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How do I test for radon? (Some Ins and Outs of the Devices)

There are a variety of radon test devices available. Hardware/Home Improvement stores offer some, others can be ordered on-line. Of the types available, we generally recommend alpha track detectors or electret ion chambers. These types of detectors are robust, reliable, and approved by the Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program.

Before buying, here are some important points to consider:

- Make sure the test is a long-term test (i.e., greater than 90-day) test. Health Canada recommends that long-term testing form the basis for radon mitigation decisions. Some off-the-shelf test kits are not long-term tests.

- Expiry date. Most of the commercially available radon tests will have an expiry date. Before you pull yours off the shelf, make sure that the expiry date has not come and gone.

- Additional analysis cost. Some of the tests on the market do not include the cost of analysis in the purchase price. A cheque must accompany the tester when it is returned for analysis.

- Shipping costs. The cost of most detectors does not include shipping. These costs can vary depending on where the detector is going and the shipping method used to get it there.

It is important to test for radon. If you have any questions about radon testing devices, make sure to send me an email ( or give me a call (519-799-6778).

Alpha track (left) and two, electric ion chamber radon testing devices

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