So, you’re thinking about getting a radon test and are stuck between buying an at-home “Do-It-Yourself” (DIY) radon test versus hiring out a professional radon test. There are several key differences you will want to be aware of before you make a choice. We’ll do our best to outline some of the pros and cons and things to consider when making a decision.
First, if you choose a DIY test, you will likely be purchasing a charcoal canister or plastic alpha track detector. These kits cost about $25-$50; sometimes shipping to and from your home is included, sometimes it’s not. The professionals will usually use what’s called a continuous radon monitor (CRM) and will charge you about $150.00. These CRMs are expensive for the pros, costing them about $800 and up (the ones we use are $1299.00/ea). But, as they say, you get what you pay for.
So, what are some other differences?
Well, the DIY tests will just give you 1 result, while the professional monitors will provide 48 radon readings (one each hour) plus the average result. The professional tests will also show you the temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure readings for each of the 48 radon readings. This information can be valuable when determining what time of day radon is highest, and what environmental factors may be playing a role. You won’t get this with the DIY home radon kits. Another benefit of professional radon testing is that you will get the results instantly when the monitor is picked up. With the DIY tests, you have to ship it back to a lab and wait at least 3-7 days on average.
One more big difference to mention: Reputable radon testing companies will always have a trained and certified professional place the monitor in your home and review the readings. The training required to become a residential measurement provider is extensive and the test is not easy. The two major certification providers are the National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) and the National Radon Safety Board (NRSB.) Training covers the geology and physics surrounding radon, EPA standards, health issues, and much more. Training also covers where and how to place the radon monitors/test kits to ensure homeowners get the most accurate readings. Additionally, continuing education is required as part of maintaining certification.
For all the reasons mentioned above, we recommend hiring a professional to complete a radon test in your home. But, if you don’t have the budget for this, a DIY radon test is certainly better than nothing! If you live in Northern Colorado, you can schedule a test with us instantly online.