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Five Questions to Ask About Radon When Buying a New Home

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QuickScreen Radon Test

QuickScreen Radon Test

Every homeowner should test for radon, but it is especially timely to test when moving to a new home

LOMBARD, ILLINOIS, UNITED STATES, July 12, 2022 / -- With packing, inspections, and offer negotiations, checking for radon may not be on the list when buying a home. Ask these five questions to help protect family and pets from radon, a cancer causing gas.

1. What is radon?

Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that forms when the uranium in natural stone below a home or building decays. The gas decays into harmful radioactive atoms that get caught in the respiratory tract when breathing. Over time this exposure causes lung cancer.

Radon levels found in a home can vary depending on ventilation, construction methods, area geography, and outdoor weather. Radon levels can vary from home to home within the same neighborhood. Even if homes in an area have low radon levels, it doesn’t mean that all homes in that area will have low radon levels.

2. Am I required to test for radon when buying or selling a house?

The EPA recommends testing a home for radon before putting it on the market. If levels are high, then lowering radon levels through mitigation may be necessary. If mitigation has been completed or if radon levels are low, then this can be shared as a selling point with a buyer.

When buying a home the EPA recommends knowing what the indoor radon level is before closing on the home. If the home already has a radon mitigation system, then obtain as much information as possible from the seller about the system. Even if the new home has a radon reduction system, it is recommended that the home best tested for radon prior to moving in and every two years afterwards.

Thirty-seven states currently require sellers to disclose radon test results to buyers with 22 states imposing either a civil or criminal penalty for misrepresenting radon levels. Local governments have various ordinances about presale testing and disclosure – so it is important to ask a realtor the requirements in the area. Radon testing may also be a requirement of mortgage lenders.

3. How do I test for radon when buying a new home?

During the moving process, time is of the essence. With radon testing, longer test durations provide more accurate your results. However, there are short-term 2-4 day charcoal test screens or 10-day alpha track tests that can provide results when a home sale is pending. With the Radonova QuickScreen test, the test is deployed in the home for 48-96 hours and then mailed to the lab for quick analysis. The Radonova Rapidos test is the most sensitive short-term test on the market. It requires at least ten days of testing and will provide emailed results within 7-10 days after being returned to the laboratory.

Radon levels can vary from room to room and hiring a professional radon measurement contractor can provide peace of mind. Many home inspectors are certified to measure radon levels. Basements, crawl spaces, and first floor rooms such as bedrooms, living areas, and home offices should be tested. For homes with well water, testing the water may be a requirement in some jurisdictions. Radon from well water can vaporize while showering or bathing and potentially be inhaled. Professional radon inspectors will know how to measure the entire property accurately and where to test within the home. The test should be performed by an NRPP, NRSB, and/or state listed radon testing contractor. To find a National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) contractor in your state, search the NRPP website by your zip code.

4. What happens if radon levels are high in the home I’m buying?

If radon levels in the new home are above 4.0 pCi/L then a radon reduction system is a solution. Mitigating elevated radon levels should be done by an NRPP Certified Mitigation Specialist. This can be done prior to purchasing the home or the mitigation cost can be factored into the buying price. Reducing radon levels in a home may consist of:

- sealing cracks in floors and walls
- installing a radon sump system
- providing sub-slab depressurization/ventilation system with underground pipes and an exhaust fan
- improving the ventilation within the home.

Once the radon mitigation system has been installed, then retest to confirm that the radon levels have been reduced to safe levels.

5. Should I test for radon if the new home already has a radon mitigation system?

Yes, radon testing is always recommended when moving into a new home. The EPA recommends testing for radon every two years even if a radon mitigation system is installed. Do-it-yourself radon tests are easy to perform and will provide the comfort of knowing if home residents and pets are safe from radon exposure.

A digital instrument, such as the EcoQube, can provide radon levels in individual rooms after mitigation. The digital instrument provides continuous, digital monitoring of home radon levels that can be easily viewed on a Smartphone. Warning notifications are sent in real time if radon levels are higher than recommended. Home radon levels can be monitored any time and from anywhere.

Whether buying or selling a home, understanding the local and state requirements for radon testing will ensure compliance with the law and help provide awareness of this cancer causing gas within a home.

About Radonova
Radonova is the laboratory of choice for numerous government radon surveys, as well as other public, and private sector large-scale measurement contracts around the world. A truly global laboratory, Radonova is active in over 50 countries and has performed millions of measurements.

Zan Jones
Radonova, Inc.
+1 331-814-2200
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