Radon is a cancer-causing radioactive gas. The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. The National Academy of Sciences estimates that radon causes between 15,000 and 22,000 lung cancer deaths each year.
The U.S. Geological Survey shows central Virginia to be a moderate to high potential zone for elevated radon gas levels. Health risks for radon gas are far greater than for mold, asbestos, or other popular environmental concerns. It is prudent to test for radon when purchasing a home.
Real estate testing is for a minimum of 48 hours and usually not longer than 6 days. I utilize electronic monitors which are placed during the inspection (or several days prior if desired.) Results are known when the radon monitor is retrieved. A written report is transmitted by email that same evening.
Short term (real estate) testing requires closed-house conditions which primarily include: keeping windows shut, closing doors as one enters or leaves the home, and not operating intake or exhaust fan equipment. Use heat or air conditioning equipment as desired. A better test is derived if the seller initiates closed-house conditions 12 hours prior to testing. Radon monitoring equipment must never be tampered with.
I am required to be re-certified every 2 years. Each of my 4 electronic monitors is calibrated every year.
I cannot test without permission from the seller, usually obtained via a contingency for a radon test within your purchase agreement. A certified test is required for real estate contract negotiations.
The fee for certified radon testing is $150. You are always free to test on your own (a non-certified test). Radon test kits are reliable and usually available at your building supply store or on-line for about $50.
For further information about Radon, go to epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq