The requirements for lead paint testing are pretty rigorous when it comes to doing any sort of home improvement on a home that was built before 1978, and while there are certain products that are commonly used, that include either 3M’s products or D-Lead ones, there are also other options that include the use of a handheld XRF analyzer gun, sometimes referred to as the portable XRF lead testing gun.
While these machines may originally seem expensive, and why they are commonly used only by lead paint professionals, they do have a purpose in being able to satisfy the RRP requirements for contractors looking to do home improvement. Yes, their price may seem prohibitive to some in the beginning, but there are very good reasons why you may choose to go down this route instead with the benefits they provide.
Various companies also provide great financing options for machines like that, making it a lot easier to just pay the monthly fee rather than having to come up with all the money in the beginning.
If you are doing a lot of testing, you will quickly come to realize that paying $3 every single time will add up when you have to test several surfaces, and in addition they also will disrupt the surface and leave an unsightly mark, which will be bothersome to cover up, if your home improvement in itself isn’t going to do the job. If you are often doing work for someone that simply may want to assess the potential risk without necessarily applying additional coats of paint afterwards, you don’t want to be going around the house leaving little marks with a knife everywhere you are testing, which is the advantage of the XRF to the usual testing kits.
You can’t go wrong with the industry standard
The XRF analyzer is really the industry standard when it comes to lead paint inspections, especially when you have to abide by the EPA’s RRP rule, which has helped increase the public awareness of the issue, because of the threat that the heavy metal poses to people, especially long term exposure to children.
While their price tag may seem scary, we promise you these machines are game changers. These machines are exactly what you would have hoped you had gotten many years ago rather than running around with those little sticks. No longer will you have to worry about inconclusive readings and trying to figure out what color a specific liquid is, and how it compares to the standards set by the EPA. Yes, it can often be relatively hard to figure out if the amount of lead in a particular test is in fact within compliance or not, whereas an XRF lead testing gun will simply give you a reading that you can go off of.
While Red Means Lead may have been a catchy phrase that 3M came up with back in the day, it is not an easy one having to deal with when all you want to do is to simply know if your test is good enough or not.
Yes, on Check4Lead we do recommend the D-Lead tests over 3M’s but if you want to be take seriously and be able to provide a high quality lead based paint inspection, the last thing you want is having to retest a sample site because you are unsure of the results.
The XRF is a powerful machine allowing you to check for lead paint through the use of x-ray.
How does an XRF analyzer work?
You may or may not already know that XRF stands for X-ray fluorescence, effectively using an x-ray beam to measure what it is you’re hoping to measure by displacing electrons from their atomic orbital positions.
When these electrons are released, they will show a specific burst of energy that can be measured and from that, the machine can determine which element it is encountering. Different elements will have different bursts of energy, why it is possible to classify the elements on this basis.
The x-ray affects the electrons with a sufficient amount of energy from within the x-ray tube at which point this energy interacts with the atoms, and from the difference in energy between the beam emitted by the gun and the binding energy that holds the electrons in place in the atom, causing displacement of these electrons. As displaced electrons are knocked out of their orbit, vacancies will arise, which prompts the atom to immediately fill the void and fix the instability. Atoms from further away for the nucleus will jump to take the void spot, at which point they lose some energy. The energy lost will be what the XRF analyzer measures to see what that energy loss corresponds to in terms of the elements.
While it is interesting to actually know how these machines work, in terms of compliance with RRP regulation, it is more interesting to know that these will not have some of the same issues that the more basic test kits have, like false negatives, why many kids families prefer having these tests used rather than simply going online and finding one of the DIY kits.
The price of a handheld XRF analyzer for lead testing
While you may be concerned with the initial price of a handheld XRF analyzer for lead testing, the reality of the matter is that you aren’t just buying a piece of equipment. You are rather vastly expanding your service offering, and improving the rate at which you are able to conduct the necessary work and ensure RRP compliance.
There are a bunch of different XRF analyzers and they have varying price tags depending on what you are looking for. You can generally expect that an XRF gun from a reputable company can cost you between $18,000 and $50,000, with the upper limit being a significantly more advanced machine also.
We are not in the business of selling you an unnecessarily expensive machine for your purposes, and you will not need to pay $50,000 either in order to be able to provide assurances of RRP compliance, but you will need to expect that you are paying more than the $3 per test swab that you have been used to paying, and that you will be recouping your cost as you go.
It is a commitment
While you can get your every day contractor to be able to use the test kits after they have taken the necessary RRP certifications, you aren’t likely to just hand over such an expensive piece of equipment to the next guy that you hire, why this investment will of course be a commitment as it does come with a certain learning curve.
Bruker S1 Titan
The Bruker S1 Titan is one of the finest pieces of equipment in this category and one of the most common that people are looking for the price of and while you may be able to find them costing between $11,000 and $17,000 for refurbished models, we will be happy to assist you with the price of a new one, should you have an interest in it.
With this piece of machinery, you get a machine from a reliable company like Bruker, that was founded back in 1960, is even traded publicly, and you are sure that they will be around should there ever be any issues with the product, as opposed to Chinese manufacturers that might not even have an office in the US. This piece of machinery does have a lot of features that helps make it delightful to work with including its weight, which comes in at about 3.3 lbs, which includes the battery, making it one of the lightest tube-based handheld XRF machines you will be able to find today.
If speed and accuracy are any features that are important to you, this is a great model being able to provide you with the fast analysis that you need without compromising the accuracy, making the S1 an important contender to consider. You’ll also be happy to hear that the tough housing that this machine comes in is great when humid and dusty environments are common where you’ll be taking this piece of equipment. With its touch-screen color display, SharpBeam optimized X-ray geometry and 4 different configurations, there is an S1 Titan series model for anyone out there.
Depending on whether you want to use this just for lead, or whether you plan on using it for other materials also, you may see if one of the models is superior over another. The different models include the 800, 600, 500 and 300 S1 Titan series that have different specs for the different pros.
Niton Xlp 300
A popular alternative to the Bruker S1 Titan is the Niton Xlp 300 which costs around $7,500 for a used model on Ebay, while you may be able to find it down to as little as $5,500 if you go on other websites.
The Niton XLp 300 is another popular machine in the market, which has one of the same advantages as does the model we mentioned above and that is that this machine is produced by a company with an outstanding track record. In this case, we’re talking about Thermo Fisher, a company that has been around for a long time as well. In fact, while the the company as it is named today was founded in 2006 as a merger between Thermo Electron Corporation and Fisher Scientific International, the former which was founded in 1956 and the latter which was founded in 1902, you are also buying it from a company that has been around for a long time and knows what they are doing.
If you are performing lead abatement work, it’s important that you are able to show that the necessary limits have been reached, or it may not pass the inspection, and Thermo Fisher’s own website talks about how this piece of machinery is great for that very specific purpose, including all the other residential purposes you can use it for when it comes to testing for lead.
Do you think this might be the piece of machinery you’ve been looking for? We’ll be happy to see if it fits your purpose.
Olympus Delta XRF Analyzer
Olympus Delta XRF analyzers come in different categories and with different capabilities for what they are able to scan for. The one y ou would likely require for your purposes would simply be the Olympus Delta Element XRF Analyzer which costs $18,000 when new.
The price range for a handheld Olympus XRF analyzer gun is between $30,000 and $35,000. The lower cost will usually get you the classic model whereas the higher cost will get you the Delta Pro.
While some people may be more so looking for an XRF analyzer that is for sale and one that they can keep using for a long time, there are others that may simply need a piece of equipment that they can use for a limited amount of time, where you may not wish to actually go out and acquire a machine, but rather just rent one.
Good news, these XRF machines are also up for rental and can be rented by the week or month, depending on what your needs are.
These XRF guns aren’t the only types of equipment that will be able to test a structure for the presence of lead, but they may very well present themselves with a bunch of advantages over the alternatives, so if you have been looking to get this piece of machinery, there is a good reason to do so, even if you are comparing it to some of the disposable alternatives.
When you are buying an XRF gun, you aren’t just buying something that can provide you with a great level of testing capability when it comes to lead, but depending on the machine that you are getting, chances are that you will be able to use it for a whole range of other things as well and test surfaces for all sorts of interesting materials that you or the building manager may be interested in getting a better idea as to whether they should be present in the paint or not.
While our website is very much focused on lead paint testing, there may be other reasons why you landed on this article to start off with, as it does still show up for a bunch of XRF related searches, when people are doing their research.
While you might be able to use all sorts of technologies to test for the presence of the various materials that you are interested in, not all options are made the same in the sense that they do not offer some of the portability that the XRF guns featured on this website may. While some people call it a portable XRF, an X RAY Fluorescence machine, a scanner of a a spectrometer, when you use this type of machine you won’t have some of the same issues that people run into when they are using the 3M options, the ones that are the most popular product on our website. One of the main things that homeowners want to know is basically whether or not it is safe to live in a house that has lead paint in it, but they don’t necessarily want to be sacrificing the aesthetics just to figure it out. What that means is they basically don’t want someone to come out and ruin all the walls that they have in the house by leaving the little marks that are required when you are using other types of testing methods.
While those testing methods can be absolutely great in providing the necessary testing when it comes to the RRP rule, not all families are in the process of remodeling their homes when they are looking to get the results to these nagging questions. If you are a homeowner, perhaps you just found an old home that you were considering putting a bid on, but the seller won’t accept that you are damaging the walls in the due diligence process where you are looking to have some of these questions answered, but you also don’t want to be moving into a home that you don’t know is necessarily safe for your family to move into, why a testing method that doesn’t damage the walls can end up being highly attractive for both the buyer and the seller.
If you are the person providing the services of actually testing for either lead, radon or other materials that homeowners may be interested in, it is important to market yourself in the appropriate way, making sure that homeowners understand some of the many benefits associated with the type of testing that you are providing over that of alternative ways.
It’s important that they know about the testing requirements when it comes to doing any sort of home improvement that may affect the paint, if they are doing work on an old building, but it is also important that they understand everything involved in it.
Most homeowners that we come across simply believe that it is enough that they test one surface, and that that makes them compliant with the RRP regulations. We suspect that that’s the reason why there are still a lot of users that end up coming to our website looking for some of the test kits that only have 2 tests in them. They simply don’t realize that these tests will only allow them to test one surface at a time, whereas the use of an XRF machine doesn’t just speed up testing, but it means that they will not end up with 100 different little knife marks everywhere around the house.
Most homeowners also do not understand that the use of an XRF machine isn’t just better for testing in terms of leaving surfaces unaffected, but it also ends up being significantly faster than is the case when some unskilled contractor has been handed a lead swab kit for the first time, standing at the front door not knowing what they are in fact supposed to do with it. If the contractor hasn’t even been properly trained in using the test kits, how should the family be sure that they are actually able to provide them with adequate assurance that the job is being done properly? While there are requirements on the part of the EPA regarding the RRP law, and how contractors should be properly trained in order to use the equipment the right way for lead testing, we have heard many stories of contractors doing their absolute best to circumvent the rules.
If you are ever out at a customer, and they are being hesitant in whether or not the XRF way is the right one to choose, simply refer them to our page. While we would love that everyone using the 3M kits were in fact doing a proper job, and testing all the surfaces that they are required to test, they probably aren’t.
A handheld spectrometer is a great device that can not just help homeowners stay safe but can also add additional revenue to your business!
If you actually start doing the math on some of these machines, you will find that you don’t need to be doing all that many jobs before you start seeing that the economics on them is better than going through a vast amount of test kits. For instance, if you are spending $400 on test kits every single month, that is almost the same as buying a used machine with just the equivalent of a year’s worth of tests.
We understand that it is obviously a major business decision if you choose to look into either an Olympus Delta, a Niton XLp, a Bruker S1 Titan or one of the other handheld devices available on the market, and we’d be happy to provide you with further guidance on the topic should you wish get a more extensive list of the different options, although those are by far the most popular and notable options we find our users looking into. If you are in fact paying this much for such a piece of equipment, we heavily encourage you to get it from a reliable manufacturer rather than choosing one that you don’t even know will ensure that you are RRP compliant.
Are you ready to upgrade your lead testing equipment, or are you still preferring running around using lead swabs? Reach out to us today, and we’ll help you see if there’s a better solution for you.