There are two types of radon tests based on the time taken to complete these tests. They are;
- Short term tests
- Long term tests
Short term radon tests
Short-term tests are the simplest, fastest, and cheapest test to run. All you need to do is buy a test kit, put it where you want to get the reading, and after 48 hours, send it to the lab to get the results.
But short-term test kits are not that accurate. This is because they read the radon levels of your home only for a few days. Radon levels are affected by seasons and many other factors. Radon levels are pretty high during the winter season since your house is closed up as opposed to summer, where there is more air circulation in the house. So if you do short-term testing during the summer season, the levels will be much lower than they are in winter. So short-term tests are only used to quickly assess the radon levels; it is the long-term kits that give you more accurate results.
Short-term radon tests are usually done with charcoal-based kits. They are inexpensive and are available in hardware stores as well as online marketplaces.
Long term radon tests
Long-term radon tests are expensive as compared to short-term tests. However, they are also accurate and give you more detailed information about the radon levels in your home. They take somewhere from a couple of months to a whole year, depending on what part of the home you want testing done and the type of radon test kit you prefer.
Long-term tests are usually done using alpha track test kits. They have a foil inside, on which the alpha particles released by the decay of radon atoms create tracks. The radon levels are assessed based on the number of such tracks formed. They are inexpensive, just like short-term test kits.
Once the testing is complete, these detectors are sent to the lab for analyzing the sample. The samples travel to the lab by courier service. You can get the test results within a day, depending on the service provider you opted to use.
Should I do a long-term test or a short-term test?
Start with a short-term test if testing for radon in your home for the first time. A short-term test help to quickly assess the radon levels in your home. This helps to install a mitigation system immediately without prolonging the risks if the levels are unsafe.
While doing the short-term test, do the long-term test as well. A Long-term test should be run for a minimum of 90-days, and it will give you the average annual radon level in your home. As radon levels can vary depending on the seasons and the frequency of use of HVAC systems, it is important to do a long-term radon test even if the short-term test levels show your home is safe.
How long does a radon test take?
The duration of the test depends on the type of testing conducted. A short-term radon test takes anywhere from two to seven days to complete, whereas a long-term tests take more than ninety days and up to one year.