Radon Test For Your Home


Let’s get back to testing your home for radon to ensure the health and safety of your family. As we discussed in earlier posts, Health Canada recommends a 90 day test. This is considered a long-term test and uses 3 types of test devices.

3.1 Devices for Long-Term Measurements

3.1.1 Alpha Track Detector

These detectors use a small piece of special plastic or film inside a container with a filter-covered opening. Air being tested diffuses (passive detector) or is pumped (active detector) through a filter covering a hole in the container. When alpha particles from radon and its decay products strike the detector, they cause damage tracks. At the end of the test period the container is sealed and returned to a laboratory for reading. The radon exposure duration of an alpha track detector is usually 1 to 12 months.

3.1.2 Electret Ion Chamber

This device consists of a special plastic canister (ion chamber) containing an electrostatically charged disk detector (electret). The detector is exposed during the measurement period, allowing radon to diffuse through a filter-covered opening into the chamber. Ionization resulting from the decay of radon produces a reduction in the charge on the electret. The drop in voltage on the electret is related to the radon concentration. The detectors may be read in the home using a special analysis device to measure the voltage or mailed to a laboratory for analysis. This type of detector may be deployed for 1 to 12 months.

3.1.3 Digital Detector

This detector plugs into a standard wall outlet much like a consumer carbon monoxide detector, and continuously monitors for radon. It is a passive device based on an ion chamber. It allows the homeowner to make radon measurements in different areas of the home. After being plugged in for an initial period of 48 hours, the device displays the average radon concentration continuously.

In my next posts, I will show you what these devices look like.


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