When the EPA published an updated version of its radon map of Ireland last May, the agency probably had no idea how popular it would be. The interactive map showed the varying levels of radon and the areas of the State where radon was most likely to be at higher levels.
It estimated that 170,000 homes around the State could be at risk from the colourless, odourless gas, a multiple of the previous estimate of 45,000 homes that dates back to 2002.
Within hours, the site was struggling under the weight of traffic from homeowners who wanted to find out if they were now in a high-risk area.
It finally creaked to a halt, and the EPA took the decision to disable the map while it worked behind the scenes to increase capacity.
But a map only gives you part of the picture. While it can give a risk level, it can’t tell you what is going on inside your own home. And even the EPA recommends that all homes and premises are monitored for radon to properly assess the risk. That means installing a special monitor for a few months in the most-used rooms of your home.
The arrival of the Airthings View Radon was timely. The monitor keeps an eye on the quality of the air in your home, looking at different parameters such as humidity, temperature and radon levels.
It is battery operated – and they were included in the box, so we were off to a good start – and connects to wifi so you can link to the Airthings app to give you more detail about what’s going on in your home.
The View Radon is part of a wider ecosystem that monitors everything from mould risk in your home to the level of chemicals, or volatile organic compounds that come from paint, air fresheners, candles and so on. It is all the stuff you would like to know about in your home, so that you can crack open a window or run an air purifier for a while. If you suffer from allergies, it’s also handy to know what impact the air quality is having on your health.
The View Radon has a few things going for it. The display is easy to read, easy on the battery and easy to understand too. The display shows the level of pollutants in the air with a wave of your hand.
It works on a traffic light system: green for good, orange for caution and red for danger zone. That means you won’t have to know too much about pollutants to understand what is a dangerous level. A smiley face and a green light means all is good at this moment in time, and if you need more data you can go to the app or the web dashboard to see what exactly is going on.
I live in an area considered low risk for radon, something that was reflected in the readings picked up over several weeks by the View Radon. It needs seven days to calibrate for the general readings in your home, and at least 30 for the radon readings; the EPA suggests a three-month monitoring period for the gas.
It was interesting to see the fluctuations over time as the weather changed and the temperature outside plummeted. Overall, the levels remained low, well below the national reference level for radon in Ireland, which is 200 becquerels per cubic metre.
Easy to set up and understand. You don’t have to be tied to the app to understand what is going on with your home’s air quality. However, if you want to get a better idea of what is happening over time, the app provides the trend data you need.
Most importantly, you don’t have to be an expert to interpret the data. Airthings colour codes the data so it is easy to understand – good, fair and poor – without inducing panic.
It’s not cheap, at €199. Regular radon monitors cost between €40 and €60, and will passively collect radon over the course of three months. Then they are sent back to the company you bought them from, which will provide a report on the findings. You don’t get real-time monitoring, though, and the View Radon offers you instant access to the data and trends without having to rely on a third party to provide it.
The View Radon is part of an ecosystem that will give you an overall view of your home’s air quality. You can add mini monitors to measure mould risk, or splash out on the View Plus to try to measure as much as you can with a single monitor.
Easy to use, easier to understand, and portable, the View Radon helps give you peace of mind