What Homebuyers Should Know About Radon

If you’re thinking about buying a home, it’s best to test for radon before the deal is done.

Home sales often occur at a fast pace, leaving little time to check for such problems. But it’s important to do so in order to avoid difficulties afterwards.

Radon is a cancer-causing gas that has secretly infiltrated millions of homes in the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that it causes thousands of deaths each year.  The Surgeon General reports that only smoking is a greater cause of lung cancer.

Radon gas testing is rapidly becoming a common component in the home inspection process.

Radon is a naturally occurring gas which results from the breakdown of uranium, which is found in nearly all soils.

This radioactive gas typically moves up through the ground, penetrating cracks and openings in your home. Radon can be present in building materials or can infiltrate the home through the groundwater; however, these issues alone are often not enough to cause a substantial radon gas problem.

Testing for radon is relatively easy and inexpensive. Home kits are available for those who want to do it themselves. They are easy to use and accurate. The alternative is to hire a company to test your home or a home you are thinking of buying. The most common method of testing involves the placement of a device in the home for a period of two to 90 days.

Annual testing may be required for homes with a marginal gas reading, as levels fluctuate.

As there’s no known safe level of radon gas, certain upgrades can be made to a home to reduce the levels.

A soil suction radon prevention system uses a vent pipe system with a fan installed to draw radon gas from beneath the house and send it to the outside.

In addition, the foundation, crawl space and other cracks leading into the home should be sealed to reduce the amount of gas seepage.