up to $73.04 or more for necessary Fed. Ex. , Purolator or Canada Post Priority ($73.04) shipping to the US on top of the short-term test kit costs and lab fee! These test kits must be returned and analyzed quickly. (within a few days) Mistime the short-term test and the test may be sitting in a Canada Post warehouse until it is shipped to the lab, thus invalidating the test, because it took too long to get there! (See Home Depot reviews)
Some test kits charge an extra fee ($10-15) for quicker processing! Obtaining your results may also take up to three or four weeks depending on how busy the lab is!
Some test kits, especially those available on the Internet or at big box stores, may require you send the test to a US-based lab, thereby necessitating extra declaration paperwork and a US Customs inspection which can slow down the process significantly. My AT-100 already has the necessary Customs information on the envelope and shipping is included via Canada Post Small Package Airmail. Some may forward the test kit to an Ontario address (Woodbridge, or Vaughn ON) which then sends them to a Ft. Lauderdale lab. Again this takes time!
Also, short-term test kits or radon instrument must also be appropriately placed in the home under strict "closed-house" test conditions. Test kits can vary in the details they include in this setup. This is not necessary for LT tests.
Also be wary of the "Real Estate" liquid scintillation-charcoal 2-day test kits sold at big box and hardware stores. They have the same caveats that are mentioned above. If you need a real estate transaction measurement, it is better to call me to do one. A 2-day test is so influenced by many factors and as a result, a reading can be highly suspect. Some charcoal-based canister test kits (without diffusion barriers) are prone to humidity and should not be used when the humidity gets above 80%. These test kits can absorb moisture thereby giving inaccurate values. Average annual morning humidity for London, ON is 86%. (Environment Canada 2010 data)
My Accustar AT-100 Long-Term Test Kits do not have this limitation.