If you are shopping for a new home, your real estate agent probably informed you of the importance of a buyer’s home inspection prior to closing the sale. However, did you know that it is also a good idea to have a radon gas test conducted? Measuring indoor radon levels will provide insight into an important aspect of a home’s air quality and will let you know if your dream home has a radon problem.
What is radon?
Radon is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas that, according to the EPA, is present in the environment. Radon can cause lung cancer over time. Radon originates from the natural breakdown of uranium in the soil. It can be in the air you breath and can enter any home through cracks, construction control joints, gaps, holes, and other unsealed openings in the foundation. Since we cannot see or taste radon, testing is the only way to know if elevated radon levels exist in a home.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer overall, and the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Elevated radon levels have been measured in homes in every state. The amount of radon in the home is largely dependent on the amount of uranium under the home. Uranium is ubiquitous. It is found everywhere. No home is exempt: new or old, well-sealed or drafty, with a basement or without a basement. According to the EPA, radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year.
Radon Gas Testing
The EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General recommend that all homes be tested for radon. Furthermore, the EPA recommends that you hire a professional to conduct a radon test for more accurate results. Call Stavlas Home Inspections today for radon gas testing in the Baltimore, Annapolis Metropolitan Area.
Radon gas does not make a home “unusable” and should not deter you from purchasing or living in your dream home. Radon, as a problem, has an easy and specific solution: radon mitigation. Corrective measures, i.e. installation of a radon mitigation system, are recommended for radon levels in a home that are over the EPA-established action level of 4.0 pCi/L. The EPA also recommends that you “consider taking action” when radon levels are between 1.9 and 2.0 pCi/L as there is no safe level for radon.
Radon levels can be managed and reduced to acceptable levels with mitigation. Because radon mitigation systems require expert installation, the costs typically ranges between $800 and $1500, depending on the size of the home. The cost of radon mitigation is a major reason why real estate agents often suggest a radon test along with a professional home inspection.
Note to Sellers: It makes sense to conduct a radon test. Just as a pre-listing inspection can help identify issues that should be addressed prior to listing a home, the same can be said of radon gas testing. Great test results can be advertised in the listing or made available to potential buyers. IF you discover that a radon mitigation system is in order, your agent can advise whether investing in a radon mitigation system makes sense based on local market conditions.
Note to Homeowners: If you never had a radon gas test performed when you purchased the home, it is never too late. Remember that the EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General recommend that every home be tested since radon is a major cause of lung cancer. Knowing the radon levels in your home will let you know if you need to install a mitigation system for your safety.
Contact Stavlas Home Inspections today at 410-428-5507 to schedule your radon gas testing. You will be glad that you did!