If the radon detector you have in your home regularly sounds an alarm to evacuate your home while also giving a reading of zero pico-Curies per liter of air (pCi/L), you may be confused as to what to do. Your radon monitoring device may be giving a false reading or perhaps it is correct. There's only one real way to find out, and that is to have a home radon level inspection done by a professional. Here's why and what may be causing a false reading.
Radon Is a Dangerous Gas
You'll want to be certain that your home doesn't have a dangerous level of radon, or you could be putting yourself and other members of your household at risk of developing lung cancer. In fact, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among people who do not smoke. Because of this, you'll want to determine if your radon detector sounded a false alarm or not. If there are high levels of radon in your home, you'll need to hire a professional service to mitigate the radon.
Precipitation Can Temporarily Cause Higher Readings
One thing that can give temporary higher readings that may trigger a radon monitor to detect radon is precipitation. The reason this can happen is that, as precipitation falls it can essentially capture radon gas from the air and pull it into the soil and further into the groundwater. From there, the radon can become displaced into your home's foundation as it attempts to be released or escape from the soil through cracks and the pervious concrete in your home's foundation.
Home Radon Level Inspections Take Time
Due to the temporary readings that can occur when there is heavy precipitation and changes in barometric pressure, home radon level inspections involve testing and monitoring via devices over the course of several days or longer. The timeframe of the testing depends on several factors, including the soil composition and the climate. Temporarily high readings such as described above may not require any mitigation efforts at all if the subsequent readings throughout the testing phase give optimal readings that are below the dangerous levels.
The only way to determine whether or not mitigation efforts should be taken is to hire a professional service. If the phenomenon of temporarily high radon readings tends to happen often, it will likely be recommended that you undertake mitigation efforts, such as installing exhaust fans to expel radon from your basement and/or installing a radon mitigation system.