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Thread: radon report

  1. #1
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    Default radon report

    Here is a sample of a radon report I did. Tell me what you think of the content. What would you do to improve it? I'de like to keep them at 1 page.

    BTW, my state does not have regulations regarding radon reporting.


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    Default Re: radon report

    Bad link in the first attachment. Here's the correction.

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    Default Re: radon report

    1) Was this radon measurement performed per EPA Protocol? If so I would say so.

    2) This was a short-term test. I would state the test was short-term and was intended to measure the radon concentrations that existed in the measurement location during the measurement time frame and under the conditions that existed during that time. I would go on to say that radon concentrations fluctuate over time (hour to hour, day to day, week to week, month to month, season to season) and that the results of this short-term test may or may not be a good indicator of the yearly average radon concentrations.

    3) Are you always going to recommend mitagion for results above 4.0 or will you sometimes recommend additional testing? With a measurement of over 20 pCi/L I would probably recommend mitigation. For measurements of slightly over 4.0 you should consider recommending another short-term test or a long-term test. Keep in mind that most real estate transactions do not lend themselves to long-term testing.

    4) "The EPA recommends action for any readings over 4.0 pCi/l." Action? What action? That may be confusing to some customers. I would rewrite it to something like, "The EPA Action Level for radon is 4.0 pCi/L. For radon measurements of 4.0 pCi/L or above EPA recommends that you either perform additional testing or mitigate the house."

    5) "I do not intend to alarm you but I do recommend that you contact a radon mitigation contractor to help you resolve this matter." The "I do not intend to alarm you" part does not sound very professional to me. I would leave it out. I would simply state "Based on these results I recommend the house be mitigated." I would not give price ranges for mitigation either (especially in writing). You don't know how much it will cost to mitigate the house.

    6) I know this is a sample report but I noticed you started the test one day at 1:15 PM and ended the test 2 days later at 5:30 PM. EPA Protocol says the measurement period has a window of +/- 1 hour per day. For a 2-day test that is a 2 hour window so you should have ended the test no later than 3:15 PM. You ended the test at 5:30 PM so you are outside that window and technically the test does not meet EPA Protocol. EPA Protocol also says the short-term test should run for a minimum of 48 hours so you should end the test no earlier than 1:15 PM on Day 3 so you get the full 48-hour minimum time period. (This is a point lost on many inspectors who do radon measurements.)

    Hope this helps.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

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    Default Re: radon report

    Thanks Bruce. I like some of your suggestions.

    I'm gonna study some more on the things you mentioned in #6.

    So, even with a continuous monitor, one must only measure in full days? Is that what you are saying? Ive got 52 hrs of data there. Are you saying that does not meet the 48 hr min? Even if you slice the first 4hrs off for ramp up, there's still 48hrs of data there.

    I must have missed where it said I had to end the test on the third day within an hour or so of the time the test began on the first day. I had no clue.


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    Default Re: radon report

    Unless you do the mitigation work, you should leave out prices. Kinda like realtors shouldn't be talking about home inspection prices.

    Here's some stuff that may help you (or not)

    -------


    The EPA's website at: Health Risks | Radon | US EPA , states:

    "The average radon concentration in the indoor air of America's homes is about 1.3 pCi/L. It is upon this level that EPA based its estimate of 20,000 radon-related lung cancers a year upon. It is for this simple reason that EPA recommends that Americans consider fixing their homes when the radon level is between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L. "
    "Unfortunately, many Americans presume that because the action level is 4 pCi/L, a radon level of less than 4 pCi/L is "safe". This perception is altogether too common in the residential real estate market. In managing any risk, we should be concerned with the greatest risk. For most Americans, their greatest exposure to radon is in their homes; especially in rooms that are below grade (e.g., basements), rooms that are in contact with the ground and those rooms immediately above them."

    The EPA's " Home Buyer's & Seller's Guide to Radon" states

    "Radon levels less than 4 pCi/L still pose a risk and, in many cases, may be reduced."
    "Short-term tests can be used to decide whether to reduce the home's high radon levels. However, the closer the short-term testing result is to 4 pCi/L, the less certainty there is about whether the home's year-round average is above or below that level. Keep in mind that radon levels below 4 pCi/L still pose some risk and that radon levels can be reduced to 2 pCi/L or below in most homes."

    Use your own best judgment and desire for safe living. Only you can choose what level of risk to expose your family too.
    =============================

    -

    Last edited by Erby Crofutt; 10-13-2009 at 09:02 PM.
    Erby Crofutt, Georgetown, KY - Read my Blog here: Erby the Central Kentucky Home Inspector B4 U Close Home Inspections www.b4uclose.com www.kentuckyradon.com
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    Default Re: radon report

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    So, even with a continuous monitor, one must only measure in full days? Is that what you are saying? Ive got 52 hrs of data there. Are you saying that does not meet the 48 hr min? Even if you slice the first 4hrs off for ramp up, there's still 48hrs of data there.
    I think you misunderstood what I said. No, you don't have to measure only in fulls days. EPA Protocol gives you a window. For every day the test runs you have a one-hour window. For a two-day test you have a two-hour window. So your 48-hour test can run as long as 50 hours. But has to run 48 hours minimum (per EPA Protocol). For a three-day test the window is +/- 3 hours so it can run anywhere from 69 hours (72 hours - 3 hours) to 75 hours (72 hours + 3 hours). And so on.

    As for ramp up, that is fine. But your data should be for a time period that meets the protocols as outlined above. Let's say you show up on Monday at 8 AM for a 48-hour radon test only to find all the windows wide open. You can close the windows and start your CRM. You can then return on Wednesday and end the test any time between 8 PM and 10 PM and meet EPA Protocol. You will ignore the first 12 hours of data (ramp up) and only use the remaining 48 to 50 hours of data. You could also return on Thursday at any time and use any 48 to 50 hour period of data after the 12-hour ramp up.

    Addressing your first comment in the above quote, it does not matter what type of device you use. The protocols for radon measurement duration are the same for all devices.

    There is one difference in the protocols for CRMs. EPA Protocols state that for a real estate transaction you must use two devices unless you are using a continuous monitor (in which case one CRM is sufficient).


    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    I must have missed where it said I had to end the test on the third day within an hour or so of the time the test began on the first day. I had no clue.
    The reason for that is that radon concentrations fluctuate over the course of a day. You don't want to weigh one part of the day more heavily than another. The shorter the test the more of an impact a few additional hours will make on the results. Conversely, the longer the test runs the less of an impact a few more hours will make. So EPA gives us an hour window (+ or -) for every 24 hours the test runs.

    With a CRM you can start and stop the test whenever you want and only use the data points that are within the protocols for test duration. You cannot do that with charcoal devices or E-PERMS so it is important to stop the test within the appropriate time frame for these devices.

    Hope that clears things up a little.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

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    Default Re: radon report

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Breedlove View Post
    With a CRM you can start and stop the test whenever you want and only use the data points that are within the protocols for test duration. You cannot do that with charcoal devices or E-PERMS so it is important to stop the test within the appropriate time frame for these devices.

    Thats what I wanted to hear. I can work with that. I understand the rest you are talking about.

    Thanks again.

    Thanks to you too Erby.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: radon report

    Information is always important but the Radon report should also be visually pleasing to the eye. Highlighting the EPA protocol Average number, putting a border around the page are just some of the things I has done.

    Also the paragraphs do not read smoothly (too many periods).

    If you want, I can email you a copy of my radon report.


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    Default Re: radon report

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Luce View Post
    Information is always important but the Radon report should also be visually pleasing to the eye. Highlighting the EPA protocol Average number, putting a border around the page are just some of the things I has done.

    Also the paragraphs do not read smoothly (too many periods).

    If you want, I can email you a copy of my radon report.
    Sure Kevin, I'de like to see one of your reports.

    arundelhomeinspection@comcast.net


  10. #10
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    Default Re: radon report

    I just emailed it to you. I hope it helps one way or the other.


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    Default Re: radon report

    Bruce,

    You say that the EPA gives us an hour window (+ or -) for every 24 hours the test.

    You also said this;

    "EPA Protocol says the measurement period has a window of +/- 1 hour per day. For a 2-day test that is a 2 hour window so you should have ended the test no later than 3:15 PM. You ended the test at 5:30 PM so you are outside that window and technically the test does not meet EPA Protocol. EPA Protocol also says the short-term test should run for a minimum of 48 hours so you should end the test no earlier than 1:15 PM on Day 3 so you get the full 48-hour minimum time period. (This is a point lost on many inspectors who do radon measurements.)"

    Can you show me or point me to the EPA documentation that supports this statement. I can't find it.

    On the current EPA website I see this with regard to (CR);

    2.1.7.2 Operation. The CR monitor should be programmed to run continuously, recording periodically the radon concentration for at least 48 hours. Longer measurements may be required, depending on the CR type and radon level being measured. An increase in operating time decreases the uncertainty associated with using the measurement result to represent a longer-term average concentration.
    Care should be taken to account for data that are produced before equilibrium conditions have been established in a flow-through cell. Generally, conditions stabilize after the first four hours. Measurements made prior to this time are low and should either be discarded or used to estimate radon concentrations using pre-established system constants (Busigin et al. 1979, Thomas 1972). If the first four hours of data from a 48-hour measurement are discarded, the remaining hours of data can be averaged and are sufficient to represent a two-day measurement.


    And this applying to (CW) monitors;

    3.1.7.2 Operation. The CW detector should be programmed to run continuously, recording the periodic integrated WL and, when possible, the total integrated average WL. The sampling period should be 48 hours, with a grace period of two hours (i.e., a sampling period of 46 hours is acceptable if conditions prohibit terminating sampling after exactly 48 hours). The longer the operating time, the smaller the uncertainty associated with using the measurement result to estimate a longer-term average concentration. The integrated average WL over the measurement period should be reported as the measurement result. If results are also reported in pCi/L, it should be stated that this approximate conversion is based on a 50 percent equilibrium ratio, which is typical of the home environment, and any individual environment may have a different relationship between radon and decay products.


    Nowhere do I see it stated that a CR monitor cannot be run for 60 hrs (2 1/2 days) and the average calculated from the entire duration. If you can show me current EPA literature that proves this wrong, please do.

    It does hint on different protocol with regard to CW monitors. I did see that.


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    Default Re: radon report

    John,

    I was going from memory and at my advanced age my memory could be faulty. I seem to remember learning the +/- 1 hour/day rule in the radon measurement provider course I took several years ago. Whether it is an actual EPA Protocol or not I can't say for sure.

    You say you are looking on the EPA web site for the information. Did you take a radon measurement provider course or are you self-taught? (I HIGHLY recommend that you take a real course.)

    I was able to find the following guideline to support my earlier statement. It is from the AARST GUIDELINES for RADON and RADON DECAY PRODUCT TESTING in REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS of RESIDENTIAL DWELLINGS.


    1.6 MEASUREMENT EXPOSURE TIME

    The measurement exposure time shall be a minimum of 48 hours. Short-term measurement exposure time should be in increments of 24 hours plus or minus 1 hour for each day of exposure in order to minimize the effect of diurnal variations. This means that a three-day test can be exposed from 69 to 75 hours. The exposure time shall not be less than the manufacturer's or supplier's recommendations.
    Perhaps I confused an AARST guideline for an EPA protocol and if I did I apologize for any confusion it may have caused.

    Even if the +/- 1 hour/day rule is not an EPA protocol it should be obvious that it makes good sense and is good practice.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

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    Default Re: radon report

    Bruce,

    I'm took a course via Certi. D. Kladder was the instructor. After that I took the NRPP test and passed. I am NEHA-NRPP certified.

    As far as exchanging information I appreciate your input. Even if the statements you made were not completely correct, it prompted me to dig deeper and now I know more than before. Anyone paying attention to this post may have learned from our exchanges as well.

    Thanks for stirring the pot, really.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: radon report

    John,

    Bruce is stating a 'Best Practice' protocol, as opposed to the bare minimum. Best practice is often taught in the radon measurement certification courses, but not always, depending on the trainer. In this case, best practice is trying to get a look at complete daily diurnal cycles, since many houses have cycles of high and low radon each day that relates to daily outdoor temperature.

    To supplement the sections that you posted from the EPA Device Protocol, I am attaching a bit of text from the EPA Homes Protocol's Real Estate Testing section that might be helpful to you (http://www.epa.gov/radon/pdfs/homes_protocols.pdf).

    3.2.3 Option 3: Single Test Option
    This option requires an active continuous monitor (method CR or CW) that has the capability to integrate and record a new result at least hourly. Shorter integration periods and more frequent data logging afford greater ability to detect unusual variations in radon or radon decay product concentrations. The minimum measurement period is 48 hours. The first four hours of data from a continuous monitor may be discarded or incorporated into the result using system correction factors (EPA 520-402-R-92-004; EPA 1992c). There must be at least 44 contiguous hours of usable data to produce a valid average. (The "backing out" of data [i.e., removal of portions imbedded in the two days] to account for weather or other phenomena will invalidate the measurement.) The periodic results should be averaged to produce a result that is reported to the client.

    I hope this information is helpful.

    Shawn Price

    The Radon Information Center
    Radon-Pro.Com


  15. #15
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    Default Re: radon report

    John,

    Lots of good advice above.

    Thanks for tracking down the EPA language on length of tests. The +/- 1-hour per day guideline is not something that Pennsylvania requires. And from a practical standpoint, trying to retrieve the monitor within that narrow window would really complicate your scheduling.

    I've attached a copy of one of my recent reports. PA follows EPA protocols and licenses radon testers and mitigators. The language in the reports must be submitted and approved by the state DEP.

    You'll notice I don't include the hourly print-out. Reporting the hourlies is not required here, and the lack of hourlies has never been an issue for my clients. If anything, I think the hourlies would raise more questions than they answer.

    Hope this helps.

    John

    P.S. The test result in the report -- 13.0 pCi/l -- was for a slab-on-grade rancher. I'll be sure to cite it the next time someone tells me they don't need to test because there's no basement. The monitor was placed on a living-room table next to the homeowner's TV chair.


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    Default Re: radon report

    This time with attachment.

    Attached Files Attached Files

  17. #17
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    Default Re: radon report

    John,
    It is important to note that the protocols for homebuyers and home owners are different. During a real estate transaction your only recommendation if 4.0 or over is mitigation; period.
    If you are testing for a home owner (not during a real estate transaction) then the follow-up protocol is different depending on the level of the initial measurement.
    Unless I am wrong the test you had was for a real estate transaction so when you reach 4.0; mitigate.

    Here is a link for the homebuyers guide: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/radon/pubs/hmbyguid.html

    Here is a link for the home owners (or citizen) guide: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/radon/pubs/citguide.html

    If you read through both you will see the difference between the two protocols. The primary purpose is due to the time sensitive nature of a transaction a buyer does not have the luxary of waiting for a follow up test. Actions must be completed in short order prior to escrow.
    Hope this helps


  18. #18
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    Default Re: radon report

    Hey John,

    Did you purchase your own equipment or did you lease it? I'm looking into starting but didn't want the initial cost of buying 3 or 4 machines. Also, my ins. man seems to think that it'd cost too much to carry ins on the units, and since I do quite a few hud homes, I'm worried about leaving it in vacant homes that sometimes don't even lock. Any help you could give me on this would be great,

    Thanks
    Alan Highland
    Highland Certified Home Inspections
    Wichita, KS.
    316-210-5124


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    Default Re: radon report

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Highland View Post
    Hey John,

    Did you purchase your own equipment or did you lease it? I'm looking into starting but didn't want the initial cost of buying 3 or 4 machines. Also, my ins. man seems to think that it'd cost too much to carry ins on the units, and since I do quite a few hud homes, I'm worried about leaving it in vacant homes that sometimes don't even lock. Any help you could give me on this would be great,

    Thanks
    Alan Highland
    Highland Certified Home Inspections
    Wichita, KS.
    316-210-5124
    Alan,

    I got 4 CRM's from another inspector who was retiring so it was a no brainer good deal. I don't do enough radon testing to justify leasing equipment. If your worried about unsecured properties, you could always use a different test method then an expensive CRM for those. See if there's a lab in your area than can supply you with E-perm canisters. There's one in my area that charges $30 per test. I used to use them before I got my own equipment. The only hassle was retuning them to the lab and waiting for results. They did allow me a good way to do testing and helped me secure those jobs where clients wanted to test for radon.

    BTW, the inspector who sold me the CRM's contacted me through PM based on a radon thread I posted on this site. With a little luck, maybe a retiring inspector will contact you.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: radon report

    Thanks John,

    I've been looking at the RS300, the cheapest I've seen them is around 900, or a little under, quite a large investment for 3 or 4 of them, it'd be tough to swallow if any got stolen. The insurance guy I talked to was speaking of some kind of a marine policy??? said it'd be like 500 a year and 500 deductible if one was stolen or vandalized. I'm thinking there's got to be a better deal out there, don't know of too many home inspectors that can afford rates like that. Thanks again John

    Alan


  21. #21
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    Default Re: radon report

    From what I gather from your report the results are a short term test and the best results for radon are a long term test. I would suggest placement of a charcole canister testing devise that has to be sent to a lab after a minimum of thirty days placement and the results from the lab will guide the homeowner as to the proper action to take based on the levels found. Also tell your clients there have been zero proof that radon exposure has caused a death in the United States. Living with radon levels above the EPA standard of 4 pico curies, 24 hours a day in a closed up house for twenty years, may cause cancer. Who does that?


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    Default Re: radon report

    Steve Smith......... Can you cite a reputable source that says Radon does not cause cancer......... It seems like the EPA, CDC and the WHO have a differing opinion.

    Short term test are like a snap shot in time of the conditions in the home. With a real estate transaction we do not have the luxury of time on our side for a long term (over 91 days) test. This is why the EPA has blessed the 48 hour test with a single CRM or the 48 hour test with two canisters set side by side..

    If you are worried about theft and damage to your equipment you might need to look at using the E-Perm device. They are very accurate and fairly inexpensive when compared to a CRM. Also they do not require any power to operate, so they are good for use in REO homes.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  23. #23
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    Default Re: radon report

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith View Post
    I would suggest placement of a charcole canister testing devise that has to be sent to a lab after a minimum of thirty days placement and the results from the lab will guide the homeowner as to the proper action to take based on the levels found.
    In addition to Scott's reply to the unfortunately statement about radons health implications, activated charcoal devices are not and were never intended for thirty day measurements. Radon-222 decays away with a half-life of 3.8 days, meaning that radon collected on a charcoal device at the start of even a 4 day test has begun to dissipate somewhat even before the test has ended. Proper calibration and decay correction can easily calculate the decay though. Most charcoal devices are used for 2-4 days with a few designs with diffusion barriers being able to be deployed for up to a week. Measurements needed for anything more than a week should be done with electret-ion chambers or alpha track monitors.


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    Default Re: radon report

    If your using the Sun Nuclear 1027 CRM there should also be a correction factor and background calculation in your report. When you have the units calculated you get the CF and background.


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    Default Re: radon report

    My initial post on this thread was almost 2 years ago. Here's a sample of my current reports. It has a link to the calibration cert which includes the detailed information about the unit.

    http://home.comcast.net/~arundelhome...somesample.pdf


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    Default Re: radon report

    So on your calibration report is a correction factor of 1.025 and a background of 0.1. In your sample report you list the EPA average as 2.5. Now you should do the calculation of subtracting the background and then multiplying by the correction factor and your reported level should be 2.46pCi/L.

    In this example it's no big deal, but if it was right around 4.0 it can make a big difference. The background and CF will change every time you have the machine calibrated.

    People that don't calibrate their machines are reporting inaccurate information,


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    Default Re: radon report

    Thanks for pointing that out Barry. I'll include those extra calculations in future reporting.


  28. #28
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    Default Re: radon report

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Signor View Post
    So on your calibration report is a correction factor of 1.025 and a background of 0.1. In your sample report you list the EPA average as 2.5. Now you should do the calculation of subtracting the background and then multiplying by the correction factor and your reported level should be 2.46pCi/L
    John, make sure you check out the guidance that you receive to ensure that you aren't being told to do something you shouldn't. For example, the US EPA Protocols for radon testing is homes states this on page 30:

    "Measurement results reported in the units that the device measures. Any measurement results based on radon gas (pCi/L of air) should be reported to no more than one decimal place, e.g., 4.3 pCi/L"

    Additionally, your calibration factor and background values have been set internally in the CRM by Bowser-Morner, meaning that you shouldn't have to add fudge factors after the fact. That will likely increase the possible mixups on your end and then your final numbers won't match that of the CRM's output which will lead to confusion with your clients. Remember, the KISS principle. You have a properly calibrated unit and I imagine the Sun Nuclear software takes care of the rest. To validate what I'm saying, you might want to talk to Bowser-Morner and Sun Nuclear and see for yourself.

    I hope this helps.


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    Default Re: radon report

    That would be true for the Sun 1028 and 1029, but not the 1027 that we are referring to. With the 1027 you need to do the calculation manually and apply to the EPA Average to get the accurate reading. Yes keep it simple, but report the correct number


  30. #30
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    Default Re: radon report

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Signor View Post
    That would be true for the Sun 1028 and 1029, but not the 1027 that we are referring to. With the 1027 you need to do the calculation manually and apply to the EPA Average to get the accurate reading. Yes keep it simple, but report the correct number
    And does that also include manually calculating the measurement uncertainty and reporting that too? Hey, if one is going to start performing manual calculating, they might as well perform all of them but they need to make sure they understand them and can defend them too.


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    Default Re: radon report

    If you read the paragraph in the Bowser-Morner calibration report that is linked in my sample report, it does say that the extra calculations should be done.

    I had not previously realized that was a needed task

    Look at the cal report, it's right in there. >>> http://home.comcast.net/~arundelhome...ort-189-11.PDF


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    Default Re: radon report

    Yes, you should also report the uncertainty. If you use a CRM you should report the proper readings in a specified manner. As part of that you should calculate and report the correction factor as well as the uncertainty. This, in my opinion, is what sets those using CRM's apart from using canisters.

    You should also be conducting duplicate, cross checks and backgrounds on a regular basis. Having the CRM's calibrated yearly is the minimum and even that is rarely done.


  33. #33
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    Default Re: radon report

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Signor View Post
    Yes, you should also report the uncertainty. If you use a CRM you should report the proper readings in a specified manner. As part of that you should calculate and report the correction factor as well as the uncertainty. This, in my opinion, is what sets those using CRM's apart from using canisters.

    You should also be conducting duplicate, cross checks and backgrounds on a regular basis. Having the CRM's calibrated yearly is the minimum and even that is rarely done.
    Yes, to all of the above Barry. It is my experience though that many inspectors simply push the button and if a number pops up it is assumed to be good enough to get paid. What you describe is viewed as being above and beyond, when in reality is it the minimum required to produce a defensible report!

    I applaud those who take the time to do the little things that make a difference. QA/QC is a great example of an under utilized process but when taken seriously, it makes a world of difference.

    Good advice Barry.


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    Default Re: radon report

    As Shawn pointed out, the EPA protocol is to report in no more than one decimal point.

    After I do the correction factors for the 1027 and come up with more than one decimal point, how do you round to only one decimal position? Up, down or whatever is nearest?

    For instance, does a 3.46 get reported as a 3.4 or a 3.5?

    What would a 3.45 be reported as?


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