Radon is a colorless, odorless gas and comes from the natural breakdown of uranium found in water, rock and earth. As this occurrence happens, radon rises to the surface into homes, water and air. Like carbon monoxide, radon is extremely harmful because there are symptoms of dizziness, headaches, nausea or anything that would alert someone that they are breathing in the deadly gas. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, the first being smoking. It is of great concern for youth because they take more breaths than adults, which means their aspirations are twice that of an adult. Therefore, radon testing is extremely important because often there aren’t any symptoms related to the gas until a doctor diagnoses one as having lung cancer.
To ensure that the home you are planning to buy does not have elevated levels of radon, you should have the home tested. If time is of the essence during the real estate transaction, short term tests can be completed in a matter of days. Long term tests take three months or longer.
Remember, elevated radon levels can be fixed and can almost always be reduced to below 4 pCi/L. If testing confirms radon levels in the home to be at or above 4 pCi/L, consider having the radon level reduced before you move in. Talk with your real estate professional or settlement attorney about how to put fixing the home into the purchase agreement.
Sellers should consider beginning a long-term test as soon as the decision to sell is made. In many cases, the time interval between deciding to sell and writing a contact or going to settlement is greater than the 91 days or more required for a long-term test. The fact that your home does not have elevated radon levels could be a selling point to prospective buyers. If radon levels are elevated, have your home fixed.
Home inspectors or licensed Radon professionals are often hired by buyers or sellers to examine a home before a real estate transaction is finalized. A professional inspection can alert a seller to existing or potential problems such as radon, allowing the seller to address them so as not to discourage a potential buyer. Before a buyer purchases a property, he or she wants assurances that the property does not have structural or other problems that could lead to unanticipated expenses after purchase.
Basic home inspections cover all major mechanical and structural systems such as heating, electrical, plumbing, and roofing. If the home already has a radon mitigation system, have it checked for proper operation. Many home inspectors are qualified to inspect for environmental problems, including measuring radon levels. If your home inspector is certified to measure for radon, consider asking him to test the home.
Radon Professionals in our area include: