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Thread: Air testing at home

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    The problem with the lab tests is the sample size is way too small for a house. A reading can change by 100x moving the sensor a foot so I will be testing all the basement rooms at different locations to help pinpoint where my infiltration is coming from. I won’t use an exhaust fan if I can simply seal off the leaks.

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    In a conditioned space with air movement?

    I'll defer to an authority on the matter which will hopefully be a resource for others (apologies if it's been posted already) - https://www.canada.ca/en/health-cana...llings.html#a5

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    Quote Originally Posted by blainer View Post
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    In a conditioned space with air movement?

    I'll defer to an authority on the matter which will hopefully be a resource for others (apologies if it's been posted already) - https://www.canada.ca/en/health-cana...llings.html#a5
    The test is away from air movement and the house will never reach equilibrium for any measurement involving air. If there is a problem I will certainly double check my readings with a lab test.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sabad66 View Post
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    Ordered a kit last week from Radon West after the whole media blitz... still haven't received it yet. Anyone else order one recently and received it?
    Got a shipping notice for mine today, ordered last week also.

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    I ordered one of these last night thanks to this thread:

    https://www.amazon.ca/Corentium-Airt...radon+detector

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    I turned my furnace blower on full time yesterday and woke up to a reading of 680 this morning. I have a similar problem mentioned in the recent U of C news article whereas the Home builder did not finish the concrete slab under my furnace and is likely a major source of air infiltration from under the slab.

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    I have 2 continuous reading monitors in my house, both are RadonEye RD200 devices. When I bought them I placed them both side by side and the readings differed by about 3%, well within the quoted 6-10%.

    I also agree that for truly accurate testing you need to have good equipment and proper training, but like I feel that the sample size is just too small when you do one of those puck tests. When we first moved in I selected multiple locations that would be acceptable by the testing guidelines published by Health Canada and between those locations I could often see a 30-40% difference in my readings (as I could place devices in 2 locations simultaneously). The pucks are great for screening, but in my opinion if you test above 50Bq/m^3 you should do more testing.

    Those pucks are great for screening, the cost is low and as little to no training is required to use them they are a very simple way to get a hint at what the radon levels are in your home but like the continuous reading devices, they also do not paint a complete picture of radon exposure within your house. Nothing's perfect.

    For those of us who are experiencing above average radon levels in their homes, the continuous reading monitors are nice because you can act on the information provided. When levels are high you can increase the flow of fresh air into your house (note, do not try and suck the air out of your house as this can increase radon levels) or simply maximize your time outside to decrease your exposure.

    Darell, if you are a DIY kinda guy I have accumulated a couple of guides for radon mitigation and understanding radon ingress that you might find interesting. Since your house is pretty modern you should have gravel under your slab but likely don't have a mitigation system roughed in.

    Also, earlier you mentioned that your kid will be spending lots of time downstairs, and it sounds like you have focused your testing there, but I encourage you to also check the radon levels on the other floor(s) of your house. We have found that when the levels in our basement are high so are the levels on the main floor. For example, if the basement is 1200 we will find our upstairs is typically 600-900. When the basement is 400 we usually see about 180-300 on the main floor. For the first month I was convinced that when the levels in the basement were high we just had to stay upstairs.... turns out it really wasn't much better.
    Originally posted by Vagabond142
    Is the best game. Ever. In everness. It is more awesome than a robot caveman punching God in the dick. It is that awesome

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    I ran the Airthings digital Radon tester and got 190 bq/3. Had a mitigation unit installed and now getting readings between 1 bq/3 and 8 bq/3 on all levels of the house.

    My brother in law borrowed my tester and got 245 bq/3. Instead of paying $2,200 for a pro to come in, we are going to try and do it ourselves first. Doesn't seem that hard really and there are a few companies that sell the entire mitigation kit for around $500.

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    My prelim reading was 77 bq/3. Would you guys still get that mitigated? I know it isn't at the maximum allowable but seems high if post-mitigation people are seeing almost zero.

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    My reading has peaked around 600 after 2 days of continuous furnace blower use. It has since dropped to 200s with warm weather and minimal furnace use. I confirmed I have a 2ft x 4ft opening into the gravel under my furnace and return air ducting so my plan this weekend is to cut and knock out a 4” strip beside it to finish underneath with concrete properly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitsu3000gt View Post
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    My prelim reading was 77 bq/3. Would you guys still get that mitigated? I know it isn't at the maximum allowable but seems high if post-mitigation people are seeing almost zero.
    No, mitigation companies usually only promise under 50 bq/3.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darell_n View Post
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    My reading has peaked around 600 after 2 days of continuous furnace blower use. It has since dropped to 200s with warm weather and minimal furnace use. I confirmed I have a 2ft x 4ft opening into the gravel under my furnace and return air ducting so my plan this weekend is to cut and knock out a 4” strip beside it to finish underneath with concrete properly.

    Woah - yeah definitely take care of that right away. Even if it's not the only source of radon it's probably letting bugs into your basement too and soil gas. I'd be curious how that affects the readings once it's closed up.
    Originally posted by Vagabond142
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    Quote Originally Posted by tirebob View Post
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    I don't know if I buy into the radon hype... I have been trying to read up more and more on it and so far I am feeling it is quite possibly one of those irrational fears that allow for a lot of money to be made by an industry built around it. I am not 100% committed to this idea yet though. Anyone else skeptical?
    I wouldn't be sceptical about the science, but I would be sceptical about the new "best" deal, fly by night operations that prey on this market.

    Its a lot more insidious that people might think - radon is used in health spas but in a short-term basis. Living with low levels of radiation is generally not a good idea in a long term basis.

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    I think the Calgary study compared the upper limit of 200 to one dental X-ray per day, every day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by phreezee View Post
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    No, mitigation companies usually only promise under 50 bq/3.
    Interesting, thanks. I saw it as high as 97 but my "long term" average is starting to calculate and so far it's 76. I'm guessing it spikes when the furnace runs but I can't confirm.

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    Here's the latest chart from my basement
    click for larger version
    » Click image for larger version
    Originally posted by Vagabond142
    Is the best game. Ever. In everness. It is more awesome than a robot caveman punching God in the dick. It is that awesome

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    I'm now seeing 170-205 Bq/M3 "spot" readings (used to be around 70), and my average is creeping up to 140. I wonder why it fluctuates so much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitsu3000gt View Post
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    I'm now seeing 170-205 Bq/M3 "spot" readings (used to be around 70), and my average is creeping up to 140. I wonder why it fluctuates so much.
    Swings like that are normal. This is why the general advice is against continuous reading monitors - they tend to motivate people to do unnecessary mitigation. Honestly you need at minimum a 30, preferably 90 day average to get a real indication.
    Look at my readings, one day it's 20, the next it can be 1500+. Radon doesn't seep into the home at a constant rate, it sorta bubbles up through the ground in spurts and the times it comes in and the times it doesn't can be controlled by temperature, humidity, water patterns in the ground, wind, etc. The only pattern we have noticed with our radon is that the radon levels spike when there is a temperature change, then dip for a short while after, and if the temperature stays constant it will then return to ~100-200Bq/m^3, and even then this pattern only holds about 75-80% of the time.


    Basically, don't worry if you see a few readings in the 200s or even in the 1000s, it's about cumulative exposure, long-term readings. If you want to feel better about it, just reduce the time you spend inside the house on days where the readings are high until you've got a long enough time frame to see your true average. Do not, however, turn on exhaust fans thinking you are solving the problem, anything that reduces the air pressure in your house may draw additional radon into the house from below.
    Originally posted by Vagabond142
    Is the best game. Ever. In everness. It is more awesome than a robot caveman punching God in the dick. It is that awesome

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zero102 View Post
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    Swings like that are normal. This is why the general advice is against continuous reading monitors - they tend to motivate people to do unnecessary mitigation. Honestly you need at minimum a 30, preferably 90 day average to get a real indication.
    Look at my readings, one day it's 20, the next it can be 1500+. Radon doesn't seep into the home at a constant rate, it sorta bubbles up through the ground in spurts and the times it comes in and the times it doesn't can be controlled by temperature, humidity, water patterns in the ground, wind, etc. The only pattern we have noticed with our radon is that the radon levels spike when there is a temperature change, then dip for a short while after, and if the temperature stays constant it will then return to ~100-200Bq/m^3, and even then this pattern only holds about 75-80% of the time.


    Basically, don't worry if you see a few readings in the 200s or even in the 1000s, it's about cumulative exposure, long-term readings. If you want to feel better about it, just reduce the time you spend inside the house on days where the readings are high until you've got a long enough time frame to see your true average. Do not, however, turn on exhaust fans thinking you are solving the problem, anything that reduces the air pressure in your house may draw additional radon into the house from below.
    Thanks for all the info, it's helpful. I'll maybe just try to ignore it for at least a month or two, and see where my long term average starts to settle at. I'm sure I'm over reacting, but I sit at my computer in the basement watching it go up and I start to worry haha.

    By exhaust fans do you man the bathroom fans? I assume if the furnace is on, it pressurizes the house and if anything helps clear out the radon, but if the radon is coming from under the furnace floor, maybe it just helps to spread it - I am not sure.

    To be fair, the manufacturer says the same thing in the manual, that the 1-day readings are for indication only, and the longer the reading, the more accurate - I'm the one that is probably more concerned than I should be.
    Last edited by Mitsu3000gt; 12-01-2017 at 03:23 PM.

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