5 Types of Radon Detectors

A cork that says radon test.

Radon detectors are important safety devices. Radon is a gas created when uranium decomposes. Uranium is found in many different forms. Radon is a radioactive gas that is found everywhere around us but when radon gets trapped inside a home is when it becomes very dangerous. It is the second most common cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking. Radon detectors help to let you know when a deadly amount of radon is present as well as what the current radon levels are at any given time. There are several types of radon detectors on the market today and the information below will help to describe them.

1. Long Term

Radon detectors that are considered “long term” are detectors that have a broad result range. This does not make them a bad choice but actually a good, solid one. Long term radon detectors can take anywhere from two to 90 days. The long term radon detector also provides the most concise readings of all of the radon detectors. This is not a very good idea if you think your needs are more pressing. Long term radon detectors give what short term detectors do not: an average. The average is important as radon levels vary from day to day and month to month. The average will give you a very accurate reading of your radon levels.

2. Short Term

Short term radon detectors are great if you need an answer right away instead of waiting for up to 3 months for results from a long term radon detector. The type of detector varies which can lead to differences in results as well as the type of information that is given.

3. Alpha-Track Radon Detectors

This is by far one of the most popular types of radon detectors you can purchase. They are a long-term solution to your radon detection needs. These radon detectors use a plastic material sheet known as polycarbonate plastic. These sheets collect particles from the air. When these alpha particles come in contact with the polycarbonate sheets tiny marks are made. These pockmarks can then be identified by a lab and analyzed. The lab will be able to tell by counting the pockmarks on the polycarbonate sheets what the level of radon is in the home.

4. Charcoal

Charcoal canister radon detectors are a very short-term solution to detecting radon. They are inexpensive and take anywhere from three to seven days to provide you with a result. The charcoal absorbs gas from the air and the charcoal is sent off to a lab for assessment. How fast the charcoal absorbs the gas in the air will tell the lab how much radon is present.

5. Digital Radon Detectors

This type of radon detector is an all-around great choice because it will give you radon readouts continuously and consistently. The digital detector requires no lab to tell you the levels of the gas. They are capable of long term and short term results. They are also useful in determining the effectiveness of a radon mitigation system.