Testing and mitigating your home for radon

 
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment recently offered free radon test kits to residents, but due to overwhelming demand, the supply ran out quickly. A few counties and municipalities, Colorado State University Extension Offices, and testing contractors are offering a limited number of additional free radon test kits to Colorado residents. There are only about 3,000 kits available, and many are available only to residents in certain counties. A list of those resources, as well as a link to purchase low-cost test kits through Kansas State University, is available below.
 
 
Purchase low-cost test kits.
 
 
 
Find a contractor
Certified Radon Measurement and Mitigation Contractors
 
Find a laboratory
Certified radon laboratories
 
File a complaint against a radon contractor

Disclaimer: We do not accredit, certify, recommend or endorse listed individuals or companies, nor are we responsible for work done or liability incurred by you. Listed contractors are certified by the National Radon Proficiency Program or the National Radon Safety Board.

 

How to tell if your home has a problem
  • Test for radon:
    • We don’t compete with private industry and can't test your home; we provide information and advice only.
    • Landlords in Colorado aren’t required to test for radon or to mitigate high radon levels.

EPA renters guide for tenants

 
Radon testing in a hurry
Contractors will use either a continuous monitor, which will provide a test result at the end of the test period, or some other short-term measurement device that can be read at a lab and the value reported in a short period of time. 
 
Where to test
  • The best place for testing radon levels depends whether you’re testing your home for a real estate transaction or for your own purposes:
    • If you’re testing to determine whether your home has radon levels warranting mitigation, the EPA recommends testing in the lowest living area of your home.
    • For a real estate transaction, the EPA recommends testing in the lowest area that could be modified to become a living area.
       
Radon in water
  • If your water comes from a private well and you found a radon problem when you tested the air in your home, you should test the water.
    • Radon and water testing kits are available online and at most home improvement stores.
 
Reducing radon levels
  • The most effective solution is usually a sub-slab (or if you have a crawl space, sub-membrane) depressurization system.
  • A mitigation system in Colorado usually costs about $800-$1,200 unless difficult design problems are encountered.
  • You might be able to do sub-slab depressurization yourself if you have good handyman skills, including electrical wiring skills.

Understanding radon mitigation: Do-it-yourself radon mitigation information

  • Mitigation overview.
    A short 10 minute video clip showing installation of common elements of radon mitigation systems. 
  • Live classroom delivery.
    A Do-It-Yourself course for homeowners interested in mitigating their homes or becoming informed consumers before hiring a contractor.
  • Radon mitigation equipment.
    A guided tour of a mitigation supply house with an in depth discussion of mitigation system components and how they are used.
  • While caulking and sealing are done as part of the mitigation process, the purpose isn’t to keep radon out but to hold conditioned air in.
    • It’s impossible to seal all cracks and the task is time-consuming, expensive and temporary (sealant dries out over time).
    • This procedure isn’t recommended as a stand-alone technique.

 

Short-term vs. long-term tests

  • There are many kinds of low-cost "do it yourself" radon test kits available at home improvement stores from about $10 to $50.
  • Short-term tests take 48-120 hours to complete:
    • The house is closed for 12 hours, then the testing device is activated or opened and left in place for 48 hours or more.
    • Charcoal canisters are generally used, although electronic instruments may also be used.
  • Long-term tests take 91 days to one year to complete and are conducted with the house under normal living conditions:
    • Alpha-track detectors or electronic detection instruments are used.
    • Long-term test results give a more representative picture of the true radon levels in the home over time, as fluctuations due to changes in ambient temperature and barometric pressure are detected and factored into the final average.