When buying a home, remember to test for radon

April 5th, 2016 Contact: Pamela Turner  |  706-542-9165  | More about Pamela

You have found a house that fits most, or maybe even all, of your requirements. Great!  

Now it’s time to hire a home inspector to ensure the house is structurally sound and safe.

An increasing number of home buyers are going one step further and having the house tested for radon. Radon is a naturally occurring colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that over time can be detrimental to your health.

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer among smokers. Radon gas seeps into homes through cracks in the foundation, exposed soil, gaps in joints and several other ways.

It becomes dangerous when it accumulates in high levels that you inhale. There is no way to know the radon level is high unless the house is tested.

There are a few different ways radon testing can be done:

  • Ask your home inspector if they offer radon testing
  • Hire hire a certified radon measurement specialist to do the testing for you
  • Perform the test yourself with a short-term kit purchased through the UGA Radon Program or a hardware store.

An important factor in your decision will be how quickly you need to receive the test results.

Receiving results within the due diligence time frame means you can negotiate with the seller to add a mitigation system if the radon level in the house is high (4.0 picocuries per liter or higher).

If the test is conducted after the house is purchased, or test results arrive after the due diligence period, any mitigation costs will likely fall on the new homeowner.

Finding high levels of radon in a home should not be a deterrent to purchasing the home.

Every home with an elevated level of radon can have lower, safer levels of radon with the installation of a mitigation system.

Likewise, if a house you are interested in buying already has a mitigation system installed, it should be not a cause of concern provided the system is working properly.

If a house already has a mitigation system installed, it means the previous homeowners were proactive and took it upon themselves to reduce the level of radon within the home. You shouldn’t see this as a problem. This is actually a healthy home. 

Having a home inspected for radon prior to purchasing is a great idea. Once you purchase a home, you should test for radon every two years to make sure the level has not increased over time.

You want and expect your home to be safe for you and your family.

Ensuring that a new-to-you home has low levels of radon is an excellent way to be proactive about your health.

For more information on radon, testing your home, and finding a certified mitigator, go to www.UGAradon.org or contact us at ugaradon@uga.edu.

Categories: Financial Planning, Housing and Consumer EconomicsExtensionRadonFamilyHealth
Tags: uga extension, radon testing, radon

In this category: Health