As a homeowner, any element that poses a health risk is something to worry about. Radon a radioactive gas is one of these features that can deprive you of your peace of mind in your home.
In this article, we will discuss all the fundamental aspects revolving around the fact of radon gas, the reason why you need a radon detector as a smart home security system in your house.
Additionally, we will also review some of the best recommendations of radon test kit in the market. Hopefully, it will make your selection process much easy when purchasing, especially if you’re a first-timer.
- Why Do You Need a Radon Detector?
- What Is a Radon Gas Detector For?
- Types of Radon Detectors
- Best Radon Detectors in 2019
- How Do These Radon Gas Detectors Work?
- How to Install a Radon Detector
- Aspects to Consider When Buying Radon Gas Tester
- The Bottom Line
Why Do You Need a Radon Detector?
It is a real health deathtrap and according to Environmental Protection Agency, radon results to over 21,000 deaths annually, and ranks second after cigarette smoking in causing lung cancer.
Unfortunately, its effects are undetectable until that moment that uncontrolled damage is done.
Also NRC.gov noted that Radon along with Thoron become the biggest source of radiation exposure in the United States (source: NCRP Report No 160 year 2009)
So what’s the best way to deal with it? It’s a fact you can never entirely get rid of radon in your home due to its permeating nature. However, interventions can be undertaken to ensure your home is within a relatively safe range.
And this is where the radon sensor or radon gas test kit become handy. But then question abounds is how to determine the best radon detector.
What Is a Radon Gas Detector For?
Radon is generated from the breakdown of a chemical element named Uranium. Usually radon gas enters your home through a small crack in the foundation of your home and by the time it can trap and become concentrated until at the end it escapes to the air and inhaled by you or your family.
The problem is this active radon gas is odorless, colorless which means you may not notice if your house contains some certain amount of levels of radon gas.
This is where radon tester become essential, it can help you to measure the high radon level on your house so you can make sure it still under the limit. In United States 2 pCi/L is a level that considers as the limit where you should start take an action.
Types of Radon Detectors
These test kits are unique but are designed to serve a similar purpose. However, we have got different types radon detectors that you may come across today.
Let’s describe them to understand more information regarding what each type entails;
1. Short-Term Radon Test
As the name suggests, these are designed to test radon within a relatively short term basis. They are ideal if you need to know the rough estimate radon within your home after about two to seven days.
They are the options that many people often go for first when in need of getting a rough idea of the amount of radon before taking particular actions.
Additionally, they are often inexpensive to acquire. However, the brands vary hence leading to disparities in results as well as the information that you obtain.
2. Long-Term Radon Test
These are options intended to measure radon levels in your homestead over a reasonably long duration, typically between seven to ninety days or thereabout.
They are ideal because you get to know precisely how possibly the levels spike in various seasons, weather conditions or even temperatures.
The ubiquitous nature of this gas makes this particular detection kit suitable for you if you need to determine a long-term solution to the problem.
In fact, the long-term home radon measurement kit gives the most concise and reasonably accurate readings of all the available test kits.
However, it is not an ideal option to go for if you’re after more pressing needs, for the obvious reason that it takes longer to give you the needed results.
3. Digital Radon Measurement Level Kit
Digital radon monitor is a type of radon test kit that provides you with continuous and consistent readouts. You do not require to take the samples to a lab to get the gas levels.
This type also has the ability to provide short-term and long-term results. Furthermore, this test kit is essential in determining the efficacy of radon mitigation mechanism.
So at the end of the day, you’ll know the amount of radioactive gas within your home and if there is need for moving out or not.
4. Alpha-Track Radon Sensor
It is arguably one of the most popular radon test kits on the market. They are ideal choice to go for because you get long-term solutions for dealing with the radon needs.
These kits are made using a polycarbonate plastic sheet, which collects particles from the air. Tiny marks are made whenever the alpha particles come into contact with the plastic sheets.
The marks can then be analyzed by lab technicians to determine the levels of radon gas in that specific location.
In the same case, the lab analysts will be able to tell the radon levels by counting the pockmarks that are available on the polycarbonate sheets.
This is vital because after the analysis, you’ll be able to determine whether or not the air quality in that compound is suitable for your health.
5. Charcoal Radon Test
This option provides short-term solutions to radon detection. They are typically affordable and takes anywhere between two to seven days to give the results.
They function in such a way that the charcoal absorbs the radon atoms from the air after which the charcoal is taken for further lab assessment.
The speed at which the charcoal absorbs the atoms in the air is what denotes the levels of radon present.
The charcoal test offers relatively accurate results that you can rely on to make informed actions regarding radon mitigation systems.
Best Radon Detectors in 2019
In this section, the interest is to show you some of the top radon detector reviews based on the tests that we carried out.
1. Corentium Home by Airthings 223
It is arguably one of the best tools for detecting radon in homes. It features an LCD screen that allows you to read both short and long-term radon levels.
It is resistant to a wide range of environmental and physical conditions including weather, dust and electromagnetic interference among others. This electronic radon tester kit is also battery operated.
This kit is easy to use and provides accurate results, both short and long-term, therefore, enabling you to make an informed decision.
This unit also provides easy interpretation of the results given that you can see the readings through its LCD display.
It is highly portable and has longer battery life (using AAA bateries). The best part of home by Airthings radon that once you’ve started using it, you can reset it as many times as you wish to commence another measurement.
Although it is quite pricey, the features and the quality that Corentium home by Airthings presents are worth the amount you spend.
- Quick results, with your first radon level indication in 24 hours
- Lightweight and portable
- Battery operated with a 2-year battery life
- Unaffected by electromagnetic interference and dust, performs optimally in humidity < 85%
- Designed in Europe and tested in Japan, Germany, France & USA
2. Safety Siren Pro Series3 Radon Gas Detector – HS71512
This radon alarm kit from Family Safety Products, Inc is also regarded among the best in the market. It features a numeric LED display screen and carries out a self-test after every 24 hours.
It is easy to use, portable and easy to read. This kit also meets the standards of US EPA performance criteria making it ideal for detecting radon kits in your home.
Additionally, it tends to update the air samples after every hour. This helps in enhancing the accuracy of the ultimate readings which ultimately improves your home safety.
Nevertheless, you also happen to get both short-term and long-term readings when using this particular digital radon sensor tool.
- Meets US EPA performance criteria
- Has a numeric LED display screen
- Short-term and long-term readings
- Updates air samples every hour
- Conducts a self-test every 24 hours
3. Radon Eye RD200 Smart Radon Monitor Detector
This radon test tool is engineered with advanced technology that makes it one of the best on the market presently.
Its sensitivity is 20 times higher than the other competitive radon sensor kits. This is, as a result, its accurate detection unit and the dual structured pulsed-ionization mechanism incorporate exclusive technology.
This kit also relays data in about one hour or less. It thus relieves you from the need to wait for results for longer days given that it provides comparatively short testing period.
It is convenient in regards to data logging, offers graph displays for easy analysis, has an alarm setting and supports Bluetooth connectivity to smartphones.
It is ideal always to identify the best place to put this radon kit for effective results. However, the best part of this Radon Eye RD200 is that it can be placed anywhere and still gives accurate results.
- Data communication : Bluetooth le (android/ios)
- Power : dc 12 0.1V, 65Ma (12V dc adapter)
- Precision : < 10 percent water 10Pci/large
- Accuracy : < 10 percent (min. Error <0.5Pci/large )
- Display : 0.96 inch oled.Please use Bluetooth 4.0 & Android 4.3 or higher versions
4. Accustar Alpha Track Test Kit AT 100
This device is regarded as one of the best for detecting various types of radon gas within your homestead. It tracks the gas on the basis of diffusion by filtering out dust and radon scion via a structural filter.
This detector features a hemispherical base designed for maximizing sensitivity and creating consistent track distribution for ideal counting statistics.
It also features laser cut CR-39 sheets that are engraved with unique numbers with each calibrated and also receiving calibration factor independently.
Using this device is simple and gives you accurate testing results. You only need to remove the kit from a sealed purse then expose it to air for between 3 to 12 months.
This duration is enough to gather and determine the necessary radon concentration that would aid in providing the essential statistics.
In fact, this device is EPA-verified as an effective radon meter kit as well as rated as number one by a leading US National Consumer Advocacy Group.
- Easy Testing: Simply remove testing device from sealed pouch and expose to the air for 3 months to 1 year
- When test is completed, return to Lab in pre-addressed postage paid envelope along with enclosed data sheet
- Rated #1 by a leading National Consumer Advocacy Group. The U.S. EPA has verified this product for accurate radon measurement.
- Accustar Labs is the only Radon Testing Lab in the U.S. to use electrochemical etching to process its alpha track foils which are subsequently counted with computer-aided image analysis equipment.
- Includes Test Results & Prepaid Return Shipping to Lab.
5. Pro-Lab Long-Term Radon Gas Test Kit
This test kit is another radon tester that use Alpha Track technology which apparently lasts relatively longer between three to twelve months but provides accurate readings of radon gas.
This kit gives you the simplest experience for testing radon. Simply remove the cap and place the kit in an undisturbed area (avoid a direct sunlight) for 3 to 12 months.
Once the long-term test is complete, you put again the cap, fill out the data card and put it in the pre-paid envelope and you can send it back for your test result.to Pro–Lab.
And the best part of using this gadget is that the manufacturer provides results within 72 hours upon receiving it for lab assessment. Additionally, it’s listed under EPA Radon Gas Measurement Proficiency Program.
By the way, this is vital given that the emission of radon gas usually takes place during different times of the year.
- Safe and easy to use
- Alpha track technology
- Long term detection system
- $40 lab analysis fee required for lab results
- Provides an average radon level in your home or office over an extended period of time
How Do These Radon Gas Detectors Work?
Technically, the essence of the radon gas detector is to measure and point out the concentration of the poisonous gases in the air.
So it works in such a way that the detector measures the specific concentration of gas while the sensor response is acting as a reference scale.
This device can test the radon gas directly or the traces of radon’s radioactive decay.
Passive detectors are designed to trap this gas or its traces which are later taken for laboratory assessment. Active detectors on the other hand continuously detect and record this gas and its traces.
Some of detector like Safety Siren Pro Series3 has an alarm which goes on as a warning sign whenever the response of the sensor exceeds a particular pre-set level.
How to Install a Radon Detector
Installing a radon detector is a pretty simple DIY project that can go faster as long as you have the right tools.
The first thing to do is determining the right spot to place it. This depends specifically on the topography of the area. Also, it should be in a room where you spend most of your time.
Secondly, if your detector uses batteries, you need to confirm that it has batteries with relatively long lifespan. This is necessary since the gadget can take quite long when detecting the gas, you don’t want the device ran out of batteries while it still collecting data.
And ensure that you replace the batteries in any case you find out that they are drained.
Ideally, you should install the radon detectors into two possibly as a way of improving the efficiency of reading.
Aspects to Consider When Buying Radon Gas Tester
Given that currently we have a variety of products that can be used for testing radon, it would merely be ideal if you pick something good and valuable.
The interest is to determine the effective mitigation systems that would help in reducing the risk of carbon monoxide effects in your home.
Ordinarily, this is only possible if you’re familiar with these products. Otherwise, it becomes a little bit confusing.
But all the same, I’m here to guide you on how to do it. So let’s look at these factors one by one;
It is arguably one of the most fundamental elements to look in a home radon monitoring device. In most cases, the long-term radon test kits tend to be more accurate.
It is probably because the long-term radon sensor can test over an extended period. Therefore, it becomes easy to give comprehensive information regarding different seasons and weather.
Short-term radon monitor on the other hand majority provide a rough estimate to give you an idea of what the radon levels in that specific area could be.
The moment you can get accurate information from this tool, it becomes easy to make certain life-changing decisions based on the readings.
Experts recommend long term testing over short term testing of radon primarily because the former offers high accuracy levels than the latter.
User-error can also cause considerable inaccuracy in these test kits. It is thus essential that you carefully read and follow the instructions on the manual to avoid this kind of inaccuracy.
2. Usability Of Radon Testing Kit
This is necessary for ease of use. In most cases, these gadgets tend to require some technical knowledge especially if you want to understand the readings.
The other aspect that determines usability is whether or not you can be able to use them as required and get accurate results.
If you can’t use it correctly, then it would be vital to engage a professional who understands various elements regarding the tool.
this becomes important as a way of enhancing accuracy levels especially when it comes to detecting passive radon gas.
3. Ease of installation
It is also another critical factor that you have to look into when picking the best radon meter. The complexity of installing it inherently vary depending on the particular type.
Often, they come with user manuals that enable you to install them at accordingly for better results.
Due to some unavoidable technicalities, you may find other a little bit difficult to install. But still, to avoid possible tampering with the accuracy, it would be suitable to contact an expert and help you in fixing it where it is supposed to be.
It is also important to understand that you can only get better and more accurate results if you fix it in some particular spots within the homestead.
4. The price
Ultimately, you will have to purchase if you’re really in dire need of a digital radon meter. The cost, therefore, becomes a significant aspect to consider.
While the price varies depending on the type of radon test kit you’re purchasing, it is also essential to know the qualities that worth a particular test kit.
If you want one that typically offers basic short-term readings, the most appropriate one in regards to price is probably the charcoal radon kit detector.
They are inexpensive, easy to use and provide results within a short duration hence making it easy to solve your radon detection needs as quick as possible.
On the other hand, the long-term digital radon detector is usually a bit expensive. But the features and quality are indeed worth the cost.
So primarily, the amount you’d spend on acquiring this kit is determined by the particular type you’re interested in purchasing.
The Bottom Line
It is always essential to carry out radon tests in your home at least after every two years. This will make it easy for you always to ensure that you’re living within the EPA recommended radon levels.
For that to be possible, you have to purchase the best quality radon monitoring devices like the ones reviewed above. They have a reasonably long lifespan hence allowing you to test and retesting your home.
Furthermore, it ultimately becomes cheaper alternative if you’re always into testing and detecting radon levels in your home when you buy top radon alarm kits.
Hopefully, we’ve guided you into picking an ideal radon meter to help you in solving your needs and possibly give you the necessary peace of mind.