Buying a new home? Here’s how & why you need to measure radon

radon measuring kits
Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that comes from the natural decay of uranium in rocks and soil. Without proper testing, you don’t know how much radon you are breathing in at any given time. If you’re in the market for a new home, it’s essential to know about radon. Besides, radon is a carcinogen that experts have named the second-highest cause of lung cancer. It can also come from water sources like wells or showers. If you want to buy a new home, you must get an estimate for your home’s radon level before signing any papers.


Hire a Professional Tester

Radon comes from uranium deposits deep underground, and it seeps up through cracks in floors or walls to accumulate inside houses. There are no symptoms of radon exposure—you won’t feel anything until you get sick years later. The only way to know if you have high radon levels in your home is to test for it. If you buy a new home, hire a professional tester before signing the contract. A professional will come out with special equipment to measure how much radon there is in your house, usually while you are not at home.

Radon testing costs $100-$200 depending on where you live and what kind of test you need; most tests cost less than $200. If you buy a house with an existing basement, the seller may have already had it tested. But if they haven’t, you still need to get your test to know what radon level is in the home before you buy it.


Buy Radon Test Kits


Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas. You measure this gas in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). The Gov UK recommends testing for radon in any home you occupy, including new construction, before it’s sold or rented. Radon test kits that will help you measure radon levels at your own home cost about £58 and take only 2 minutes to complete. You open the kit and shake out the contents onto a sheet of paper placed on a table or floor.

Then you wait 10-15 minutes for radon’s progeny to form tracks on the paper from where they scattered when they hit it during their short flight through the atmosphere following their release from uranium atoms in soil, rock, or water inside your house. After waiting, you compare the tracks to a scale printed on the kit package. The scale ranges from zero to four or five, depending on which test kit you use. You can buy one at your local hardware, home improvement, or kitchen supply store. You can also buy radon test kits online from companies like Radonova.


Use a Radon Detector

radon measuring kits

Radon can enter homes through cracks in the foundation or floors, and it is essential to measure radon levels before buying a home. A radon detector is an easy way to measure radon levels in your home. The detector will show you how much radiation is getting emitted from the soil and help you decide whether to buy the house. Radon detectors are available online or at hardware stores, and they are easy to use.

You place the detector in a designated area for a specific amount of time. It is essential to stay out of the room while the detector is working to measure your radon safely. Radon detectors are inexpensive, and they will give you valuable information about your home. The safest way to measure radon is to stay out of the house while the detector is working.


Electronic Sniffer


You can use an electronic sniffer to measure the radon levels in the home before you buy it. The electronic sniffer will tell you how much radon is in the air and whether it is safe for you to live there. A simple test with an electronic sniffer will detect whether radon levels are high enough to be of concern for you and your family’s safety. To find out if the property has elevated radon levels, plug in the electronic detector after turning off all fans and air conditioning units for at least one hour so that any gases created by these appliances will have dissipated.

The electronic detector will measure radon levels and give you a reading based on the amount of risk posed to your health within 24 hours. For homes with deficient levels of radon, no action is necessary. However, if elevated levels get detected, you should reduce the problem, such as venting the gas from home or sealing the foundation.


Geiger Counter


A Geiger counter is a device used to measure the amount of radiation in an area. You can consider using this device to measure radon levels before buying a home. To use a Geiger counter to measure radon levels, first ensure it gets proper calibrations. Next, hold the Geiger counter close to the ground’s surface and slowly move it around until you find an area with high levels of radiation.

Record these readings to know how much radon is in your home. You should measure the radon levels in different parts of your home for the most accurate measurements. You should then take these readings to a professional to find out if they are safe or not.


Bottom Line


Radon is a radioactive gas that seeps out of the ground and can make its way into homes, schools, and other buildings. It’s invisible and odorless—so you don’t know it’s there until it has already caused damage to your lungs. And once radon gets into your body, it never leaves; in fact, prolonged exposure could increase your risk of lung cancer. That means that measuring radon levels in your home should be one of the first things you do after buying or renting a new place.

Other Resources

UK National Radon Action Plan

Review and update of occupancy factors for UK homes

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