Facts About Radon
and Radon Testing
How to Perform Radon Tests when Buying a Home
Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that's formed during the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Radon exits the ground and can seep into your home through cracks and holes in the foundation. Radon gas can also contaminate well water.
Health officials have determined that radon gas is a carcinogen that can cause lung cancer. Studies show that radon is more of a risk to smokers, but nonsmokers have a slightly elevated chance of developing lung cancer, too. The only way to find out if your house contains radon gas is to perform radon tests.
EPA Radon Studies
The EPA offers a look at what they believe to be the risks of radon at different concentrations for 1,000 people who smoked and were consistently exposed to a certain level of radon during their lifetimes.
Radon Risks for Smokers
With exposure to 10 pCi/L, about 71 would get cancer, equal to 100 times the risk of dying in a home fire.
With exposure to 4 pCi/L, about 29 would get cancer, equal to 100 times the risk of dying in a plane crash.
Radon Risks for Non-Smokers
With exposure to 8 pCi/L, about 3 would get cancer, equal to 10 times the risk of dying in a plane crash.
With exposure to 4 pCi/L, about 2 would get cancer, equal to the risk of drowning.
Acceptable Radon Levels
The Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, recommends you install a system to reduce radon gas in your home if the level of gas is 4 picocuries of radon per liter (pCi/L) or higher.
Facts About Radon Gas
There are two basic types of radon gas testing devices, passive and active.
You can order a radon test kit and set it up yourself or you can hire a professional to perform the test.
Passive Radon Testing Devices
Long term radon tests take more than 90 days, but provide an accurate picture of the average amount of radon in your home. Since time is an issue, home buyers usually perform short term radon with either an active or passive testing device. Most short term radon tests are completed in 48 to 96 hours.
How To Test for Radon
The EPA recommends that you perform radon tests on the lowest level of the home that could be used for living space without doing renovations.
If you use an active device, the tester
will give you instructions about what you should and should not do
during the test.
Tips for First Time Buyers
Buyer Frequently Asked Questions
10 Things Buyers Should Avoid
What To Do First: Buy or Sell?
Making an Offer
Simplify the Home Buying Process
Relieving the Stress of Packing
Land Buying Advice
Real Estate Glossary
Facts About Easements
Facts about Radon & Radon Testing
Lead Based Paint Facts & Disclosures
Mold in the Home
Saying "I Do" to First Homes
What is a CMA and Why Do You Need One?
How to Negotiate with Sellers