DIY Radon Testing

What are the test kit limitations ?

Please be aware that some some big-box store and hardware store test kits do NOT include lab fees which are extra ($15-$40) and some include pre-paid shipping fees back to the lab. Those that do usually use the least expensive method which takes the longest time; this can invalidate the test results. The "short-term kit" shipping alone can cost up to  $73.04 or more for  necessary Fed. Ex. , Purolator or Canada  Post Priority ($73.04) shipping to the US on top of the short-term  test kit costs and lab fee!  These test kits must be returned and analyzed quickly. (i.e. within a few days)

Some test kits charge an extra fee ($10-15) for quicker processing!  Obtaining your results may also take up to three or four weeks! 

Nearly ALL test kits, especially those available on the Internet or at big box stores, may require you send the test to a US-based lab, thereby necessitating extra declaration paperwork and a US Customs inspection which can slow down the process significantly. Popular Pro-lab kits may forward the exposed kit to Mississauga, Woodbridge or Vaughn ON before forwarding to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. This all takes valuable time!  My AT-100's already have the necessary Customs  information on the envelope and shipping to the US lab in Massachusettes is included via Canada Post Small Package Airmail. 

Also, short-term test kits or radon instrument must also be appropriately placed in the home under strict "closed-house" test conditions for 12 hours prior to and during the test period.. Test kits can vary in the details they include in this setup. This is not necessary for LT tests.

Some charcoal-based test kits (without diffusion barriers) are prone to humidity and should not be used when the humidity gets above 80%.  These test kits can absorb moisture thereby giving inaccurate values. Examples inclde Kiddie 442020, RTCA 4 Pass Charcoal Cannister, and the Accustar Charcoal Cannister. Average annual morning humidity for London, ON is 86%. (Environment Canada 2010 data)

Lifestar.com reported that Consumer Reports found that Kiddie and \Accustar CLS100i ST kits underreported the radon gas concentration by 40%.

My Accustar AT-100 Long-Term Test Kits (pictured here) do not have these limitations.

 
What if I don’t want a professional measurement ?  Can I measure radon gas myself ?      Yes !   

 If you choose to measure radon gas yourself with a kit * available at hardware/big box stores or from the Internet, please read the section on the limitations of these kits (especially the short-term ones) before you purchase one.  Many consumers have been severely disappointed after buying these. Also read the big-box [Home Depot] store reviews on these products 
                                                   Caveat emptor - Buyer beware ! 

I completed (March 2016) a short-term test for a client who had purchased a big-box-hardware store long-term radon test (90+ days) kit and received the result of over 600 Bq/m3 (3x Health Canada's limit!) from the lab in Florida. He was ready to have an estimate for installation of a mitigation system. However, he wisely decided to have me come in and re-test and verify the level before spending upwards of $2500 for a system when he already had an operational HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilator) in place. The result of my ST testing was less than 100 Bq/m3 (1/2 of Health Canada's Guideline) using a Continuous Radon Monitor.  He will follow up with one of my Long Term DIY test kits (Accustar AT-100) next fall and winter. The moral of this true story is - if in doubt as to the validity of the measurement with some of the "store-bought" kits, please call me to get your house re-tested before you decide on a mitigation system. With high radon levels, Health Canada recommends mitigation within 1-2 years of a high value.  I am NOT involved in mitigation so I will give you an unbiased test result.

 If you do decide on a DIY test, I do offer for sale, a long-term (91-365 day) test kit (Accustar AT-100) at a competitive price   ($49.95 + HST + shipping to you at cost if needed) for “Do-It-Yourself” testing. This  product  is the NUMBER ONE rated long term-detector in Consumer Reports 2014, 2015  and 2016 and is widely used in Canada and the US by both professionals and consumers. The price INCLUDES the  LAB ANALYSIS  and AIR MAIL SHIPPING to the US (Massachusettes) lab and a report of results (email or on-line to you usually within three weeks).  I also get a copy of the report so I can discuss the results with you (email or phone) if needed. This LT test can be easily set up by anyone and detailed instructions are included. A Customs declaration is already pre-printed on the return envelope.  If interested in ordering one of these, please email me ([email protected]), give me a call at 519-709-0673, fill in the “Request More Information" form  (My Services section) or order directly from my "Web Store" (on my website www.radondetectionlondon.ca ). As with nearly all Internet-sourced detectors, shipping to the customer is EXTRA. I use Canada Post Expedited parcel shipping because it is expedient but reasonably priced (My "Venture One" pricing is approximately $12.00-$14.00  for shipping within Canada; the higher rate is for some small towns with a postal code starting with N0x xxx). Please note that Canada Post shipping includes a base rate, + fuel surcharge + HST.

I would strongly advise that you avoid retail short-term testing kits and leave the short-term measurement up to me or other professionals.  See why in the explanation - What are the test kit limitations ?

* See Consumer Reports 2014, 2015 and 2016 for information and ratings on homeowner-purchased radon test kits. 








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