Radon Testing In The Summer

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Radon Testing In The Summer

Buying or selling a home is challenging, and can create stress.  Add in summer heat, and tempers will rise with the temperatures. Here is good information regarding radon testing during the summer months.  How complicated can radon testing be? The following testing protocol will simplify the challenging requirements during hot summer months, especially for a home without central air or portable air conditioning units which avoid exchanging interior and exterior air.

Protocol For Radon And Radon Decay Product Measurements In Home: Closed Building Conditions

Short-term radon testing should be performed with closed-building conditions. Closed-building conditions are necessary in order to stabilize the radon and radon decay product concentrations, and increase the validity of the measurement. Windows on all levels of the home should be kept closed.

The home inspector may find the windows open when he arrives to set the test, and sellers may not have been informed of the requirements. Closed house conditions begin 12 hours prior to the test in order to set the proper environment. If windows are open they will have to then be closed and the test may begin. Homeowners may operate the home’s heating and cooling systems normally during the test. For tests lasting less than one week, operate only air-conditioning units which re-circulate interior air. No outside air should be introduced to the home during the test. Window air-conditioning units should not be used during the test period. Doors need to be kept closed, except for daily life entry and exit.

The test period is minimum 48 hours for a home that has been prepared, and if not, the home must remain closed for an additional 12 hour period. This is understandably difficult and uncomfortable for the family living in the home during this test period. Additionally, the added time may cause a delay in the sales process. There could be friction that develops between buyer and seller when radon testing causes discomfort for the seller.

It is helpful when the seller is told about the plan for radon testing prior to the day of the home inspection. Most sellers will not appreciate arriving home following the inspection to find a sign on their countertop warning them that a radon test is in progress.

Good communication and flexibility are needed:

  • When you schedule the home inspection, ask your realtor to notify the homeowner that you will want a radon test to be performed. Provide them with the test protocol to be sure they can be prepared.
  • Be reasonable. If you couldn’t live in a closed home for 2 to 3 days under current weather conditions, try to find an alternate time for the test.
  • Check with our office to see if accommodations for testing at a future date can be arranged. We will always try to make it work for all parties involved.
  • For more information regarding radon please visit the Homebuyers and Sellers Guide to Radon on the EPA website: http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/hmbyguid.html#5.e.


Opening windows during a radon test can actually raise the measureable level of radon in the home in certain instances. Maintaining closed house conditions to obtain an accurate and reliable test is as much a benefit to the seller as it is to the buyer.