By Peter C. Foller, Ph.D.
Inspecting homes for radon can be problematic. Are you always confident you have identified hotspots? Do you often need to return to homes to re-initiate inspections or otherwise wonder if your valuable time is being used most effectively? Given the seasonality of the ‘chimney effect’ in homes, are your customers often interested in seeing longer-term results for themselves? New technology is now available that can help overcome such issues.
Ecosense, Inc., based in Silicon Valley, was formed in July of 2019 to professionally introduce the novel ion chamber approach to radon measurement pioneered by FTLab of Korea to the North American market. FTLab’s consumer product, the RadonEye (RD200), has been well received throughout its test marketing on Amazon; new however, Ecosense is has now begun to actively market both this consumer product and the newly introduced RadonEye Pro (RD200P), which has been designed especially for fleet use by the professional home inspection community in performing the simultaneous inspection of multiple properties.
Your efforts to keep your customers safe remain as important as ever. A 2019 study of radon levels in 11,727 residential buildings published by the University of Calgary [Ref. 1] concluded, “…across a broad North American region… newer homes [are now] containing greater and greater radon…” This is likely due to new energy efficient construction being more air-tight, the use of air conditioning reducing external ventilation, and the larger footprint of newer, mostly single story, homes.
This article describes how the devices can be used together to improve the quality of home inspections for radon and simplify the workflow for inspectors all the way from set-up to report generation.
Technology and features
The RadonEye (RD200) and the RadonEye Pro (RD200P) share the same radon detection technology, a pulsed ion chamber read by super-sensitive U.S.-patented analog measurement electronics capable of 30 CPH per pCi/l. The approach used is very fast, updating readings every 10 minutes and achieving +/- 10% of the final average value within one hour of set-up.
Our technology is very accurate and in academic studies has compared favorably to the RAD7 by Durridge, a benchmark professional monitor positioned at several times Ecosense’s pricing. [Ref. 2]
Ecosense has introduced the RadonEye (RD200) at $179 and the RadonEye Pro (RD200P) at $795.
The principle differences between the RadonEye (RD200) and the RadonEye Pro (RD200P) are the Pro’s WiFi communications and its software capability for the management of multiple devices and report writing. Both products are easily set up via Bluetooth communications to either an Android or iOS smartphone. In the case of the Pro model, additional input relating to the location and client may be optionally input through your smartphone to allow keeping track of up to ten RadonEye Pro units placed in multiple homes.
Performing an inspection
In performing a home inspection, the RadonEye (RD200) and the RadonEye Pro (RD200P) can be used together in the following way. Once synched with your smartphone or other Bluetooth enabled mobile device, one or more of the low cost consumer devices (along with the Pro model in continuous mode) can be used as a ‘sniffer’-- because they are so fast, such units may be moved around a home every 30 to 40 minutes to find areas with high radon levels. Once the most meaningful area is identified in which to perform an inspection, the Pro model can be set up for a timed inspection (24 or 48 hours according to your preference).
Depending upon whether or not the home is occupied and power is on, you may either use 110 VAC power or battery power (we provide mounting connections as an optional accessory and a rechargeable Li-ion battery may be purchased from our preferred vendors). Depending upon your customer’s preferences, you can set up to use the customer’s WiFi or leave your own hotspot.
During a timed inspection you can review data locally with Bluetooth to mobile device communications, or, due to our WiFi communications capability, you can review data remotely on the road with your mobile device or back at your office with your desktop. If you see that the device has been disturbed or moved (due to our embedded accelerometer), or if there are odd spikes in the data potentially due to window or doors having been opened, you have the ability to remotely access to the device and fix the measurement environment by communicating with your client.
At the conclusion of an inspection, the RadonEye Pro (RD200P) generates a report that may be both viewed through your mobile device or desktop and then printed.
Thus, we hope you agree having several Ecosense devices may be a good option for your business. For the convenience of our customers we have set up a relationship with Bowser-Morner (Dayton, Ohio) for US customers and RSIC for Canadian customers for the annual calibration of the RadonEye Pro (RD200P).
As well, working with Ecosense products provides you the opportunity for an up-sell by offering a consumer product to customers so that they can keep a closer eye on potentially EPA actionable situations and monitor seasonal changes. This offers an important dimension to your work in that the University of Calgary study referenced above also concluded, “…short term radon tests display a 96-99% imprecision (i.e. failure) in predicting radon levels between seasonal extremes.” To encourage continued monitoring, incentives are available should you refer a customer to us for the purchase of a consumer device.
In conclusion, we expect the use of our products in combination will save you time in performing your inspections, improve the thoroughness and quality of your inspections, and save you time in report writing. Improving your productivity, the low cost of our devices gives you the ability to inspect multiple homes simultaneously monitoring or modifying your inspections as necessary from your mobile device or desktop.
Ecosense stands by to become your trusted partner in your mission to insure your customers have healthiest possible air in their homes.
- F.K.T. Stanley, et al., Scientific Reports, 9, Article number 18472 (2019)
- “Intercomparison of Commercially Available Active Radon Measurement Devices in a “Discovered” Radon Chamber,” Marco Carmona, et al., Radiological Health Engineering Laboratory Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Consortium for Verification Technology under the Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration, award number DE-NA0002534.