The Professional Choice

A companion overview to the popular "Ask Mr. Handyman" radio program airing on Christian Talk Radio, KCRO 660AM Saturdays @ 9:30AM.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Save $ with a DIY Radon Testing Kit

Test your home for radon with a DIY kit.

Radon is a colorless, odorless and tasteless radioactive gas that is known to cause cancer. The Surgeon General states that radon is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer in the US. It can build up in your home when windows and doors are sealed tight, both during the winter or summer months when the A/C or heat is running all day long. Checking for radon in the winter months is an excellent time since you're indoors a lot more often and sealing those windows and doors to stay warm.

To check for radon, you will need to purchase a home testing kit (will usually cost around $25). Follow the directions carefully so the results will be as accurate as possible. Or you can choose to have a professional come out and test your home for you (can cost up to $300.00).

You must leave all windows and doors closed almost exclusively except to quickly exit the house. You should not use the bathroom vent fan or a range hood fan (only if it vents to the outside) during the testing period (3-7 days for the short term testing kit).

I found a great, cost-effective radon testing kit at It should run about $16.00 for the kit and about $10.00 for the return postage to get the test kit to the lab. They will email or fax the results to you in about one week.

Once you get the test results you can determine if you need to have a radon mitigation system installed. It will pull air from your basement (or sump pit area, if installed) and vent it outside to minimize the radon levels in the home, thus reducing the negative effects of radon on your family's health. You may not need to have a dedicated radon-mitigation system installed to reduce the levels to a safe level. There are other methods to accomplish the same task. Knowing what your options are will allow you to make a better informed decision.