Having your home tested for radon is a relatively inexpensive way to protect your family’s health. As a homeowner, the cost to test your home for deadly radon exposure and correct any unsafe levels is well worth the peace of mind it will bring you and your family.
What Is Radon?
Radon is a colorless and odorless gas. Radon gas comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in the environment. Uranium occurs naturally in our environment in low levels in rock, soil, and water. As the naturally-occurring uranium breaks down, radon gas is released and can present a significant health risk in your home.
Why Is Home Radon Exposure Dangerous?
Although radon is present in very low, safe levels in the outside environment, it becomes a health risk when the gas accumulates in the inside air. Radon gas can enter your home through gaps and cracks in your home’s foundation. The EPA recommends all homes be tested for radon and mitigating action be taken when elevated radon levels are present.
Radon exposure is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Radon exposure is responsible for an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States. Almost 3,000 of these deaths occur in people who have never smoked. Among smokers or those with secondhand smoke exposure, the compound effect of radon exposure presents an even greater cancer risk than smoking alone.
Radon Testing and Real Estate Transactions
If you recently sold or purchased a home, you probably went through the process of having the home tested for radon. Although radon testing is not required prior to the sale of a home, it is a common piece of the real estate transaction and should not be overlooked.
As the buyer of a home, you can opt to have the home tested for radon prior to closing. If testing reveals radon levels in excess of the safe threshold, the buyer can negotiate for the home seller to install a radon mitigation system as a condition for closing. Radon mitigation systems typically cost between $1,200-$1,500 installed. If the seller does not comply with this requirement, the buyer can choose to walk away from the sale. In addition, state laws require the seller to disclose known unmitigated, unsafe radon levels to potential buyers. For those reasons, most sellers will agree to install a radon mitigation system as a condition for closing.
Having your Current Home Tested for Radon
Even if you are not in the process of a real estate transaction, you can and should have your home tested for radon. You can contact a qualified home inspection service to start the process. You can also test your home’s radon levels using a single-use home test kit. However, it should be noted that a professional testing service provides a much higher degree of accuracy and is recommended over any DIY test kits.
Monitoring Your Home For Radon
Ongoing monitoring of radon levels is important to ensure the air in your home remains safe for your family. Even if you already have a radon mitigation system in place, it is important to periodically retest your home’s radon levels. Radon detectors can be purchased at home improvement stores or online. These detectors cost, on average, $200 and can provide continuous monitoring of your home radon levels. Single-use home radon test kits are also an inexpensive tool that homeowners can use to periodically monitor the radon levels in the home.