Radon comes from the natural radioactive decay of radium and uranium found in the soil. The amount of radon in the soil depends on soil chemistry, which varies from one house to the next. Radon is a natural radioactive gas that you can’t see, smell, or taste. It’s easy to ignore, but it could be present in your home, school, or office. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer deaths in the U.S., claiming about 20,000 lives annually, or slightly more than two every hour. The current data for Kansas indicates that one in every four homes may have elevated levels. The only way to know if you have a radon problem is to test.

General Procedure for Testing

There are two basic categories of devices used for testing radon: passive and continuous. Passive devices, like open-faced charcoal devices, are left in the home for 2-3 days. Once the test is complete, the devices must be sent to a designated lab for analysis. Though the passive devices are approved by the EPA and generally less expensive, the devices do not give a true integrating measurement over the exposure time and have been found to be biased toward the last 12-24 hours of the test. This can be problematic as the radon levels in a home fluctuate significantly throughout the testing period. The graph below is an example of the hourly levels of radon from a recent test over a 24 hour period. 

Continuous devices are the second category of measuring devices. The most popular continuous monitors use a solid state silicon detector to collect real-time radon levels in the home. For a short-term test, the continuous monitor is left in the home for 2-3 days and then an average is calculated from the hourly readings. The major advantages of the continuous monitors over the passive devices is that they provide specific radon levels throughout the testing period and the average radon level can be immediately generated at the end of the test. There’s no waiting for the shipping and lab analysis.

Action from Test Results

The amount of radon in the air is measured in picocuries per liter of air or pCi/L.  The average indoor radon level is estimated to be about 1.3 pCi/L, and about 0.4 pCi/L of radon is normally found in the outside air. The EPA recommends that action should be taken to reduce radon levels in a home if the measured level is higher than 4.0 pCi/L. The primary method of radon reduction (or mitigation) involves the installation of an air ventilation system.

The Rigler Home Inspections Advantage

For real estate transactions, Rigler Home Inspections utilizes an advanced  continuous radon monitor for radon testing. Unlike many other radon testing companies who use entry level continuous monitors, the advanced monitors used by Rigler Home Inspections have two silicon detectors for twice the sensitivity. This provides twice the number of readings in the same 2-3 day testing period. The device also measures temperature, barometric pressure, and relative humidity throughout the testing period to ensure the validity of the test. Lastly, Rigler Home Inspections conducts testing only—not mitigation. Therefore, we have no financial bias toward the results of the test. You can be assured the initial test will not be artificially elevated to encourage mitigation or the post-mitigation test artificially lowered to demonstrate proper installation. If you have further questions or would like to schedule a digital radon test of your current home or the home you are considering buying, feel free to call or email today.


Rigler Home Inspections

Hays, KS

(785) 656-0272



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