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Home Buyer’s and Seller’s Guide to Radon

Radon

The EPA Recommends:
If you are buying a home or selling your home, have it tested for radon.
For a new home, ask if radon-resistant construction features were used and if the home has been tested. Fix the home if the radon level is 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher. Radon levels less than 4 pCi/L still pose a risk, and in many cases, may be reduced.
Take steps to prevent device interference when conducting a radon test.

The EPA estimates that radon causes thousands of cancer deaths in the U.S. each year.

* Radon is estimated to cause about 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year.

The numbers of deaths from other causes are taken from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 1999-2001 National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Report and 2002 National Safety Council Reports.

Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas. You cannot see, smell or taste radon. But it still may be a problem in your home. When you breathe air containing radon, you increase your risk of getting lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General of the United States has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.

You should test for radon.

Testing is the only way to find out your home’s radon levels. The EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon.

You can fix a radon problem.

If you find that you have high radon levels, there are ways to fix a radon problem. Even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels.

If You are Selling a Home…

The EPA recommends that you test your home before putting it on the market and, if necessary, lower your radon levels. Save the test results and all information you have about steps that were taken to fix any problems. This could be a positive selling point.

If You are Buying a Home…

The EPA recommends that you know what the indoor radon level is in any home you are considering buying. Ask the seller for their radon test results. If the home has a radon-reduction system, ask the seller for information they have about the system.

If the home has not yet been tested, you should have the house tested.

If you are having a new home built, there are features that can be incorporated into your home during construction to reduce radon levels.

1. Why do you need to test for radon?

a. Radon has been found in homes all over the U.S.

Radon is a radioactive gas that has been found in homes all over the United States. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water, and gets into the air you breathe. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above, and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Radon can also enter your home through well water. Your home can trap radon inside.

Any home can have a radon problem, including new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements. In fact, you and your family are most likely to get your greatest radiation exposure at home. That is where you spend most of your time.

Nearly one out of every 15 homes in the United States is estimated to have an elevated radon level (4 pCi/L or more). Elevated levels of radon gas have been found in homes in your state.

b. The EPA and the Surgeon General recommend that you test your home.

Testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. The EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon.

2. I’m selling a home. What should I do?

a. If your home has already been tested for radon…

If you are thinking of selling your home and you have already tested your home for radon, review the Radon Testing Checklist to make sure that the test was done correctly. If so, provide your test results to the buyer.

No matter what kind of test you took, a potential buyer may ask for a new test, especially if:

the Radon Testing Checklist items were not met;
the last test is not recent, (e.g., within two years);
you have renovated or altered your home since you tested; or
the buyer plans to live in a lower level of the house than was tested, such as a basement suitable for occupancy but not currently lived in.
A buyer may also ask for a new test if your state or local government requires disclosure of radon information to buyers.

b. If your home has not yet been tested for radon…

Have a test taken as soon as possible. If you can, test your home before putting it on the market. You should test in the lowest level of the home which is suitable for occupancy. This means testing in the lowest level that you currently live in or a lower level not currently used, but which a buyer could use for living space without renovations.

The radon test result is important information about your home’s radon level. Some states require radon measurement testers to follow a specific testing protocol. If you do the test yourself, you should carefully follow the testing protocol for your area or the EPA’s Radon Testing Checklist. If you hire a contractor to test your residence, protect yourself by hiring a qualified individual or company.

You can determine a service provider’s qualifications to perform radon measurements or to mitigate your home in several ways. Many states require radon professionals to be licensed, certified or registered. Most states can provide you with a list of knowledgeable radon service providers doing business in your state. In states that don’t regulate radon services, ask the contractor if they hold a professional proficiency or certification credential. Such programs usually provide members with a photo-ID card which indicates their qualification(s) and its expiration date. If in doubt, you should check with their credentialing organization. Alternatively, ask the contractor if they’ve successfully completed formal training appropriate for testing or mitigation, e.g., a course in radon measurement or radon mitigation.

 
Wayne Wolven
Certified Home Inspector
direct 661-212-7951
Call today for 10% off on your client next home inspection
37311 47th St E, Palmdale, CA 93552