Testing for radon isn’t a complicated process, but it does take time. You can’t get overnight results from a test and also have true accuracy and cost-effectiveness. The best radon tests will take anywhere from 48 hours to multiple months, depending on the type of screening you choose and any state-specific requirements. Understanding how short term and long term radon tests differ in material, design, and use will help you choose the right tool for the job. Explore Radonova’s selection of home and commercial radon tests to take charge of your indoor air quality and health.
How long does a radon test take?
It depends primarily on the type of radon test you choose. Each package will answer the question of how long does a radon test take. Our QuickScreen charcoal screening product offers radon detection in as little as two days, while Rapidos is a short term test requiring 10-90 days for best results. Our most accurate test, Radtrak2 is a long term radon requiring a minimum of three months and up to a full 365 days and takes into account all the fluctuations from temperature to barometric pressure that affect radon gas levels.
How long does a short term radon test take?
Short term radon tests offer the fastest results. Our shortest option, QuickScreen is a charcoal radon screening that can return results after just 48 hours of exposure, while Rapidos is a radon level monitoring device that requires a minimum of 10 days and a maximum of 90 days to produce accurate results. Choose a window for results that fits your plans and needs for accuracy to select the right type of test.
How long does a long term radon test take?
Our long term radon tests, Radtrak2 start with a 91-day window and run as long as 1 full year. A three month to 1-year test will reveal a full record of how radon levels rise and fall over the year and expose you to maximum levels over time. If your lab results come back below the 1EPA’s minimum reading, you can reasonably expect to not need radon mitigation.
What’s different between long term and short term radon tests?
Long term and short term radon tests differ in more than just their measurement time frames. The very materials used to manufacture the tests are different between the various types. Short term screening tools use activated charcoal that quickly adsorbs gas from the air to leave sampling behind for lab testing. Alpha track testing kits are also widely used for highly accurate short term tests that take 10 days to three months. Long term tests are also based around alpha track technology using CR-39 chips that capture "tracks" made by radon decay particles. Aside from needing slightly different placement, number of tests, and handling, these tests are otherwise similar enough to use easily once you’ve read the instructions.
Both long and short term radon tests can be placed on shelves, end tables, or hung from thread to capture an accurate reading of gas levels in the home. It’s not always easy to find a place that the device can remain undisturbed for a long term test. Hanging the test kit greatly extends your options for getting an accurate reading over many months of exposure. Consider experimenting with short term tests first to see what parts of the home have higher reported short term levels before investing in a more accurate long term test kit that will take a few months to yield results.
Pros and Cons to Short and Long Term Radon Tests
Short Term Screenings & Tests
- Charcoal Screenings and Short Term Tests produce results in as little as 48 hours (screenings) to 90 days (short term tests) of active detection and require approximately an additional 3 to 7 days for shipping
- Recommended for most real estate transactions
- Easy to adhere to closed house conditions such as keeping doors and windows shut for accurate measurements
- Captures the radon levels of a particular part of the year
- An affordable option that is easy to repeat as necessary to gather more information
- Great for homeowners who have never run a radon gas test before
- Only captures information about a short time period, missing out on fluctuations from season to season
- Produces less accurate results than long term tests
- Requires more strict control over the air supply in the testing area to produce accurate results
- Most sensitive to errors caused by humidity spikes or temperature changes during the testing period
Long Term Tests
- Higher accuracy with a long period of testing to accommodate for dips and spikes in radon gas levels over the course of three months to one year
- Still lower in cost than professional testing or expensive digital monitors
- Shows an average of radon gas exposure over the entire testing period, revealing a better picture of actual health risk over your lifetime
- Less vulnerability to drafts, humidity levels, and temperature changes due to the use of an alpha track particle collection plate
- Easy to administer on your own despite the high level of accuracy.
- Requires a long testing period and thus doesn’t immediately inform if you have high radon levels or not
- May provide inaccurate results with poor placement or mishandling of the sensitive test cartridge
- Easier to disturb by accident or to forget about over the long period of testing
- Higher cost than short term tests.
How Long do Radon Test Results Take to Come Back?
Once you’ve completed the test period for your selected kit, it’s time to return the device(s) to the lab. All of Radonova alpha track kits include shipping instructions and a prepaid shipping label to return the test to the lab as soon as possible. When the kits are returned, it typically takes between three and seven business days for the lab to complete the process and report results. This is the usual processing time for alpha track tests, whether they’re short or long term. Charcoal tests are typically processed and reported in one to three business days. With any device type, if the required measurement information is not provided by the user as instructed, or there is missing or errant information, analysis and reporting may be delayed. Completely filling out the measurement form online as instructed will result in fastest processing times.
Don’t forget to factor in the mailing time to the lab. Kits returns via USPS can take anywhere from two days to two weeks to reach our lab depending on your location, weather conditions, and unforeseen circumstances. It is encouraged that you use a tracked shipping service such as Fed Ex or UPS when returning the detectors for analysis to minimize delays. The lab cannot process the tests and report results until the test kit is returned.
Now you’re prepared for the process of DIY radon testing. You know what to expect when ordering and using your test kits and waiting for the results from the lab. Check out Radonova’s selection of both short term and long term radon test kits and charcoal screenings with rapid lab processing and quick turnaround times on results.
A Citizen’s Guide to Radon The Guide to Protecting Yourself and Your Family from Radon. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Dec. 2016, www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-12/documents/2016_a_citizens_guide_to_radon.pdf.
Short Term Radon Test Kit
10-90 Radon Test Kit
The Rapidos is a short-term radon test that will monitor between 10 to 90 days. This extremely accurate test will take into account all of the daily fluctuations in radon and provide an average concentration.
Long Term Radon Test Kit
90-365 Radon Test Kit
The Radtrak² is a long-term test that will monitor between 90 days and 1 full year. This extremely accurate test will take into account all of the daily fluctuations in radon levels.