Radon test without AC

I’ve inspected a number of homes recently that didn’t have air conditioning. None have wanted to do a radon test, but it got me to thinking. I don’t recall this being addressed in my certification training…

What is the protocol for testing radon in an occupied home that doesn’t have Air Conditioning in the summer? It doesn’t seem reasonable to ask the occupants to bake for the benefit of the test, nor does it seem reasonable to test with the windows open. Anyone run into this, and know what the protocol is?

Without closed house conditions the 48 hour test is meaningless.

No different than a house with CAC or even window rattlers. Open windows will invalidate any short term test result.


The sellers escrow enough to cover mitigation and test when the old folks have moved out. (It seems to always be older people that do not have AC)

Agreed… I think I mentioned that.

So the protocol is the same as always…either closed house conditions are maintained or the test isn’t taken.

I don’t see anyway around it unless you want to provide window A/C.:wink:

I use kits from AirChek. They say that in addition to closed house conditions, the temperature inside must be between 60 and 80 (I think that’s the range).

Test in the basement, if there is one.

Of course - that is where testing should occur first, and any other habitable room above a crawlspace or on a slab should be tested.

As far as open windows- no way can it be a minimum 48. That’s only when ideal closed building conditions have been followed.

If the client can have an extension of a week and a few days then you could possibly test like that - i think it also must be in 4 hour intervals ( if using CRMS)

Some of the rules may change.

I say that a homes radon levels should be tested before listing it. By an un-biased third party of course.

When all else fail and we must test I normally find a suitable room to test in and isolate that room for the 48 hours. Its not perfect but if its high there, a reasonable assumption is that it would be even higher if closed house conditions were met for the same period. Conversely, if the result comes back very low there is no guarantee that the home would test low as a whole.

I almost always test in basements with 2 simultaneous devices and do a screening on the first floor with a single device. This gives a better picture.

As for testing before a sale you might want to read my blog on this issue:


All wall/ceiling openings must remain CLOSED for the entire testing period.

If the Sellers don’t want to bake for the benefit of the test, then simply recommend that the Buyers request a that contingency be placed in their contract stating “Pending Radon Results”. This basically allows the Buyers to test Radon levels (after purchasing the home) and tells the Sellers that if the Radon numbers are too high (4.0 pCi/L or above), that they agree to help with the cost of mitigating.

Not following protocol ONLY means that 4.0 pCi/L is no longer the “Action Level”.
In case some of you don’t know, <4.0 pCi/L is NOT “SAFE”.
It is the level that has been determined which we can all reach in the lower 48 states with mitigation.

EPA states <4.0 pCi/L is not “safe”.
“Any amount (of unecessissary radiation) is too much”.

Put it in a basement as Peter said, or in a closet (closed).

The test is published as “forever changing”.
In your test report, simply report the coditions of the test and the results.
You could still have a 20 pCi/l result with the windows opened.
You still need for it to be fixed.

You just can’t say it needs fixing at 4.01 pCi/L.
It may be actually higher or lower, you can’t tell.

If it is .30 pCi/L, just report it and advise further testing in cooler weather.

Or better yet refer them to the local bed and breakfast :slight_smile:

You shouldn’t be doing any testing without proper training.

Wow, thanks for that insight Darren… Don’t know what we would do without sound advice like that.

lol Mark… I was waiting to see your comment on that one. :slight_smile:

Yea, what part of “I don’t recall it being address during my certification training…” did he miss?

Maybe he was talking to me. lol

Recommend a long term test with escrow reserve.

On the 4.0, here’s what I tell em. (I use the RadaLink AirCats)

Report Attached (Click the link on the “Attachments” Page of this report to see the full radon report.)

The Radon Measurement test showed:
2.5 average level
3.8 highest level
1.2 lowest level
(all measurements in pico curies per liter of air)

The EPA’s website at: http://www.epa.gov/radon/healthrisks.html , states:
"The average radon concentration in the indoor air of America’s homes is about 1.3 pCi/L. It is upon this level that EPA based its estimate of 20,000 radon-related lung cancers a year upon. It is for this simple reason that EPA recommends that Americans consider fixing their homes when the radon level is between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L. "
“Unfortunately, many Americans presume that because the action level is 4 pCi/L, a radon level of less than 4 pCi/L is “safe”. This perception is altogether too common in the residential real estate market. In managing any risk, we should be concerned with the greatest risk. For most Americans, their greatest exposure to radon is in their homes; especially in rooms that are below grade (e.g., basements), rooms that are in contact with the ground and those rooms immediately above them.”

The EPA’s " Home Buyer’s & Seller’s Guide to Radon" states
“Radon levels less than 4 pCi/L still pose a risk and, in many cases, may be reduced.”
“Short-term tests can be used to decide whether to reduce the home’s high radon levels. However, the closer the short-term testing result is to 4 pCi/L, the less certainty there is about whether the home’s year-round average is above or below that level. Keep in mind that radon levels below 4 pCi/L still pose some risk and that radon levels can be reduced to 2 pCi/L or below in most homes.”

Use your own best judgment and desire for safe living. Only you can choose what level of risk to expose your family too.

That’s some good verbiage Erby! I don’t put all that in my reports, but I do basically instruct my clients verbally of this information because I feel its important. I also tell them that in their real estate transaction, while they can ask for anything, it’s customary in our area to ask that the home be fixed if the levels are 4 or above. Less than that, they may want to have it fixed, but the sellers aren’t likely to agree to that. So if the level was 3.5 and they ask to have the home fixed, they shouldn’t be surprised if the sellers tell them no. I always try to set realistic expectations for my clients. Keeps them (and me) out of trouble (usually). :mrgreen:

The report I send from the company I use is pretty straight forward.

4 and up fix.

less than 4 and down “up to you” Don’t take that litterly you guys know what I mean lol. I had one house that read an average between the two at (7) no doubt about that one.