Why You Need a Radon Inspection When Buying a Home
Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive element. It comes from the breakdown of uranium in the soil. Some areas of the United States have high levels of radon. About one in 15 homes has high radon levels, and the one you want to purchase could be it. Read on to learn why you should get a radon inspection when buying a home.
Understand the Health Effects of Radon Exposure
If you're like a typical American, you spend about 90% of your time indoors. Most of that time is spent where you live. Radon is a radioactive gas that causes damage to human cells. It's the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Among people who don't smoke, it's the leading cause of lung cancer. If you do smoke, exposure to high levels of radon exponentially increases your risk of lung cancer. According to the EPA, radon causes more lung cancer deaths every year than secondhand smoke. Radon may also lead to other health effects, including childhood leukemia.
Know If the Home Is Safe
Because radon is a colorless and odorless gas, you wouldn't know if you came into contact with it. The only way to know if a home has high radon levels is to have it tested. Radon is heavier than air, and it will persist in the lowest level of your home. If you planned to create a game room in the basement, your family could end up with a lot of radon exposure. Houses built on slabs can have radon problems on the first floor. Radon testing involves leaving a test kit in the home for about 48 hours. The technician retrieves the kit. A laboratory processes the kit in order to count the amount of radon decay particles. You will get a radon level reading.
No Two Houses Are Alike
Another reason to get the home tested is that no two houses are alike. Even if two houses were built next to each other by the same builders at the same time and using the same materials, they could have different radon levels. You can't make assumptions based on a neighbor's radon test result.
Make an Informed Decision
Having information about a home's radon level allows you to make an informed decision. If the house has very high radon levels, you may want to opt out of purchasing it. However, there are radon mitigation systems that do an excellent job of removing radon from a home's air and dissipating it into the outdoor air. These systems cost $1,000 to $2,000 to install. You may request the seller install a radon mitigation system if the home doesn't already have one. It's still a good idea to have the home tested for radon even if it does have a radon mitigation system. You'll know if the system does a good job at removing radon from the air and maintaining a safe and healthy indoor environment.