Radon

radon testing with an electret EPERM from RadElec

Northern Illinois has some of the highest levels of radon. Have Indoor Science do radon testing in your Chicago area home, office or daycare center by calling us at (312) 920-9393.

What is radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring soil gas that causes lung cancer. Unfortunately, radon is colorless and odorless so the only way to know if you have high concentrations is to perform a test. Some areas in Illinois are known to have higher natural concentrations than others, but everyone is encouraged to test.  You can read our blog post on “Why Should I Test My Home for Radon?” if you need more convincing.  In that article you’ll learn that your risk of getting lung cancer from radon is about the same risk of dying in a car crash if your levels are at 4 picoCuries/liter. You wear a seat-belt and you should test your home, school or office for radon.

Radon comes into your building through small cracks and crevices in the foundation or through openings for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing services.

 

How do you test for radon?

Radon is a radioactive gas and requires special testing instrumentation.  Indoor Science is licensed by Illinois to perform testing via electrets and continuous radon monitors.

For single-family residential homes, we place one or more devices in the lowest occupied area.  This is often a basement, but it could be on the ground floor of a home built with a “slab on grade” foundation or above a crawlspace.  If your home has a combination of a basement, crawl space, and slab, we will need to test multiple areas in the home.

For multifamily residential buildings, there are special rules that apply in Illinois.  All ground floor units must be tested in Illinois. Industry standards from HUD and AARST require that 10% of upper floors be tested too.

For commercial buildings, a minimum of one detector shall be placed per every 2000 square feet of open floor area according to state rules.

 

 

Where do you take your readings?

There are very specific rules for where radon devices can be placed.  Here are some details from our state-approved quality assurance program:

  • At least 3 feet from doors, windows to the outside, or ventilation ducts
  • Out of the direct flow of air from the ventilation duct
  • At least 1 foot from exterior walls
  • 20 inches to 6 feet from the floor
  • At least 4 inches away from other objects horizontally or vertically above the detector
  • At least 4 feet from heat, fireplaces and furnaces, out of direct sunlight, etc.
  • At least 7 feet from sump pits

Questions? Call us now at 312.920.9393

 

How long does radon testing take?

Illinois mandates that radon testing be performed for at least 48 hours. Indoor Science offers both short term and long term testing. By far the most common test we perform is a short term test for 48 hours.  We typically provide a report within 3 business days of completing the test, but we could get you results as quickly as same-day if you select an expedited service.

Short-term testing is for 2-90 days, with most tests lasting a week or less. Because radon levels can fluctuate throughout the year, you may want to consider a long-term test lasting up to 1 year.

Your safest bet is to do both a short-term and long-term test. The short-term radon test will identify any immediate risk. The long-term radon test will help identify intermittent problems that may not be discovered during a short-term test. Call us at (312) 920-9393 to discuss which testing duration is best for you.

 

 

Can’t I just test it myself?

Sure! You can purchase a home test kit at most local hardware stores and do it yourself. If you hire Indoor Science to do your radon testing, we typically test a minimum of 4 locations and use more advanced technology only available to professionals. We test multiple locations because there can be problems in corners of the property that may not be picked up if only measuring in the center of the room.  Also, our professional-grade devices integrate the radon concentration throughout the entire analysis unlike those available at the hardware store. We go through a 30 point inspection checklist to ensure the highest accuracy of the test results.  If doing the test yourself, you may not know the preferred thermostat setting for the duration of the test or how to handle outdoor air ventilation.

 

What if my radon test levels are high?

If our radon testing results in elevated levels, we can help.  First, we need to define elevated levels. Both EPA and the State of Illinois define elevated radon as concentrations at or above 4 picoCuries/liter (pCi/L). If you are at or above this “action level”, you should install a radon mitigation system.

We do not install these systems because we view it as a conflict of interest.  If we sold the mitigation systems, we would have a financial interest in you failing the test results. If you do have elevated levels, we can connect you with Illinois licensed mitigation contractors that we are comfortable recommending.

 

What does radon testing cost?

Give us a call at (312) 920-9393 and describe some basic details about your concerns.  After talking for a few minutes, we will be able to provide you with a customized quote over the phone.

To get a quick quote, give us a call at (312) 920-9393.