Though home testing of radon is relatively simple for those who want to do it themselves, this type of testing will give you one average number of the concentration of Pico Curies per liter of air for the entire time it was employed. So when you go to the hardware or building supply store and buy one of the several brands of kits (remember to check the back of the package to compare the various costs of the lab fee) you will get one average concentration level as a single number- whether it was exposed for 24 or 36 hours. During those periods, you might have an afternoon where kids are running in and out of the house or one of the evenings where a window is inadvertently open. With such a short testing periods, an afternoon or one evening of high ventilation could bias the test quite a bit when conditions are not kept closed for the entire testing period.
Yet some people may want to analyze the testing period during a particular part of the day or even hourly segments. By hiring a service (there are two in Fairbanks) to bring in a monitor you can get detailed information taken which can be looked at from various time segment composition on a graph. The machines used look like a small metal box, with a sniffer tube coming out of one of the ends. The device can be placed in various parts of the house so that unlike charcoal kits (or even long term alpha track kits), the data can be looked at to see what portions of the home run higher concentrations.
Such a service is not as cheap as short term do-it-yourself kits; in fact having a professional come in may be four times expensive. Yet it is an opportunity to provide insightful information for those who want to “understand” their home!