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radon monitoring device recomendations?

This forum is probably more geared toward air quality as it relates to boiler exhaust gasses, but figured I'd throw it out there.

We had a few charcoal radon tests come back between 4 -10 over the 7 months.

I'd love to be able to have an ongoing record so we can track it more reliably.

I know quality and reliability are probably not cheap, but are there any reliable and accurate Radon loggers out there for less than 200 smackers?
New owner of a 1920s home with steam heat north of Boston.
Just trying to learn what I can do myself and what I just shouldn't touch


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,276
    Doesn't seem likely. Consider what you are trying to do: monitor the concentration of a non-reactive gas at a very low level in the presence of a host of interferences. Accuracy and Reliability are rarely found together the cheap... in anything.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    Plenty of plug in radon detectors on the market for 150 or so. They track averages.

    Radon levels fluctuate with seasons, and rain. Usually higher readings in the winter when house is closed up.

  • Zipper13
    Zipper13 Member Posts: 229
    Definitely seen some out there, @Gordy , but quality is so hard to guess at. I got burned on some quick lead paint tests recently so I'm hyper vigilant to avoid buying something that will report erroneous stuff and make me freak out or have a false sense of security.

    I guess a better question would have been "what are so good brand names to shop for?" I suppose USA or Canada manufacture might be more trustworthy?

    I knew it was a long shot, Jamie, but I'm due for some optimism today!
    New owner of a 1920s home with steam heat north of Boston.
    Just trying to learn what I can do myself and what I just shouldn't touch
  • Leonard
    Leonard Member Posts: 903
    edited February 2019
    We're in NH nick named the granite state. (granite contains radon, uranium, .....) Radon supposed to be dissolved in the water , so showers should release some of it.

    Think "real time" meter has to be sensitive enough to measure it's eV energy distribution to ID it as radon. Doesn't sound like a cheap instrument. I read that radon is an alpha emitter, sounds like a good detector would need a way to discriminate between the different elements that can emit alphas.

    Randomly found this on web.

    I googaled radon detector, was surprised to find electronic ones selling at only $150. I'ld look into how they detect, sounds very cheap for what it's doing, if it's doing it right.

    Interesting that 2 state NJ and Iowa make companies get approved before selling them. Maybe some detectors are not any good?

    "The state of Iowa/NJ requires that all retailers selling electronic radon gas detectors in their state go through a process that is unique and time consuming. No other state has these restrictions and RadonZone.com has opted not to participate. "

    Think about heat wheels and heat recovery exchangers to change air but recover heat.
  • Brewbeer
    Brewbeer Member Posts: 616
    The above reminds me of a co-workers story with radon.

    Before I worked with him, he was doing some consulting work at a nuclear power plant, which required him to be in the parts of the plant that contain radioactive materials. As part of the plant security / access procedure, he had to pass though a radiation detector going in and coming out.

    He went in early one morning with wet hair from showering at his house, and set the radiation detector off, big-time. The people running the radiation detector asked him if the water supply to his house was from a private well, which he confirmed. They told him that his well water had high levels of radon in it, and the wet hair with the radon laden water was what had caused the detector to alarm. They told him that this is not at all unusual for people with private water supply wells in areas with radon concerns, and that they had seen this situation (private well with radon) many times before.

    Unconvinced, he had a sample of his well water tested, and found that the water was absolutely loaded with radon. It was so bad, he had to install a point of entry water treatment system to remove the radon, as he and his family was getting dosed every time they ran the shower.
    Hydronics inspired homeowner with self-designed high efficiency low temperature baseboard system and professionally installed mod-con boiler with indirect DHW. My system design thread: http://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/154385
    System Photo: https://us.v-cdn.net/5021738/uploads/FileUpload/79/451e1f19a1e5b345e0951fbe1ff6ca.jpg
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    Radon does the most damage when inhaled. Not good in a shower.....

    However back to monitors I had the radon siren. It was pretty much spot on.

    I don’t get to wrapped up in the hype. Radon has been around, and in homes forever. It’s opened a radon mitigation market so some of it is fear mongering in my opinion. The 4 PCL action limit is pretty low in my opinion. I had readings as high as 11-12 for short durations.

  • Zipper13
    Zipper13 Member Posts: 229
    Thanks Gordy. I think you're talking about the "safety siren pro series 3" - looks pretty reasonably priced to me.

    We plan to do the basement sub slab low pressure fan deal to mitigate eventually. We negotiated 5k in closing credits for the work and should cost nowhere near that, but in the mean time, I'm sealing and painting the block foundation and basement floor, hoping we can get our readings below the action limit with just that. And I'm hoping a decent monitoring device can let me know pretty quickly if I'm getting anywhere with that or not.

    I'll have to look around to see if Iowa and NJ have published a list of approved devices to help me shop around. I know state approved lists can sometimes be no more than beurocraacy for its own sake (like the MA approved firearms roster, imo), but at least it's a standard to start with.
    New owner of a 1920s home with steam heat north of Boston.
    Just trying to learn what I can do myself and what I just shouldn't touch