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Radon is a colorless, odorless, invisible gas that’s a natural result of the breakdown of other materials in soil.  It’s also (according to the sometimes accurate Wikipedia) responsible for around 20,000 deaths each year in the United States (and another 20,000 in the EU) via lung cancer.

Doomsaying aside, it’s really easy to test your home for Radon gas — and it’s nowhere near as difficult to clean up as mold should you find you’ve got a problem.  You can pick up a test kit like the one pictured above at most stores that carry hardware of any kind.  Generally, these kits have you take samples from around your home, then send the samples to a certified lab using an included return mail envelope.  You receive the lab results in a few weeks.

The pictured test kit is currently available at Lowe’s for $16, though we found a ton of them on Froogle as well — though somewhat more expensive.  Target even stocks  one.

In some areas EPA grants have made free kits availble to specific states, counties, and municipalities.  Contact your local office for more information — or just be lazy and pick up your own.

Kidde Radon Test Kit [Lowe’s]
Street Pricing [Froogle]


One Response to Finds: Radon Test Kits

  1. Myself says:

    Charcoal canisters are a decent short-term test, but they’re not tremendously accurate. If you can remember to send in an Alpha-track after 6 months, the results are more accurate and they’re just as cheap as charcoal cans.

    Neither of the above are suitable in a real-estate transaction of course, where the homeowner has incentive to tamper with the test and make sure it produces a nice low result. In such cases, you want a “continuous radon monitor” which also records temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and movement. If someone carries it outside or opens the windows for 40 of the 48 hours, you’ll see it on the results! CRMs go for a few grand, so just have your home inspector use his.

    As for testing your own home, yes, charcoal cans are a great way to start. Hit http://www.epa.gov/radon/ for more info. Do it now! What you don’t know can irradiate you. 😉

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