General Information

What is radon?
  • Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that releases radiation as it decays. Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and is estimated to cause over 20,000 deaths per year in the United States alone. Radon has been found in every state in the US and the EPA recommends that all homes be tested.
Can I ship more than one kit in the same package?
  • Yes, you can ship more than one kit to us in the same package. Please be certain that each radon sampler is sealed in its own individual mailer to prevent cross contamination. If you want rush service, please be sure to mark each mailer envelope as well.
Why do you need the exact dates and times of the test?
  • The exact dates and times of the test are necessary in order to calculate your radon levels. Radon undergoes radioactive decay over time, meaning that when we receive your radon sampler in the lab, there is less radon present than when you tested in your home. We use the dates and times of your test to correct for this difference and calculate the radon level at the time your test was completed.
  • For best results, dates and times should be as accurate as possible. Incorrect dates and times may lead to inaccurate test results.
What does shipping cost? How many stamps should I use?
  • Recently, the US Postal Service has increased the amount of postage required. Current postal rates require 6 first class stamps or $2.62 in postage to mail via USPS. Some older test kits may contain outdated instructions – please be certain to use six first class stamps when sending your postage.
  • We strongly recommend tracking your package as we cannot track arrival of the test kits in our lab. If you do not track your package, we will not be able to tell you if we have received your kit or not.
  • Please be advised that we do not recommend shipping with USPS First Class as they are the least reliable carrier. We must receive your test within 10 days of the end of the test for best results. We recommend shipping via FedEx, UPS, or Priority Mail or better. If you ship UPS, we recommend placing the test kit(s) inside of a box or envelope, as we have noticed UPS tends to damage test kits that are not placed inside of a box or a UPS envelope.
How dangerous is radon?
  • The EPA estimated that over 20,000 lung cancer deaths are caused each year by radon. Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer for nonsmokers and is especially dangerous to smokers.
  • Click here to see a radon risk chart for different levels of radon.
What amount of radon is safe?
  • Unfortunately, no level of radon is considered safe. The EPA recommends that any level above 4.0 pCi/L be reduced. However, other environmental organizations have set their action level lower; the World Health Organization recommends that any level above 2.7 pCi/L be reduced.  If you are concerned about your radon level we recommend speaking with your State Radon Contact  for the latest information and guidance.
How can I order a test kit?
  • For general customers, please click here.
  • Alpha Energy also maintains relationships with several state radon programs. If you are a resident of one of those states you may order at a discounted price by clicking on the state. Only orders shipping to that state will be fulfilled. To see if there is a program for your state, click on the “State Discounts” dropdown and you will see the states listed.
Is there a cost for lab analysis?
  • Unlike other analytical laboratories, Alpha Energy does not charge an additional fee for analysis for most U.S. residents. New Jersey residents must pay a $10 administrative fee to cover the costs charged to Alpha Energy by the State of New Jersey DEP. For Canada residents, a $15 fee per test kit is required to cover shipping costs.
What is Radon in Water?
  • Radon gas is created by the decay of uranium and sometimes gets trapped in underground water reserves and aquifers at high pressure. When this radon-contaminated water leaves your tap the radon gas is released into your home. Because of this, well water sources are the most likely to have radon problems.
Do I need to test for Radon in Water?
  • In most cases it is not necessary to test for radon in water. Generally, you should only test your water if you receive a high test result from your first Short Term test. If you receive your water from a municipal supply the chances are very low that you have radon in your water. For more information, please refer to our flowchart.

Testing

I lost my mailer envelope. What do I do?
  • You can substitute a ZipLock style double-seal bag for your envelope. Please be sure that the bag is well sealed and the kit is not exposed to outside air. Then, ship your kit as soon as possible to:
    1. 2501 Mayes Road
      Suite 100
      Carrollton, TX 75006
Why do you need the exact dates and times of the test?
  • The exact dates and times of the test are necessary in order to calculate your radon levels. Radon undergoes radioactive decay over time, meaning that when we receive your radon sampler in the lab, there is less radon present than when you tested in your home. We use the dates and times of your test to correct for this difference and calculate the radon level at the time your test was completed.
  • For best results, dates and times should be as accurate as possible. Incorrect dates and times may lead to inaccurate test results.
Why do you need my test address/zip code?
  • The test address is necessary to correct for differences in time zones between your home and our laboratory. Radon undergoes radioactive decay over time, meaning that when we receive your radon sampler in the lab, there is less radon present than when you tested in your home. When you provide the dates and times on the information sheet, we use the test address to locate the time zone your test was conducted in. We can then correct for time zone differences between the testing location and our lab.
Which type of radon test should I choose?
  • For most tests we recommend using a Short Term test kit, especially for preliminary and exploratory testing. If this is a follow-up test you may wish to use a different method. Refer to our flowchart to help decide which test is right for you
What is the shelf life of my kit?
  • As long as your Short Term test kit was stored under normal room temperature conditions and the inner bag remains sealed the kit has an indefinite shelf life.
  • Long Term (Alpha Track) test kits generally have a shelf life of about one year. If you have any concerns about your alpha track test kit being expired please call at 800-324-5928 and have your test kit serial number ready.
  • Radon in Water test kits will not expire.
Where do I place my radon sampler?

Short Term Radon Tests

  • Place your radon sampler on the lowest livable level of the building on a flat surface at least 6 inches from any wall or large object and 2-7 feet above the floor. Avoid areas and rooms with abnormally high humidity. Place the sampler with the paper side facing upwards.
  • For real estate transactions, you must place two radon samplers four inches apart. Laws can vary by state. Ask your State Radon Contact about the laws in your state.

Long Term Radon Tests (Alpha Track)

  • Place the radon sampler on a flat surface or suspend it using the attached clip. Keep the detector 3 feet from any window, door, or other opening and at least 1 foot away from any wall. Place the radon sampler at least 20 inches above the floor. Avoid areas and rooms with abnormally high humidity.

 

How do I get rush service?
  • You must check the box on the outside of the return mailer to receive rush service. If no box is present, write “rush service” in permanent marker. Without this we cannot identify your kit as rush analysis and you will encounter delays.
  • You must enclose payment with your information card. You may pay by check or credit card.
  • You must provide a correct email address or fax to send results to.
  • Alpha Energy is not responsible for delays in analysis if you fail to follow any of the above directions.
How do I start the test?
  • For both short term and long term tests, the test begins as soon as you open the inner plastic bag and expose the radon sampler to air. You should then place the sampler in a location that fits the guidelines listed in the instructions.
When do I stop the test?
  • Short Term – Your radon sampler must be exposed for a minimum of 48 hours and a maximum of 96 hours. The test stops when the radon sampler is sealed in the mailer along with your information sheet. Anything beyond 96 hours will result in an invalid reading. In most cases we recommend exposing the samplers for 48 hours only, especially in areas of high humidity. Failure to seal the mailer will also result in an invalid reading.
  • Long Term (Alpha Track) – Your radon test device must be exposed for a minimum of 91 days and a maximum of 365 days. The test stops when the test device is sealed in the mailer along with your information sheet.
How do I ship my test kit?
  • Seal your radon sampler in the return mailer provided as soon as you complete the test. Be certain to include the information sheet inside the return mailer (or inside the box/envelope if needed). If you have misplaced your mailer a double seal zip-lock bag will suffice.
  •  We strongly recommend shipping via UPS, FedEx, or USPS Priority Mail with delivery confirmation. This way you can track your test kit and guarantee delivery. We must receive your test kit within 10 days of the end of the test or it cannot be analyzed. Timely delivery to the lab is your responsibility.
  • If using USPS First Class mail, current postal rates are located at DrHomeAir.com/Postage. A recent postal change has increased prices and some enclosed information may be out of date.
  •  If you ship via USPS First Class mail you do so at your own risk. Alpha Energy is not responsible for postal errors. We have seen an ever increasing error rate with the postal service and delivery times have greatly increased. We strongly recommend an expedited shipping method that allows you to track your package, such as FedEx, UPS, or Priority Mail or better.
  •  If you ship via UPS, we recommend placing the test kit(s) inside of a box or UPS envelope. We have noticed that UPS tends to damage test kits that are not placed inside of a box or UPS envelope. Each test should be sealed in its own individual mailer.
How do I test for Radon in Water?
  • You need to capture a sample of your water in the sample vial. Take the water from as close to the water source as possible; you want to ensure that the water goes through as few filters and aerators as possible, as they will release the radon into the air and skew your test result.  If possible, disconnect any filters or aerators from the water source. For more detailed information, see our Radon in Water Testing Instructions.
What are “Closed House Conditions”?
  • For the most accurate and useful test results, all windows and doors should be kept closed during the test and for at least 12 hours prior to the test, except for normal entry and exit. If your house meets these requirements, mark “yes” for Closed House Conditions.
  • You are allowed to enter and exit the building as you normally would.
  • Closed House Conditions are not necessary for Long Term (Alpha Track) tests and Radon in Water tests.
What does “Test Floor” mean?
  • Test Floor is the floor of your house that you placed your test kit on. For example, your basement would be “basement”, your first floor (ground level) would be “1st floor”, and so on.
What does “Structural Type” mean?
  • Structure type is the type of construction used in your house. Refer to the flowchart to help choose.
Where is my Test Kit Serial Number?
  • For Short Term tests, your test kit serial number is located on the plastic tray of your radon sampler immediately below the words “Test Kit Serial”. It is usually 1-3 letters followed by 4-6 numbers (i.e. P12345). It is not the barcode on the outside of retail packaging.
  • For Long Term (Alpha Track) tests, your serial number is located on the top of the black disk canister.
Why do I need my Test Kit Serial Number?
  • To protect your privacy and ensure confidentiality, Alpha Energy cannot disclose test information unless you can provide the test kit serial number. Please be certain to record this number for your records before mailing the kit to our lab.
I made a mistake running my test. What do I do?
  • In most cases a replacement kit is available at no charge to you. To acquire a replacement kit please e-mail radon@alphaenergylabs.com with your replacement request, your name, address, and test kit serial number, or call us at 800-324-5928 and have your test kit serial number ready.
I lost the information sheet. What should I do?
  • You may fill out your information online at our website here. You may also download the information sheet below.  If you have questions about testing procedures, please refer to the FAQ.

DOWNLOAD CENTER

SHORT-TERM

LONG-TERM

RADON IN WATER

 

Test Results

Do you have the test kit I mailed in?
  • Because of our procedures to ensure information privacy, we are not able to know whether or not we have received your specific test kit as everything is sealed within your mailer. The mailer containing your radon sampler and information sheet stays sealed until after it is tested to prevent cross-contamination. Only after testing do we open the mailer to finish analyzing and processing your sampler. Normally it takes 3-5 business days upon arrival to complete testing, processing, analyzing before sending out a result.
  • You can check our website here to see if we have started processing your result.
  • Note: as stated, times are estimated. During times of high volume, processing times may increase. We cannot guarantee that you will receive your results by the estimated time given.

What does the “<" on my report mean?

The “<” symbol indicates that the measured radon concentration in your sample was less than the detector’s Lower Limit of Detection (LLD). This is usually for one of two reasons:

  1. Your radon concentration was very low and is below the detector’s LLD for these test parameters.
  2. OR

  3. Your radon test kit took more than the recommended 10 days to arrive in our laboratory. The longer it takes to arrive in the laboratory, the higher the detector’s LLD is.

What do I do next?

  • If your test result was <2.0 pCi/L (74 Bq/m3) or lower, you do not need to take any further action.
  • If your test result was <3.0 pCi/L (111 Bq/m3) ( or lower, you may want to consider retesting, since your results are close to the EPA's action level of 4.0 pCi/L (148 Bq/m3)
  • If your test result was <4.0 pCi/L (148 Bq/m3) or higher, you will want to retest. Your results may be at or above the EPA action level of 4.0 pCi/L (148 Bq/m3). To obtain a more precise measurement, ensure your retest arrives at the laboratory within 10 days.

More information on Lower Limit of Detection

For every test, the LLD is calculated. It primarily depends on the amount of time it takes for the test kit to arrive in our laboratory. Under ideal circumstances, our detectors are capable of measuring radon levels as low as 0.3 pCi/L (11 Bq/m3).

However, the longer the kit takes to arrive the more the radon in the test kit undergoes radioactive decay. This means that over time, radon and its daughter particles “disappear” from the test kit. As these particles decay, the LLD rises as there is now less radon in the test kit to measure. This decay of radon raises the Lower Limit of Detection.

Because we want to provide you with the most accurate test result possible, if the measured radon level is below the detector’s LLD, we report the test result as Less than the LLD value. We can know with a high degree of confidence that the radon level in your sample was below the LLD. However, due to statistical variation and radioactive decay, we cannot precisely pinpoint an exact radon level with a high degree of confidence.

For example, if the measured radon level in your test kit was 1.0 pCi/L and the LLD for your test was 2.0 pCi/L, we would report the result as “< 2 pCi/L”. In this example, it is equally likely that your radon level was 0.1 pCi/L or 0.5 pCi/L or 1.0 pCi.L or 1.9 pCi/L, or any other number below 2.0 pCi/L. Because the measured level was below the LLD (in this case, 2.0 pCi/L), any measured radon result below 2.0 pCi/L could be simply due to statistical variation. It is impossible to know the exact level with a high degree of confidence due to statistical variation.

We can know with a high degree of confidence that your radon level was below the indicated value. However, we will be unable to precisely state the exact radon level present. To ensure you have the most accurate results, we will report the test result as Less than the LLD Value. 

In the event that your test kit takes a long time to arrive in our laboratory, we will still do our best to calculate a valid radon result. However, when the test takes a long time the LLD value can rise substantially. For test kits that arrive in 10 or more days, the LLD value can become very high. This is the reason we recommend using expedited shipping to return the test kit to the lab, and the reason we must receive your test within 10 days for best results.

Why do you need the exact dates and times of the test?
  • The exact dates and times of the test are necessary in order to calculate your radon levels. Radon undergoes radioactive decay over time, meaning that when we receive your radon sampler in the lab, there is less radon present than when you tested in your home. We use the dates and times of your test to correct for this difference and calculate the radon level at the time your test was completed.
  • For best results, dates and times should be as accurate as possible. Incorrect dates and times may lead to inaccurate test results.
Why do you need my test address/zip code?
  • The test address is necessary to correct for differences in time zones between your home and our laboratory. Radon undergoes radioactive decay over time, meaning that when we receive your radon sampler in the lab, there is less radon present than when you tested in your home. When you provide the dates and times on the information sheet, we use the test address to locate the time zone your test was conducted in. We can then correct for time zone differences between the testing location and our lab.
How can I get my test results?
  • You can choose to receive your results via fax, email, or USPS mail.  Please indicate your choice on the information sheet. Once your report is complete, you may also check your results online here . (Be sure that your browser is updated and compatible with our system. A list of usable browsers can be found under the “Check Test Results” section found under “Test Info”).

 

How do I get my results faster?
  •  For the fastest service possible, please enter your test information online here.  If you need your results quickly, you may purchase rush analysis service. Rush analysis service will guarantee your results are delivered by email or fax by the end of the next business day after our lab receives the kit. The cost of rush analysis is $10 per test kit.

 

How long until my test results are ready?
  • For Short Term radon tests, results are generally available 3-5 business days after our lab receives the test kit. During high volume times turn around time may be increased.  If you need your results quickly we recommend purchasing Rush Analysis Service (see F.A.Q. above) which will guarantee your results are delivered by the end of the next business day after we receive your kit (24-36 hour analysis time).
  • There is no time window guarantee for regular service – if you need your results within a small time window we strongly recommend you purchase Rush Analysis Service and ship your kit via an expedited method. 
  • For Long Term (Alpha Track) radon test kits, results are generally available 2-4 weeks after our lab receives the test kit.
  • For Radon in Water, results are generally available 4-6 weeks after our lab receives the test kit.
What do I need to get my test results?
  • Alpha Energy will send one report to the information contained on your info sheet. If you need to request additional reports or contact the lab for any reason, you must have your test kit serial number.
What do my test results mean?
  • Below 2 pCi/L (74 Bq/m3) is considered a low level of radon and a good test result.
  • Above 4 pCi/L (148 Bq/m3) is considered a dangerous level of radon and the EPA recommends taking action to reduce radon levels. How?.
  • Between 2 and 4 pCi/L (74-148 Bq/m3) is considered by the EPA to be an acceptable but not ideal result. No level of radon is considered safe, so a follow-up test may be warranted to confirm test results.
  • The national indoor average for radon is estimated at 1.3 pCi/L, and the outdoor air averages 0.4 pCi/L. For more detailed information, please visit our page here.
What do my Radon in Water test results mean?
  • Generally, 10,000 pCi/L of radon in water translate to 1 pCi/L of radon in air. If your radon in water test results are high, your water may be contaminating your air. The nationwide average radon in water level is 353 pCi/L.
My test results were high. What do I do now?
  • For a test above 4.0 pCi/L the EPA recommends undergoing mitigation to reduce your test levels. Alpha Energy does not provide mitigation services. For more information about mitigation please see the EPA’s Guide to Radon Reduction or speak with your State Radon Contact  to get a list of licensed mitigators in your area. You can also find a list of licensed mitigators here.