Frequently Asked Questions
Analysis & Results
This symbol indicates that the measured radon concentration in your sample was less than the detector’s Lower Limit of Detection (LLD). For many kits that have a very low reading, this basically means that your radon levels are so low that we cannot give a precise result, though we can say with certainty it is at or below the report result!
For more information about the LLD and what it means for your results, please visit our webpage.
The best way to know if we’ve received your kit is by checking whatever shipment tracking information you might have! If it has been marked as delivered, we should have it here in our labs.
- Because of our procedures to ensure information privacy and to prevent cross contamination between kits, we do not open kits until they reach the second stage of analysis, which is typically about a day or so after receipt. During the first stage of analysis, your kit and information stay sealed up. Normally it takes 3-5 business days for a kit to complete all the stages of testing and analysis. Once complete, a report will be sent out.
Check out our lab tracking system to see if any tracking is available for your kit! If nothing comes up, it could just mean that we’ve recently received your kit and it has not reached the second stage of analysis just yet.
Once testing is complete, a report will immediately be sent out via the method requested on your information sheet. You can also download a copy of your report through our website!
Here are the most common reasons why you haven’t seen a report just yet:
- Your emailed report got sent to a spam or junk folder. Since we send out thousands of reports via email, we often get marked as spam.
- Your mailed report hasn’t reached you quite yet. It can take around 7 days for mail to reach you.
Some other common reasons:
- An incorrect email, fax number, or address on your information sheet
- Missing information; sometimes, we receive a kit without the info sheet
- Your kit arrived a bit late due to a delay in transit
If it’s been over 30 days since you mailed off your kit and you haven’t heard anything from us, please contact us at email@example.com or by phone at (800) 324-5928. Be sure to include your test kit serial and shipment information.
Lab Rush Analysis Service guarantees that your report will be completed by the end of the next business day after receipt in our labs (e.g. if received on Tuesday, results guaranteed by the end of the Wednesday). For the fastest results possible, getting expedited shipping and rush service is the fastest way to go! Here’s how to get rush analysis on your kit:
- Make sure to provide a valid email or fax number on your information sheet to ensure that your report reaches you quickly.
- Enclose your payment with your info sheet and radon sampler. The cost is $10 per kit, payable by credit card or check.
- For credit cards, write your card info on the bottom portion of your info sheet. We accept all major credit cards.
- For checks, make them out to “Alpha Energy Labs.”
- Mark your return mailer envelope for “Rush Service.” There should be a box to mark located under the return address space, but if no box is there, you can simply write “Rush Service” on the envelope in permanent marker. If there is no notation on your mailer envelope, we will have no way of knowing your kit needs rush service and it will encounter delays.
Please note that Alpha Energy cannot be responsible for delays if the above instructions are not followed. Lab Rush can only be applied to kits before they are shipped out to our labs.
For Short Term tests, results are generally available 3-5 business after our lab receives your kit. During our peak season from November to April, results may take a bit longer. There is no time guarantee for regular analysis – if you are needing results quickly or within a certain time frame, we recommend purchasing our Lab Rush Analysis Service (see our FAQ).
For Long Term (Alpha Track) tests, results are generally available 2-4 weeks after our labs
receives your kit.
- To view any tracking for your Short Term or Long Term kit, you can check our lab tracking system!
For Radon in Water, results are generally available 4-6 weeks after received by the lab.
- Below 2 pCi/L (74 Bq/m3) is considered a low level of radon and a good test result.
- 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. Many times we recommend using a long term test kit for a follow-up test.
- Above 4 pCi/L (148 Bq/m3) is considered to be high and a dangerous level of radon, and the EPA recommends taking action to help reduce levels. How?
The national indoor average is estimated at 1.3 pCi/L, with the outdoor level averaging 0.4 pCi/L. For more info, visit our webpage! You can also visit the EPA’s website or get in touch with your state radon contact.
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 could be contaminating your air. The nationwide average radon in water level is 353 pCi/L.
You can visit the EPA’s website for more info about radon and how to reduce high levels!
If this was the first test at the location, it’s typically recommended to run a follow-up test. Depending on how elevated your levels are, you may want to run a long term test; you can refer to our flowchart to help you decide!
The EPA recommends mitigation to reduce levels above 4.0 pCi/L. Alpha Energy does not provide these services. You can find a list of licensed mitigators here, and you can always speak with your state radon contact for a list of licensed mitigators in your area! Another good resource is the EPA’s Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction.
Lung cancer is the only documented health risk connected with radon exposure. Radon is a radioactive gas, so the danger comes from breathing it in, which also means that smokers are ata higher risk. To read up a bit more, you can visit our “Learn” section for some more info or go to the EPA’s website.
Test Floor is the level of your house where you had your kit exposed. For example, your basement would be “basement,” your first floor (ground level) would be “1st floor,” and so on. Please note that your test floor does not affect our ability to get results from your kit.
Only Short Term test kits use Closed House Conditions! First Alert, LabTech, and Kidde products all use Short Term kits.
- All exterior doors and windows of the entire house are kept closed for at least 12 hours before testing and for the duration of the test. Entry and exit is fine, but doors should not be left open. Interior doors should be used as normal.
- Heating and cooling systems can be run, provided that they are working in some sort of “re-circulation” mode where they are not having inside and outside air exchange.
- If you normally run a dehumidifier, then you should run it during testing as normal!
- Fans venting air to the outside (like stovetop or bathroom fans) should be used as little as possible.
- Fans circulating air inside the house should be fine to use, but be careful not to expose the radon sampler to a lot of moving air! Make sure that your fan or vent is not blowing at the sampler, and avoid placing it right next to your fan or vent.
If you didn’t test under Closed House Conditions, that doesn’t invalidate your test, but be advised that your results may not be as accurate as they would have been if tested under these conditions. If your house met these requirements during your kit’s exposure, then mark “Yes” for Closed House Conditions!
If you’ve filled out the online form, it’s not necessary to send in a paper copy, though we recommend it just to be extra safe! Both request the same information, so only submitting one is sufficient. You can register your kit online here, or print off a new form here.
The dates and times of your kit’s exposure are used to calculate your radon levels. Radon decays over time, meaning that when we receive your radon sampler, there is less radon present than when you tested! The information you provide on your info sheet (including the dates and times) helps us correct for the difference between when you tested and when our lab receives your kit and is necessary for the calculations portion of our analysis. Incorrect times and dates may lead to inaccurate results, so for best results, please ensure that the dates and times are as accurate as possible!
The test address is needed to correct for time zone differences between your home (or wherever you tested) and our laboratory. Radon decays over time, meaning that when we receive your radon sampler, there is less radon present than when you tested! The information you provide on your info sheet (such as the address) helps us account for the differences in your time zone and our lab’s zone.
Mistakes & Problems
You can substitute a ZipLock style double-seal bag for your envelope. Please be sure that the bag is well sealed (along with your information sheet) so that the kit is not exposed to outside air! Then, ship your kit as soon as possible to our address here:
Alpha Energy Labs
2501 Mayes Rd
Carrollton, TX 75006
We’ll need your information in order to complete all the testing on your kit, so it’s important that we receive it! Here’s how you can send your information to us even if you’ve already shipped off your kit:
- Enter your information online via our website by clicking here. If you choose this option, it’s not necessary to send in a paper copy of your form.
- Email or fax a copy of your sheet. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org and our fax is (972) 242-8860. Be sure that your test kit serial is included in your information.
- Mail it to us. You are welcome to send it through the mail, though we recommend one of the other options to ensure that we are able to get your results faster. Our address is:
Alpha Energy Labs
2501 Mayes Rd
Carrollton, TX 75006
Light weather events usually do not dramatically affect radon levels! Light rain, low winds, or a little snowfall will not cause much of a problem and you can continue your test. Keep in mind that your results may not be completely accurate, but it will give you a good idea. If you want to lean more on the safe side you may want to run your test for the maximum exposure period of 96 hours (4 full days).
If a severe weather even occurs, your results will probably be affected more. You can continue running your test, but you should leave your kit exposed for the maximum exposure time of 96 hours (4 full days); however, the results from the test may still not be a good indication of your normal radon levels. We would recommend running another test once the weather is back to normal. To learn a bit more about weather and radon, click here.
Our laboratories do not refused packages because we know that kits are sent to us in various ways! If you used USPS to send your kit and it was returned, usually that means there was not enough postage. Click here to find out what the current postage rate is for our kits.
- Keep in mind that we must receive your kit within 10 days of it being sealed up for a valid reading! Unfortunately delivery days are out of our control – another reason why we recommend an expedited shipping service.
Some mistakes probably won’t affect our ability to get results – such as forgetting to use all capitol letters or to write in black ink – and you can continue to use the sheet you have. You can correct other minor mistakes, such as misspelled information, using white-out as long as the corrections are legible.
If you’ve lost or need another form, here are some options for you:
Some minor mistakes won’t invalidate your kit: the sampler being moved a couple inches, getting knocked over but promptly put back, etc. Even forgetting to test under Closed House Conditions or placing your kit directly on the floor won’t invalidate your kit (though it probably will affect your test’s accuracy – refer to the instructions for more info).
Some other mistakes render a kit invalid. If your sampler’s paper backing is punctured, torn, or otherwise compromised, this invalidates a kit. Overexposed kits also result in an error report. In these cases, you will need to start again with a new kit.
Our Visible Mold test is designed to take samples of visible mold. Choose this test kit if you want to spot test for mold.
Our Airborne Mold test is designed to test for mold spores that are in the air. Choose this test if you have concerns about your air quality and airborne mold.
That is a difficult question to answer since there are no established ‘safe’ levels of mold, and more importantly, individuals have dramatically different resistances to mold. If you received test results back and have determined that there are potentially harmful health effects associated with the mold, you should consult with your healthcare provider regarding further exposure. The following questions may help you answer that question:
- How widespread is the contamination? Is it inside a cabinet? Or is it inside a wall cavity, or under the entire carpet pad?
If it is a small area you can close, seal it off until it can be cleaned properly by a professional. If the contamination is widespread or you do not know the extent of the contamination, you should probably contact a professional in your area for advice.
- Are any of the occupants particularly susceptible to mold or lung problems, like persons with existing respiratory disorders, the young, the elderly, or the immune suppressed?
If so, it is recommended to err on the side of caution and discontinue any possible mold exposure to these individuals.
- Is the mold airborne? Is the mold in an occupied area?
If you received a lab report back from tape lifts and the types of mold listed have potential health effects associated with it, we recommend contacting a professional in your local area to take air samples for you. A professional must take air samples because specialized equipment is used. Having air samples taken will let you know if the mold you sent in on the tape lifts has contaminated the air. We highly recommend having an exterior/outdoor sample taken at approximately the same time as the interior samples so you will know what is considered normal for your area this time of year.
- Have you been experiencing any health problems that you think may be due to mold exposure?
Usually when a customer asks this question, he/she is referring to Stachybotrys, because that is the particular type of mold that received so much media coverage in the late 90s and 2000s. Although Stachybotrys is black in color, so are many other types of mold. Do not assume that you have Stachybotrys just because the mold is black.
You do not want to discount the importance of the other types of mold that may be listed on your report! Just because you do not see the word(s) Stachybotrys or Black Mold on your report does not mean that there may not be a potentially harmful mold present. Please look up the type of mold detected on your report on our glossary of terms for a better understanding of the type of mold you are dealing with.
Most molds are considered allergenic and some may be toxigenic, so if you are going to disturb mold with cleaning methods, you increase your chances of exposure to the mold particles. A good rule of thumb is that if the contaminated area is small and the material is non-porus, it can be cleaned by traditional methods. Porus materials, on the other hand, are difficult to clean because of the tiny microscopic holes in the material. The root type structures of the mold can grow down into the holes and make it hard to clean completely. For more information, you can visit the EPA’s website or OSHA’s website.
If you received a lab report back that had high or abundant levels of potentially dangerous types of mold, we usually recommend that you hire a professional to inspect your home or business. If you need help finding a professional in your area to take air samples, we may have a referral for you! You can also find professionals on the Internet or in your local phone book.
Postage prices can vary depending on how many samples you are sending in! Please check with the Post Office or shipping company for the correct amount of postage –many times more than one stamp is required.
Please note that if your mold kit reaches us without the proper amount of postage, our lab is responsible for covering that cost and you will be charged additional fees. We strongly recommend taking your package to the Post Office for weighing so that you can be sure that you can apply the correct postage amount.
For general customers, please click here for a list of our products available for purchase.
Alpha Energy also maintains relationships with several state radon programs that offer free or discounted test kits to residents. To see if your state has a program, check the “Buy” dropdown at the top of the page!
If you are a business or state-affiliated agency looking to order in bulk, give us a call to get information about our bulk pricing! You can follow the bulk prompts through our general line: (800) 324-5928.
For most tests we recommend using a Short Term test kit, especially for preliminary and exploratory testing. If you are looking to do a secondary test, you may want to use a different type of radon test. You can refer to our flowchart to help decide which test is right for you!
There are several steps to take in this situation:
- Contact us so that we can have the shipping company initiate a trace on your package. Oftentimes they can locate it and will get it sent to you!
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: (800) 324-5928
- Be sure to have your order number when you contact us!
- If your package has been stolen or cannot be located, we are able to replace your order! If this is the case for your package, we will send you an affidavit to fill out and sign for us. Once we receive the affidavit back from you, we will send your reorder to you.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fax: (972) 242-8860
Our Kits & Lab
Having the test kit serial number ensures that you have permission to access the results for or update information about your kit. To protect your privacy and confidentiality, Alpha Energy cannot disclose test information without the serial. If you are wanting to search for your results on our website or must contact our lab for any reason, you will need the serial!
- Be sure to make a note of your test kit serial for your own records!
For information on where to find the serial, please refer to our FAQ! It is not the barcode on the retail packaging.
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.
The Short Term test kits have an indefinite shelf life! As long as they have been sealed up in their plastic bag, do not have any sort of damage to the paper side of the kit, and have been stored under normal room temperature conditions, they should be fine to use. First Alert, LabTech, and Kidde kits all use Short Term tests.
Long Term (Alpha Track) test kits generally have a shelf life of about one year. These kits should have a sticker that states by what date the test should start by for a valid reading. If you have any concerns about your kit being expired, please call us at 800-324-5928 and have your test kit serial number ready!
Radon in Water test kits do not expire.
- Note: while the kit may not expire, some information may become outdated, such as the postage needed to send back your kit. Please check to ensure that you are using the correct amount of postage when returning your kit.
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. FC123456. This is not the barcode on the outside of the retail packaging! First Alert, LabTech, and Kidde kits are all Short Term tests.
For Long Term (Alpha Track) tests, your serial number is located on the top of the black disk canister. It would be a series of 7 numbers and include a dash before the final number (note: older kits may not include a dash in the serial). These should all begin with the letters “AT” — it may not be included on the canister itself, but will be listed on the information sheet.
For Radon in Water kits, the full test kit serial is listed on the box. It should begin with the letters “RW” and be followed by a 5-6 digit number. The vial itself will also list the number, but without the beginning letters.
Here at Alpha Energy Labs, we strive to keep your personal information confidential; we do not release your confidential information (name, address, results, etc.) to third parties – the only exception being when required by law or regulatory agencies. We do not sell your information for marketing purposes.
If you have any questions about the regulations specific to your state, please contact your state radon contact! You can find your state’s radon contact number by searching here.
For Mail and Deliveries to the Lab:
We are open to receive mail packages any day that USPS delivers, including Saturdays! To view the Post Office’s holiday delivery schedule, visit their website:
- USPS: https://about.usps.com/news/events-calendar/postal-holidays.htm
- FedEx: https://www.fedex.com/en-us/service-guide/holiday-schedule.html
- UPS: https://www.ups.com/us/en/help-center/shipping-support/operation-days/us.page
For Lab Reporting and Customer Service:
Customer service and lab reporting days are Monday – Friday 8:30am – 5:30pm CST, unless noted. Holidays falling over a weekend are observed on the closest Friday or Monday to said
We are closed on these holidays:
- New Year’s Day*
- Memorial Day
- Independence Day*
- Labor Day
- Thanksgiving Day* & day after
- Christmas Day*
- Note: customer service and lab reporting typically close around 12pm CST on the day preceding these holidays.
Unlike other analytical laboratories, Alpha Energy does not charge an additional fee for analysis for most test kits! First Alert, Kidde, and Alpha Energy kits fall into this category.
- Tests conducted in New Jersey require a $10 administrative fee per test kit to cover the regulatory 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.
- LabTech kits do have an analysis fee of $15, plus any other costs that may apply (New Jersey administrative fee, optional Lab Rush Service, etc.) Your test information sheet will
indicate if an analysis fee is required. If you are unsure, check your test serial. Serials starting with RA (i.e. RA123456) require a $15 analysis fee.
Once your radon sampler and information sheet are sealed up in the return mailer envelope, you should ship your kit as soon as you can! We must receive your kit within 10 days of being stopped for a valid reading. We also recommend placing your kit(s) in another shipping box or envelope for extra protection during shipping.
- We strongly recommend a shipping service that includes tracking to ensure delivery to our labs – UPS, FedEx, or USPS Priority or better are all good options.
- For information on our return shipping via FedEx SmartPost, visit our webpage! This is a timely and affordable option for return shipping.
- To view the current postage rate for USPS First Class mail (using stamps), click here. If you ship via USPS First Class, you do so at your own risk! Alpha Energy cannot be responsible for postal errors and we have seen an increasing rate of error with this service.
- Certain tests include prepaid USPS First Class postage. If your return mailer envelope says “No Postage Necessary if mailed in the United States,” no stamps are required to ship via USPS. Please understand that we cannot guarantee delivery in a timely manner via USPS First Class (see note above).
Rates for shipping vary depending on what carrier and service you use, shipping distance, and the number of kits being sent. You will need to check with your carrier for accurate pricing. Please note that we must receive your kit within 10 days of being stopped for best results; after that time period, we cannot guarantee a valid reading.
- We do offer return shipping via FedEx SmartPost! FedEx has been one of the most reliable carriers we’ve worked with and their SmartPost service is affordable and easy to use. For more, visit our webpage!
- We strongly recommend purchasing a service that includes tracking. This is the best way to ensure delivery to our labs and to know whether or not we have received it!
- Recently, USPS has increased the amount of postage needed for First Class mail (using stamps). Some older tests may contain outdated information, so be sure that you are using the correct amount of postage! For the current postal rates, click here.
We do not recommend shipping with USPS First Class (using stamps) as they are the least reliable carrier. We also advise placing your kit(s) inside another shipping box or envelope for extra protection during shipping!
We are open to receive mail any day that the Post Office is delivering! This includes Saturdays and some holidays.
- Saturdays we are open to receive mail, but we do not have customer service and typically
don’t issue reports on Saturdays.
- For a list of the Post Office holidays, visit their website.
Please note that Alpha Energy cannot be responsible for delays in transit. We recommend using a shipping service that includes tracking to ensure delivery. We always complete the time-sensitive portion of analysis on the day a kit arrives in the lab, so lab closures for weekends or holidays do not affect test accuracy.
Yes, you can ship multiple kits together in one shipping package! Be sure that each radon sampler is well sealed in its own individual mailer envelope (along with its own info sheet and payment, if applicable) to prevent cross contamination. If purchasing our Lab Rush Service, each individual envelope should be marked for rush as well. Then, ship your package to our physical address:
- Alpha Energy Labs
2501 Mayes Rd
Carrollton, TX 75006
Testing & Procedures
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.
For Radon in Water, you will need to capture a sample of your water in the sampling vial. Take the water from as close to the water source as possible. You will want to ensure that the water goes through as few filters and aerators as you can; if you’re able to, disconnect any filter or aerators from the water source, as these release radon into the air and skew your test results. View some more detailed instructions for the Radon in Water test by clicking here!
For Short Term: the test officially stops when the radon sampler gets sealed up in the return mailer envelope (along with your info sheet). Please be sure to seal the kit completely, using tape if necessary. First Alert, LabTech, and Kidde kits use Short Term Radon samplers.
For Long Term (Alpha Track): the test officially stops when the test device gets sealed up in the return mailer envelope (along with your info sheet). Please be sure to seal the kit completely, using tape if necessary.
- Please be sure that you have exposed your kit for the proper amount of time! You can view our instructions for your specific kit by clicking here.
Be sure to read the instructions about sampler placement before starting the test! This will help you understand how to conduct the test properly. Instructions are on the back of the information sheet that was included in your kit.
- For both Short Term and Long Term test kits, testing begins once the radon sampler is exposed to air. To begin testing you will need to open the plastic bag and pull out the sampler for placement.
- Immediately place the sampler in a location that fits the guidelines listed in the instructions.
- Don’t forget to write the start dates and times on your info sheet! The testing times and dates are important for our lab calculations, and without them we cannot obtain results.
You should place your radon sampler on the lowest livable level on your house at least 2 – 7 feet above the floor. Make sure that it is on a flat surface at least 6 inches away from any wall or large object (anything large enough to impede air flow). You are also able to hang your sampler from the ceiling if you cannot set it on a surface within the 2-7 ft. testing window.
- Avoid areas and rooms with high humidity. If the charcoal absorbs too much moisture, your test could result in an error (this is also why we recommend a 48-hour exposure). Definitely do not place it anywhere where it could get wet!
- Make sure that the paper side is facing upwards! This allows air to reach the charcoal and is necessary to obtain accurate results.
- Typically you should place it near the central portion of the room, but it is fine to place it elsewhere. Gas permeates and fills the volume of space that it’s in, so placing it on one side of the room versus the other shouldn’t be an issue!
- For real estate transactions, you should place two radon samplers four inches apart, following the other guidelines listed above. Laws can vary by state, so ask your state radon contact about what laws are in place for your state!
For tests being run in areas that have high humidity, the best thing to do is run your kit for the minimum exposure time – 48 hours. This greatly reduces the chances of your kit absorbing too much moisture for us to get a result. If you’d like, you can also run a dehumidifier during testing as well. We do not recommend running any fans/vents
Usually, one test kit is sufficient! All our radon samplers (First Alert, LabTech, Kidde, and Alpha Energy) are good for levels up to 2,000 sq. ft. This does not refer to your entire house square footage; just the level or floor of your home that you are testing! If you are wanting to find out the radon levels for different floors or rooms of your home, then you will need more than one test kit. Each area you want to test needs its own radon sampler!
We recommend testing in the lowest livable level of your house (usually the basement), but it could be a bit up to your preference! Here’s why we recommend the basement:
- Radon sits a little heavier than the air, so the highest concentration of radon is usually found in the lowest level of the building. By testing in the basement area you are basically testing for the “worst case scenario” of your home’s radon levels. It’s very rare that a house with low radon levels in the basement has high radon levels in the above floors!
- Radon naturally occurs in the soil, so by testing the lowest level you are also testing closer to the most likely entry point of radon gas.
- Most real estate transactions require that the lowest livable level is tested. This includes a level that could be lived in or modified to live in, so even an unfinished basement. Tests done for legal transactions or other legal reasons usually require specific testing directions; make sure to follow whatever procedures are set forth for your particular situation. You can find some more info here.