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The San Miguel Basin Extension office provides assistance and programs for citizens in five main areas: 4-H/Youth Development, Ag/Local Food, Gardening, Natural Resources and Home, Family & Health.

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Test for Radon in Winter


January is the best time of the year to use the short-term test kit to check for radon in your home.  The short-term test kit works best when all doors and windows are closed and little fresh air is entering the house.

Why should you be concerned about radon in your home?  It is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.  For those who don’t smoke, it is the leading cause of lung cancer.  It is estimated that up to 22,000 deaths are associated with radon yearly.

Why Test?

Most of Colorado has the potential for a high radon levels, whether one lives in the mountains or on the plains.  It comes into the house from the soil below, so the lowest level usually has the highest reading.  Radon is diffused as it filters up through the home with the top floor of a multilevel home having the lowest level.  The higher the level or the longer one lives in a home with even low levels of radon, the more of a chance of acquiring lung cancer from the exposure.

The EPA and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) recommend that all homes in  Colorado be tested. Colorado has been known to have high levels of radon. If a neighbor’s home has tested low for radon, there is no guarantee that the level in your home will also be low.  Test results can depend on the construction of the house, the materials used in construction, and the activity level of the family, going in and out, letting outside air in.

Short-term Radon Test Kits

Generally available at hardware and home improvement stores or check with your local health department.  Usually short-term test kits take only two to three days of gathering air samples prior to sending in for results.  They are intended to provide awareness of a radon problem.  If the test shows a high level, you may need a long-term test kit or a certified radon mitigation company.

  • Short-term radon test kits are to be placed on the lowest livable level of the house.
  • That means a basement recreation room or bedroom, but not a crawl space.
  • The test kit is intended to measure the level of radon in the breathable space (two to five feet from the floor) on the lowest livable level of your home.
  • Avoid placing the test kit near a window or door, in the path of a draft, and have a four-inch clearance around it.
  • Also, it should not be placed in a bathroom or laundry room with high humidity, a furnace room with high heat, or on top of a water heater.

It is very important to read the directions that come with the kit.  Instructions are quite specific about how the kit is to be prepared for use and how to send it in to the company to be processed.  Open the kit and place it in the determined location when you are ready to use it.

Make sure your home is safe for you, your children and future owners.  Test for radon today.


About Gisele Jefferson

Gisele Jefferson is a dedicated Extension educator of 35+ years and strong team member in a multi-county area program in Colorado. She has contributed and excelled in 4-H youth development, program leadership, personal & family nutrition, senior wellness, and family resource management in Colorado.

Go to Food Smart Colorado for more information on healthy living.