How Does Cold Affect Radon Results?

Hi, I have a Sun Nuclear 1028 deployed in a vacant house, in which the furnace does not work. It’s cold in Virginia today. Does the cold affect the results by changing air pressure or something else? How can I determine the validity of the results? Thanks, Paul

what does your manual for the 1028 say?

Cold temperatures in a vacant home with a furnace that doesn’t work increases the **results **if you use a charcoal test because charcoal bakes off some of the radon in the cannister as temperatures increase.

Cold weather outside generally increases the levels in an occupied home because the occupants are more likely to keep the doors and windows closed and the furnace draws a vacuum on the home pulling in more radon.

Note that I made a distinction between test results and actual levels.

EMSL requires their Radon canisters to maintain a minimum 60f degrees for the duration of the testing period for it to be a valid test.

From page 49 of the Sun Nuclear 1028 users guide…
Operating Environment • 45 to 95° F (7 to 35° C)
• 20 to 80% relative humidity, non-condensing
Storage Environment • –22 to 122° F (–30 to 50° C)
• 10 to 90% relative humidity, non-condensing

You are not following the protocol and you should not be testing a house with no heat. This would be an invalid test.

Protocol - Operate the home’s heating and cooling systems normally during the test

Temperature, pressure and humidity will affect the test.

David, you are incorrect. While it does say to operate the HVAC systems normally, it does not say the HVAC MUST be ran. It does not void the test. Also, define “normally”. That is very subjective.
Many laws regarding protocol are written too vague.
I might think normally is only operate the furnace if it only gets below 55* while another might consider normally is 60*.
I would love to hear some more thoughts on this. In ohio I feel the laws are hard to understand sometimes and written to vaguely.

I agree with Matt… I am sure that there are many days in a year in Virginia where neither the heat or air conditioning are running.

Thanks, as always, guys. I just wondered if I saw some variations in the hourly print out, say at night, when it may be colder in the house, I should see some specific expected variation of radon levels due to the cold. Paul

Talk to Chuck Mcracken at the OHIO Dept of health about the protocol. I just prefer to run the heat or air if I can as I feel temperature, pressure (high winds) and humidity affect the test.

You are right I am incorrect from my OP as it states in the QA/QP the HVAC can be operated normally.