Radon comes into your building through small cracks and crevices in the foundation or through openings for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing services. Have Indoor Science do radon testing in your Chicago area home, daycare center, or other building type 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. The EPA has published a map of radon hot spots, but everyone is encouraged to test. 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.
How is radon testing done?
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, many states require special rules. For instance, all ground floor units must be tested and industry standards from HUD and AARST require that 10% of upper floors be tested too.
For commercial buildings, many states require a minimum of one detector shall be placed per every 2000 square feet of open floor area.
Another requirement is for daycare centers where many states require a test every 3 years when renewing daycare licenses. Tests must be performed in each individual classroom. These tests must be performed by radon professionals with a special license from IEMA, which Indoor Science holds.
Where do you take your readings?
There are very specific rules for where radon devices can be placed. Here are some details from our regulatory-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
How long does radon testing take?
Some states mandate 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 or slightly longer. 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 officially defined as being for 2-90 days, but most tests last a week or less (with 2 days being the most common). Because radon levels can fluctuate throughout the year, you may want to consider a long-term test lasting up to 1 year or performing a test during different times of the year (e.g. in the summer and winter).
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 bathroom exhaust fans, fireplaces, attic ventilation, or outdoor air intakes. As the second leading cause of lung cancer we recommend to keep testing to a professional like Indoor Science.
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. The EPA 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.
What makes Indoor Science different?
We specialize in indoor environmental problems. Sure, a home inspector can add radon to the list of 100 other things they are checking during a 2-hour inspection. But as specialists, we take our time and do a radon inspection to ensure all the proper testing conditions are met.
We can provide quick results as our devices do not require waiting for results from an out-of-state laboratory.
Finally, we are licensed by the state to work in all building types- condos, daycare centers, schools, multifamily buildings, commercial offices, and more. Most radon testing companies haven’t been approved to work in buildings any more complex than a single-family home. If you are ready to commit, give us a call at (312) 920-9393 or fill out our Get a Quote form.
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