You cannot see, touch, or smell it; But radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking, killing more than 20,000 people each year. Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally and is present in the soil, rocks, and water, as the breakdown of uranium.
This toxic gas sometimes gets concentrated in homes constructed on soil having natural uranium deposits. It seeps through floor and wall cracks, construction joints, and even through electrical wires. As per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 1 in every 15 homes in the United States has a high radon concentration of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). Also, EPA estimates that any level of radon equal to or more than 4pCi/L is hazardous.
How to Detect Radon Gas?
The fact that radon is invisible and odorless makes it hard to detect and therefore more lethal. Like Rachael Malmberg, who was diagnosed with lung cancer due to persistent radon exposure, most households are unaware that they live in an area vulnerable to radon. This exposes them to it for a prolonged period of time, which results in health issues like lung cancer. You can check the radon status of your area using this Radon map.
There are two primary methods of radon detection:
- Passive Radon testing
This type of testing employs chemical or electromagnetic methods for radon detection and does not require a power source. It includes devices like charcoal canisters, electret ion chamber detectors, alpha-track detectors, etc. A radon test kit is used in typical passive tests, and the results are sent to experts for examination.
Property owners can assess radon levels for a range of 2 to 90 days using these kits for short-term passive tests, or more than 90 days for long-term passive tests. The radon kit is then submitted to a laboratory, which evaluates the sample and delivers it to the property owner. These exams do not necessitate any special training so property owners can conduct them themselves.
- Active Radon testing
This type of testing is generally expensive and gives instantaneous results. It requires a power source to run and provides both short-term as well as long-term radon level detection.
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Why Do You Need a Radon Detector?
A recent study estimated that 34.1 million US adults currently smoke cigarettes. So, if you are a smoker and living in an area with high radon concentrations, you are at a very high risk of contracting lung cancer. Even if you don’t smoke, you should know that radon has resulted in six times more deaths than traffic accidents and the AIDS virus.
Using a radon detector in your home or workplace will enable you to detect the levels of this noxious gas and take the necessary steps to eliminate it and prevent exposure. One way of reducing exposure is to seal or vent areas where high radon levels are detected. But this is possible only if you are aware of the radon levels.
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The 3 Best Radon Detectors on the Market
It is essential to buy a radon detector that is reliable and accurate so that you can keep your loved ones safe and healthy. We have rounded up a list of active radon detectors that give you precise and continuous radon monitoring.
1. Radon Eye RD200
- Measurement range – 0.2 – 99 pCi/L
- Measurement interval – Every 10 minutes
- Connectivity – Bluetooth (Android/iOS)
The Radon Eye RD200 is the fastest and most sensitive radon detector. It boasts of being about 20 to 30 times more sensitive than other detectors. Its high precision is attributed to its dual-structured pulsed ionization technique, which is one of the most advanced radon detection techniques.
The RD200 gives its first reading within 10 minutes of setting it up, followed by a more accurate reading after 60 minutes. It might seem like a long wait, but many lab tests and other digital detectors take much longer than that to get a reliable result, sometimes even several days.
The Radon Eye RD200’s ability to collect and transfer data to your smartphone or PC is a valuable tool that allows you to easily inspect and control radon levels in your home or workplace. This information can be readily converted to Excel, allowing you to scrutinize it in a spreadsheet.
If the radon levels exceed the recommended level by EPA (4pCi/L), the radon meter will sound an alarm. The alarm will notify you to take appropriate steps to reduce the radon level. Bluetooth connectivity enables you to constantly monitor the data on the RadonEye app, which refreshes six times every hour.
Though the device may seem pricey at first glance, the University of Michigan’s Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Science verified the RD200’s ion chamber giving it quite a reputation.
- High sensitivity and precision
- Updates every 10 minutes
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Easy monitoring through LED display and phone app
- No average readings
- Poor app support
- No timestamps on the exported data
2. Airthings Wave Plus
- Measurement range – 0 – 500 pCi/L
- Measurement interval – Every 24 hours
- Connectivity – Bluetooth (Android/iOS)
The Airthings Wave Plus is a smart and subtle home radon detector that runs on batteries. Unlike other detectors that detect only radon alpha particles, this device monitors the indoor air quality as well hat makes it one of the best radon detectors in the market.
Temperature, air pressure, humidity, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), and CO2 are among the six sensors included. Pollutants in the air, such as carbon dioxide, disrupt sleep schedule, while humidity encourages microbial contamination. You may take comfort knowing that your indoor air is free of pollutants and chemicals (VOCs) found in daily objects like room deodorizers.
This radon detector does not have a digital display. You can check the radon levels by simply waving your hand in front of it. Doing this will give out a color-coded indication – green (good), yellow (fair), and red (poor).
What makes this device more remarkable is its ability to connect to smart devices like an Amazon Echo or Google Nest Hub. This feature lets you monitor the radon levels without having to pick your phone. The IFTTT automation by Wave enables you to have your smart lamp flash or change colors if the radon levels rise. IFTTT is software that connects multiple apps, services, or devices from different developers to trigger automation concerning those apps, services, or devices.
Installing the Airthings Wave Plus is easy. Simply create your profile and follow the AirThings set-up guide. The battery has a life of 16-months therefore you need not worry about them running out for more than a year.
- 6 sensors that detect radon, CO2, VOCs, humidity, temperature, and air pressure
- Connects to devices like Alexa and Google Assistant
- Stores the readings in the AirThings app
- Easy to understand through color-coded indications
- No digital display
- Large measurement interval
3. AirThings Corentium Home Radon Detector
- Measurement range – 0 – 500 pCi/L
- Measurement interval – 1 hour
- Connectivity – None
Are you looking for a portable, user-friendly, and battery-operated digital radon detector? Then AirThings Corentium Home Radon Detector is the perfect choice for you. Powered by three AAA batteries (standard size of dry cell batteries), this small yet powerful detector, which weighs about 148 grams, will provide you with accurate readings wherever you go.
Did you know that the amount of radon in your home varies from room to room? This portable device will detect the radon levels in every room accurately so that you can take measures to control them. You will receive the first reading within 24 hours of installing it. The device also displays long and short-term averages for higher efficiency.
The AirThings Corentium Home Radon Detector’s accuracy increases over time: after seven days, it’s within 10% of actual radon levels, and after two months, it’s within 5%. This enables the device to adapt to its surroundings and eliminates reading inconsistencies. As a result, it has the highest accuracy and does not need annual calibration. It also contains a backlit display with one-day, seven-day, and one-year historical measurements.
- Built-in LCD screen for easy monitoring
- 2-year battery life
- Long term detection for added accuracy
- Data cannot be exported to other devices like your PC or phone
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Busting the Myths Around Radon Detectors
There are several myths surrounding radon, so it’s critical to know the truth. After all, having only a little knowledge is riskier than not knowing at all. There are three common misconceptions to be aware of.
- Some individuals believe that radon testing is a laborious and time-consuming process. The truth is that active radon detectors enable accurate detection in a short amount of time and even sound an alarm if it reaches dangerous levels.
- Another prevalent misconception is that radon is found only in specific areas of a country or specific types of houses. However, radon doesn’t care where it shows up. Your radon levels are unaffected by the sort of house you live in. It doesn’t matter whether your home is old or new, draughty or well-insulated, you can have problems with this gas. The geology surrounding your home, as well as the materials and the procedure employed in its construction, all have an impact on radon levels.
- Some people believe that testing for radon is pointless if they have lived in their house for a long period. Even if no one has fallen ill as a result of radon exposure, it is still necessary to test for it. You can lower your chances of developing lung cancer by doing so.
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Tips & Advice for Choosing & Using Radon Detectors
- Before you buy a business or a home radon detector, it is critical to consider its accuracy. To get reliable results, you must ensure that it can deter interferences, else it might not meet its objective.
- During short-term tests lasting up to seven days, always keep the house closed. Use your home’s heating/cooling system during the test. Use your air conditioner for testing that runs more than a week. This will assist in the recirculation of indoor air.
- Always read the user manual of the respective detector to avoid inefficiency and get better results.
- Don’t forget to send the kit to a certified lab if using a passive radon detector.
- A portable detector is the best choice for those who are frequently on the go and may not always have access to plug in your device.
- A clear display of the readings is also necessary for proper analysis of the data. Some detectors come with LCDs while others let you view the data through a phone app.
- Place the detector in a room that is closer to the ground, for example, the basement, for better results because the concentration of radon is highest near the Earth’s surface.
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We hope that this article will help in your journey of choosing the best radon detectors and using them effectively. If you are planning to move to a new home, request a radon test to avoid exposure. Feel free to share any advice, tips, or facts related to radon and radon detection in the comments section.
Tuba Sarosh is a content writer and editor at TechSherlock. She combines her curiosity for the latest technology with her passion for writing, to write well-researched articles and blogs. When not writing, she is either reading a classic or watching a documentary.