Radon Testing

Is it better to test the basement or another floor?

Radon levels are usually different between levels of a building. We recommend testing in the lowest livable level of your house or apartment (usually the basement) for the following reasons:

  • Radon gas is a little heavier than the air, so the highest concentration of radon is usually found in the lowest level of a building. It is rare that a house with low radon levels in the basement has high radon levels in the above floors.
  • Radon exists naturally in the soil and enters the building where the soil meets the building. Basements are typically enclosed thereby trapping the gas before is disburses into higher levels of the building.
  • Most real estate transactions require that the test be conducted at the lowest livable level. This includes a level that could be lived in or modified to live in, including an unfinished basement. 
  • Tests for legal reasons and transactions usually require specific testing locations and procedures which must be followed for valid tests. You can find more information at the EPA Home Buyers and Sellers Guide to Radon.

Do I need to do more than one test kit for a large area?

Usually, one test kit is sufficient. Radon OK samplers work for areas of up to 2,000 sq. ft. This does not refer to your entire house square footage. If you want to determine the radon levels for different floors of your home, you will need an additional test kit.

Where do I place my Radon OK sampler?

  • Place the radon sampler on the lowest livable level on your house at least 2 – 7 feet above the floor. Make sure that it is on a flat surface at least 3 feet from exterior doors and windows and at least 6 inches away from any wall or large object that might impede air flow.
  • Avoid areas and rooms with high humidity or anywhere where the sampler could get wet. If the charcoal in the sampler absorbs too much moisture, the test could be affected.
  • Make sure that the sampler paper side (the one with Radon OK logo on it) is facing upwards. This allows air to reach the charcoal and is necessary to obtain accurate results.
  • It is best to place the sampler near the central portion of the room. Because gas permeates and fills the volume of space that it’s in, there is no advantage in placing it on one side of the room or the other.
  • For real estate transactions, you may need two kits. Because laws can vary by state, ask your state radon contact about what laws are in place for your state. If two samplers are required, some laws provide that the samples must be taken and sent in separately. If the rules allow sampling together, the samplers should be placed four inches apart.

How do I start the test?

To view and download the instructions that came with your kit, click here for English and here for Spanish. Sampling instructions are on the back of the Information Card included in your Radon OK Detection Kit.

  • Testing begins once the radon sampler is removed from the clear plastic sealed bag.
  • Open the plastic bag and pull out the sampler for placement.
  • Immediately place the sampler in a location that fits the guidelines listed in the instructions. Review the Placement Guide for alternative and proper placement.
  • Don’t forget to write the start dates and times on your Information Card. The testing times and dates are important for our lab calculations, and without them our lab cannot calculate results.

When do I stop the test?

To view and download the instructions that came with your kit, click here for English and here for Spanish.
The test officially stops when the radon sampler gets sealed up in the return mailer that is included in the kit. Don’t forget to finish filling out the Information Card, which contains your test information and order form. It must be included in the mailer before you seal it. You can download additional Test Information Sheets here.
  • The sampler should have been exposed for at least 48 hours but not more than 96 hours. An exposure period outside of the 48–96 hour time frame results in an invalid reading.
  • Ensure that the return mailer is sealed up completely. Use tape to ensure that the mailer is adequately sealed.

What are “Closed House Conditions”?

  • All doors and windows are kept closed during the test and for at least 12 hours before starting the test. Normal door use such as entry and exit is fine, but doors and windows should not be left open when observing Closed House Conditions.
  • Conduct your test without Closed House Conditions, does not invalidate your test, but your results may not be as accurate as if you adhered to Closed House Conditions.
  • If your test was conducted under Closed House Conditions, make sure that you mark “yes” for Closed House Conditions on the form.

I made a mistake running my test. What do I do?

In many cases a replacement kit is available at a $5.00 shipping and handling charge. To acquire a replacement kit please call our offices at 715-284-2296 with your replacement request, your name, address, test kit serial number and credit card billing information.

Be sure to detail the circumstances surrounding your request so that we may be able to help future customers avoid your circumstances.

I lost the Radon OK Information Sheet and instructions. What should I do?

There’s two ways to get your information to our lab in this case:

Why do I need my Test Kit Serial Number?

  • Having the test kit serial number ensures that you have permission to access the results for or update information about your kit. To protect your privacy and confidentiality, Alpha Energy does not disclose test information without the serial number. If you want to search for your results on the lab website or must contact our lab for any reason, you will need the serial.
  • Be sure to make a note of your test kit serial number for your own records.

Where is my Test Kit Serial Number?

Your test kit serial number is located on the radon sampler plastic tray both on the front and the back of immediately below the words “Test Kit Serial Number”. See diagram for help. It is usually 1-3 letters followed by 4-6 numbers (i.e. P12345). This is not the barcode on the outside of Kit packaging. 

How do I get Expedited Analysis Service?

Lab Rush Analysis Service guarantees that you will receive your results via fax or email by the end of the next business day after the lab receives your sampler (e.g. if receive on Tuesday, your results will be sent to you by the end of Wednesday). The Expedited Analysis Service cost is $10 per sampler. If you want your test results as quickly as possible, expedited shipping to the lab and Expedited Analysis Service is the fastest way.

  • Make sure to provide a valid email address or fax number on your information sheet.
  • Enclose your payment with your info sheet and sampler. You can pay by check or credit card.
    • For credit cards, write your card information on the bottom portion of your info sheet. We accept all major credit cards.
    • For checks, make them out to Alpha Energy Labs.
  • Mark the box on the outside of the return mailer to notate Expedited Analysis Service. If no box is present, write “Rush Service” on the mailer in permanent marker. Without this notation on your mailer, the lab will have no way of knowing that your kit requires rush service.
Note: Alpha Energy and LabTech are not responsible for delays in analysis if you fail to follow all of the above instructions. 
Note: Expedited Analysis Service is only available for purchase before a sampler is sent in. If rush service is required for a sampler that has already been shipped to our lab, a fee of $50 will be charged for Expedited Analysis Service.
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