Home Buyer's and Seller's Guide to Radon is a publication by the Environmental Protection Agency. Used with permission under public domain and creative commons. Usage: Category Education; License: Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)
On this page: How Can I Get Reliable Radon Test Results?
Radon testing is easy and the only way to find out if you have a radon problem in your home.
a. Types of Radon [Testing] Devices. Since you cannot see or smell radon, special equipment is needed to detect it. When you're ready to test your home, you can order a radon test kit by mail from a qualified radon measurement services provider or laboratory. You can also hire a qualified radon tester, very often a home inspector, who will use a radon device(s) suitable to your situation. The most common types of radon testing devices are listed below. As new testing devices are developed, you may want to check with your state radon office before you test to get the most up-to-date information.
Passive [Radon Testing] Devices. Passive radon testing devices do not need power to function. These include charcoal canisters, alpha-track detectors, charcoal liquid scintillation devices, and electret ion chamber detectors, which are available in hardware, drug, and other stores; they can also be ordered by mail or phone. These devices are exposed to the air in the home for a specified period of time and then sent to a laboratory for analysis. Both short-term and long-term passive devices are generally inexpensive. Some of these devices may have features that offer more resistance to test interference or disturbance than other passive devices. Qualified radon testers may use any of these devices to measure the home's radon level.