The 5 W's (and 1 H) Every Homeowner Should Know About Radon Testing - American Radon Mitigation

The 5 W’s (and 1 H) Every Homeowner Should Know About Radon Testing

The 5 W’s (and 1 H) Every Homeowner Should Know About Radon Testing

If you’ve ever written a research paper or attempted to solve a complex mystery, then you’re probably familiar with the 5 W’s and 1 H method of information gathering.

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why
  • How

These 6 open-ended question starters (as in, no simple “yes” or “no” answers will suffice) serve to provide the researcher all the information they’ll need to make a fully informed decision.

Radon testing is a subject that is certainly no exception to this rule. If you’re a homeowner looking for answers, this guide has you covered.

Why buy your test kit from American Radon Mitigation? Watch as Jesse Green explains.

1. WHO is radon testing for?

Radon is a radioactive and cancer-causing gas that occurs naturally in the rocks and soil beneath our very feet. Unfortunately, you can’t see, smell, or taste it, yet it’s harmful to each and every one of us.

As such, radon testing is for anyone responsible for the safe living conditions of themselves, their families, and others. This includes:

  • Homeowners
  • Homebuyers and sellers
  • Landlords
  • Building/property managers
  • Radon mitigation experts

2. WHAT radon test kit or detector should I use?

As with most things in life, when it comes to radon testing, you have plenty of options.

Short Term Radon Air Test

  • Short-term radon test kits: Short-term kits are by far the most widely used and cost-effective tests in the world. If you are testing radon in your home for the first time, you should start with an EPA-approved single-use, short-term test.
  • Long-term radon test kits: Long-term tests are the best way to determine your exposure to radon during different seasons and living conditions in your home. They are typically used after a short-term test returned radon levels between 2–3.9 pCi/L.
  • At-home digital radon monitors: These portable measuring instruments allow you to take accurate readings of radon concentrations daily, weekly, and long-term. They are primarily used when needing to test multiple rooms or locations.

3. WHEN is the best time to test for radon?

If you’re testing your home for the first time, radon testing can be conducted during any season, so long as the following conditions are maintained:

  • All external doors, windows, and vents are kept closed for 12 hours leading up to the test. Normal entry and exit are fine, so long as you close the door behind you.
  • No whole house, ceiling, or window fans are in operation. Heavy air circulation can increase a test’s sensitivity to radon.
  • No severe weather (heavy rain, snow, or wind) has been forecasted. These weather events can cause radon levels to temporarily spike.
  • Your radon fan has been running for at least 24 hours (if conducting a post-mitigation radon test).

If your initial radon test comes back low, we recommend retesting your home again in a different season and every few years to ensure your radon levels remain low.

4. WHERE should you place your radon test(s)?

Finding the ideal placement for your radon test(s) is arguably the most important thing you can do. To determine the best placement and number of tests needed in your home, please refer to the image below and answer the following questions.

Image showing which areas of a home should be tested for radon
Where to test for radon.
  • Is this a real estate transaction? If it is, you will need to have a radon test conducted by a licensed radon measurement professional.
  • Does your home have multiple foundations? If it does, you’ll want to test each of those foundation types. For example, if you have a four-level split, you’ll want to test both the basement and the area at ground level.
  • Does your home have an addition? You should test both the original part of the house and the addition.
  • Does your home have a basement and a crawl space? If it does, then you’ll need to test both the basement and the room above the crawlspace (see image above).


5. WHY do you need to test your home for radon?

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 2 out of every 5 homes tested in Minnesota contain radon levels that pose significant health risks. In fact, the average Minnesota home contains radon levels that pose the same health risks as smoking 9 cigarettes a day (4.6 pCi/L).

Since radon is colorless, odorless, and tasteless—and radon symptoms can take years to present themselves—the only way to know for sure if radon is present in your home is to test for it.

6. HOW long do I need to leave the radon test in place?

Exactly how long a radon test needs to be left in place for an accurate reading depends entirely on the type of test. If you’re unsure, always follow the instructions on your test kit’s packaging.

  • Short-term radon tests are designed to be exposed for 72 to 168 hours (or 3–7 days).
  • Long-term radon tests are designed to be left out for 3 to 12 months under normal living conditions.
  • At-home digital radon monitors are designed to give more real-time measurements. For the most accurate test results, leave them in one location for at least a week, and be sure to use the reset button before moving to a new room.

It’s time to test your home for radon

Now that you’ve been armed with the who, what, when, where, why, and how of radon testing, you should be more than ready to take the next step. If you do still have questions, the experts at American Radon Mitigation are always happy to help.

Browse our shop today to purchase any of the test kits and detectors we covered in this guide. When you buy your test kits from American Radon Mitigation, you’ll receive a personal message where we explain exactly what your results mean and discuss the best course of action to keep you and your family safe.

Watch as Jesse Green with American Radon Mitigation walks you through how to set up your radon test.