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Sun Nuclear Radon Monitor


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I purchased a Sun Nuclear Radon monitor model 1029, I can use it here in Wisconsin. Since having it I have had a number of error codes come up which has resulted in the company telling me to put in a special code to clear, then sending it, after the 3rd incident to the company for repair. I get it back and now I have a new error code and have to send it back once again the the manufacturer. They are sending me a loaner, a lesser model, to use until they replace my monitor. So, the question to the masses is this, is anyone else finding these types of problems with monitors. I have asked around and it seems the company does have some quality issues.

Thanks for the feedback.

[:-bigmout

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Originally posted by Darren

Terry,

Please explain....

Darren

From their web site:

Power Supply: Transformer converts 120 VAC to 12 VDC. Optional 220 VAC power supply available.

Sensitivity: 2.5 counts per hour per picocurie per liter.

Measurement Range: 0.1 to 999 picocuries/liter (pCi/l).

Operating Range: 45 degrees F to 95 degrees F.

Detector: Diffused-junction photodiode.

Accuracy: ±25% or 1 pCi/l, whichever is greater after 24 hours.

Measurement Intervals: 1 hour.

Data Port: RS-232 9 pin D connector allows printer data to be sent to PC.

Battery Backup: One 9 V alakaline battery supplies 24 hour operation. LED indicated low battery.

Tilt Switch: Disturbance Detector.

Weight: 2 lbs.

Size: 8" * 4.7" * 2.5"

Display: 3 digit LED display

Displayed Values:

Long-term average- Accumulates until device is reset.

Short-term average- rolling 12 hour average

Key Lock: Inhibits tampering with the device.

EPA Evaluation: US EPA accepted.id="blue">

It's this part that is troublesome:

Accuracy: ±25% or 1 pCi/l, whichever is greater after 24 hours.

After 4 hours the monitors should have adjusted to their new environment.

I have two of these and used them for years however a 25%+- dead-band is not what I would call precision measurement.

I send them in yearly for calibration, do a semi-annual cross check and I do a QA/QC check every 10 tests and the biggest difference I get between the two is a .1 pCi/L.

Even though the test may come back at 3.5 I still advise the client to do a long term test once their in the house.

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Interesting;

I have owned 7 -1027's for about 9 years now. When I first started, I was what NJ considered a radon measurement business. That meant I was able to deploy, retrieve, print-out and send out a report (on my letterhead) of the results. Every year, as part of my business license renewal, I was required to conduct a proficiency test.

I had to send a monitor to a registered lab (this one was in Ohio), they would set it in a chamber for a specific period. They then shipped it back and I was required to give them a report on the readings. The window I had to be within was 25% +- (this is probably where Sun gets their 25% from).

Anyway, the first year I was within 22%. I passed but it was clear the unit was out of calibration. (NJ required a calibration every year up to 2 years ago, now it's every 6 months).

For all the following years I conducted the proficiency test, I was ALWAYS within 2%. I can also remember some of the numbers; 1 year it was 60 (pCi/l), 1 year it was 2.5 (pCi/l). This tells me my units were pretty darn accurate.

NJ has now changed the standards. When the units are being calibrates, a calibration number is written on the unit as well as a 'backgound' reading. These numbers must be used to determine the exact final reading.

As a side note; I stopped being a measurement business because of the cost and the fact I had to cough up $400.00 every two years so a member of the state radon division could come to my office and conduct an audit (the audit never lasted more than 1 1/2 hours). They would go over all my paperwork and bust my chops because of the most stupid infractions you could imagine.

Somehow, I can't get over the fact I had to pay someone to bust my chops (something like having a lead engineer on your construction job).

So, with all that; the Sun 1027 are pretty accurate ( as you stated when all your duplicates come back with less than 1%)

Darren

www.aboutthehouseinspections.com

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I have owned 25+- 1027s and only had one problem; broken port. Did not buy the newer models. We had 12 1025s and never had a problem with them. Overall, I am happy with them.

My attitude has always been that the screening is only a "snap-shot in time" and don't get too worked up about any variation. I make sure each client understands exactly what we have done and what the limitations are.

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Thanks for all the feedback. I guess that the unit I received was probably one bad egg out of all that is sold. I like the software that comes with the 1029 and the graphic display of everything does give me sort of an OH Neat Factor with clients and realtors. I am sort of a techno-geek. This is my first monitor and when you purchase something that has issues one starts to doubt the product/company. They did, to their credit, overnight me a 1028 model to use until they replace my 1029.

Thank you again. [:P]

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  • 6 months later...

Curious as to if any of you can help me with an answer about a Radon test. They used a Sun Nuclear Unit and for some reason the readings spiked, it then settled throughout the entire 2 day test. The average was 7.3 but had spikes of 8.5, 9.5, 10.9. 10.2. The house is vacant and was closed up. The only thing I can think of is that this house has a power driven exhaust fan on the water heater. Could it be possible that as this exhaust fan pulled air out of the house that it also pulled radon gas into the house? These peaks were about every 3 hours which could be every time the water heater refired and the exhaust fan kicked in. The fan does by design run for a fair amount of time. The off peak readings had a lot of 5.1, 4.4, 4.8, 7.1, 5.8 and 6.5 readings. The report says the unit was calibrated in May.

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It is normal for radon levels to fluctuate. This is why the test should be a minimum of 48 hours. There are many factors that effect the radon level diurnal cycle. Some reasons for the fluctuations include: Changes in air pressure, wind, temperature difference between inside and outside, operating mechanical equipment, rainfall, …

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Originally posted by Jnelson

Curious as to if any of you can help me with an answer about a Radon test. They used a Sun Nuclear Unit and for some reason the readings spiked, it then settled throughout the entire 2 day test. The average was 7.3 but had spikes of 8.5, 9.5, 10.9. 10.2. The house is vacant and was closed up. The only thing I can think of is that this house has a power driven exhaust fan on the water heater. Could it be possible that as this exhaust fan pulled air out of the house that it also pulled radon gas into the house? These peaks were about every 3 hours which could be every time the water heater refired and the exhaust fan kicked in. The fan does by design run for a fair amount of time. The off peak readings had a lot of 5.1, 4.4, 4.8, 7.1, 5.8 and 6.5 readings. The report says the unit was calibrated in May.

It is what it is! Yes, you will have fluctuations in the readings that is why you use an average. You should have an EPA average and also a machine average. The EPA is what you go with.

I have seen spikes from a sump pump kicking on and emptying out the sump.

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I look at the 1027 the same way as doing the minimal requirement (nothing more) when it comes to home inspections. Yes it meets the requirements but that is it.

The few test results that I have seen from these machines makes me question why there were 6 or more 0.00 pCi/L readings in a 48 hour test (never had that on the machines I have used).

I have never heard anyone that taught a class to become a radon tester/mitigator talk good things about this machine (always negative). There is a reason why this is a cheap (in dollars) machine.

Now I hear that people are not happy with the other two models; quality at its best.

Scottpat Posted - Dec 15 2007 : 07:48:34 AM

I don't know of anyone who has been real happy with the 1028 or the 1029.

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  • 3 years later...
  • 1 month later...

When a Sun Nuclear comes back from the factory, it is accurate to 25% or 1pCi/L. It is the not the machine mechanics that is the problem, it is the process. Think of radon measurement as polling. We don't count every piece of radon. We take a sample, based on our sampling procedure you get an accuracy rating. When they say a poll is accurate to + or - 5%, it is not because the people counting the results are not very good at math. The polling (sampling) method is the reason for the inaccuracy. The Sun Nuclear detector size, number of counts, and detector type are the reason for its 25% inaccuracy rating. The rating is based on science and math. The real world (not lab rating) accuracy of a Sun Nuclear is 25% or 1 pCi/L.

All rationalizations aside, inspectors use Sun Nuclear because they are cheap. Cheap machine means poor accuracy. Deal with it or use better equipment. I doubt any current users will see the light and change. I am hoping to get people to think before they purchase.

Have you ever met an inspector that never walks roofs. They will argue all day long that roof inspections from the ground is just as good as walking roofs. The reality, they hate heights and or walking roofs. No amount of rational will get them to admit it or change. If you have, then you know how I feel about the Sun Nuclear crowd.

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accuracy of a Sun Nuclear is 25% or 1 pCi/L.

Pretty good accuracy...

and all 10 of mine

match Bowser Morner with less than .5 % annually...

Not sure what you are using,

But I know my Sun Nuclear 1027's will outservice all competitors...

My 10 1027's

will meet and/or exceed the accuracy of a Femto...

Guaranteed....

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25% accuracy is pretty good. In what way is that accurate? You believe the Sun Nuclear is better that the Femto Tech? The government set low test standards to get a lot of cheap testing done. The therory was, a lot of bad tests (25%) beats a few good tests. Your Bowser calibration means nothing, zero, nada, zilch about the accuracy of the machine. Calibration has nothing to do with the machines real world accuracy. The Femto tech can scientifically prove accurate to 3%. The EPA can only verify calibration to 5%, so that is the official accuracy. It can not beat Femto Tech, that is the science and math. The Sun Nuclear is cheap not accurate. What machine does the EPA use? Which machines do the different state environmental agency use? By the way, they give the Government no price break, they pay what I pay. Why do the Scientist use Femto Tech, math and science.

Guaranteed

Math and Science

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Just sat thru a class by Andreas George. He claims to be the one who conducted the original experiments with the uranium miners in the 60's-70's. He explained that he was in the meeting when they decided that the measurement must be within 25%. He said a fella from ASTM said it should be 10%. Somebody else suggested 50%. He suggested they split the difference and choose 25%. They agreed. There was no scientific basis for that value.

At the time the testing equipment was only reliable to 4 pCi/L so that became the standard action level. It had nothing to do with what is actually safe or dangerous. New testing devices are more accurate and that is one of the reasons WHO is lobbying for a lower action level.

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