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When you are doing the 4-day test, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends the following test protocol, in order to get the most accurate results:

  1. 1)Close the windows and doors at least 12 hours before starting the test.

  2. 2)Keep the windows and doors closed for the duration of the test, except for normal entry and exit.

  3. 3)Do not conduct the 4-day (short term) test during severe storms or periods of high winds. This may skew the test results upward.

  4. 4)Follow the testing instructions and record the start time and date.

  5. 5)Place the test device(s) at least 20 inches above the floor in a location where it will not be disturbed and where it will be away from drafts, high heat, high humidity, and exterior walls.

  6. 6)Leave the test kit in place for as long as the test instructions say.

  7. 7)Once the test is finished, record the stop time and date, reseal the device and return it immediately to the lab specified on the package for analysis.

    So why does anybody use a professional radon technician for their test if do-it-yourself is relatively simple? There’s actually two good reasons:

  1. 1)TIME - Take  the 4 days for the test, add 3 days for the canisters to arrive at Pro-Lab by first class mail, plus 7 days for normal lab turnaround, and you’ve got a total of 14 days from start to finish. Most inspection periods are 10 to 14 days, so you would have to place your test canister in the home immediately after signing the sale contract and hope that nothing takes longer than it should to get it done within the 14-day inspection period. Paying the rush processing charge and sending the canisters by overnight express cuts it back to 9 days, if you have a 10-day inspection period, but raises the cost to about $95.
        A professional radon test with an electronic monitor takes 2 days and you have the results same day of completion of test for between $100 and $160.

  2. 2)TAMPERING -  No test device is totally tamper-proof, but the test canisters are extremely vulnerable to fudging by both sides of the deal. The seller can open the windows during the test or place the canisters outside for awhile to reduce the final test number, and the buyer can open the canisters somewhere else for several days before the beginning of the test to increase the test result. Electronic radon monitors keep track of temperature and humidity changes, sense when a door or window is opened and when it is closed, take hourly radon readings, and also note if the machine has been moved. We always tell the seller about the tamper-resistant features before we start a test, but some can’t resist “accidentally” opening the windows for a few hours—which voids the test.

    If you are confident that the seller will not tamper with the test, and you have a 14-day inspection period or longer, a do-it-yourself radon test will save you money. Otherwise, testing by a professional is the way to go.

While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
© McGarry and Madsen Inspection

More Blog Posts on Safety Subjects:

  1. What is radon? Should I be concerned about it in Gainesville?

  2. This house has been empty and closed-up for months. Will the radon test come back sky-high?

  3. What are a homebuyer’s options when the radon test comes back high (4.0 pico-curies/liter or more)?

  4. How can I tell if a house has a radon mitigation system?

  5. How was it determined that between 15,000 and 22,000 lung cancer deaths each year are caused by radon?

  6. Should homeowners get a pre-listing radon test before selling their home?

  7. Can a mobile/manufactured home have a high radon problem?

  8. Will opening the windows reduce the radon level in a house?

  9. What is radon? Should I be concerned about it?

  10. How long does it take to get the results of a radon test?

  11. Can the seller tamper with a homebuyer’s radon test to change the results?

  12. Is the electric panel big enough for this house?

  13. Why do you pay so much attention to electrical safety?

  14. Why does that wall plug have push-buttons in the middle?

  15. What do you look for when inspecting stairs?

  16. How do I remove cigarette odor in a house?

  17. What do you check when you inspect an electric garage door?

  18. Do you check the wall plugs?

  19. How can not testing for radon be an expensive mistake for homebuyers?

  20. What is the danger or radon in well water?

  21. What are the warning signs of a dangerous attic pull-down ladder?

  22. Can stormy weather change the radon in a house?

  23. Do older houses have higher radon levels than new houses?

  24. What is the operating cost of a radon mitigation system?

  25. Should I buy a house with a radon mitigation system?

  26. Is radon mitigation possible for a condominium?

Radon Testing


in Metro Gainesville

48-hour test, results same
day of test completion



when done at same
time as  home inspection