If you are buying or selling a home or you’ve never had your home tested for radon, getting a professional Radon Test can protect you and your family from serious health issues. Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas, and because of its nature, it’s in virtually every home in the U.S. and nearly impossible to detect without the proper equipment.

While most homes in the U.S. have some level of radon, nearly 1 in every 15 homes, that’s at least one per neighborhood on average, have higher than safe levels of radon. Prolonged exposure can have devasting health effects including aggravated asthma symptoms, increased respiratory infections, and lung cancer. 

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers, and the second leading cause of all lung cancers cases. Unfortunately, radon is not predictable, but it is preventable! The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends you test your home for radon at least once every two years.

Just because your home was safe from radon in the past, doesn’t mean it’s safe from radon now. Changing temperatures, climate, and weather can all affect radon levels

What is Radon?

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas formed by the decay of uranium in soil and rock. Radon typically enters the home by seeping through cracks in your home’s foundation and building materials, like wood and sheetrock. Over time, radon gas can build up, leading to poor indoor air quality and health issues for you and your loved ones.

When to Conduct a Radon Test

All homeowners should test their homes for radon. Radon has been found in all 50 states and in all types of houses, so it is impossible to predict which homes are safe without conducting a proper test. Radon levels can also change over time, making frequent testing important. Homeowners should consider testing their homes for radon if they haven’t tested in more than two years, if anyone in the household is experiencing unexplained respiratory issues, or if there have been significant changes in the soil, weather, or landscape. 

Home sellers should also test their home for radon when preparing to sell. This helps home sellers take proactive steps to mitigate radon and avoid unexpected delays during the home selling process. Likewise, home buyers should add a professional radon test as part of their home inspection. If the test results show elevated levels of radon, you as the buyer have options to negotiate for radon mitigation or ask the seller to adjust the sales price to cover mitigation costs before closing the deal on your new home. 

As a professional home inspector, I’ve conducted many Radon Tests over the years, and I’ve seen high radon levels found in homes of all shapes, sizes, and ages. From 100-year-old Victorian homes to brand new construction homes, radon is prevalent. Nook & Cranny Home Inspections LLC urge’s every home buyer and homeowner to have their home for tested for radon if they haven’t done so already.

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What Homes Are at a Higher Risk for Radon?

While every homeowner should test their home for radon, here are a few factors that may indicate higher risk:

  • Location: Some regions are known to have higher radon levels than others. The Appalachian Mountains and Upper Midwest have higher levels, while the Southeast has lower levels. Keep in mind that low risk areas do not guarantee that your house is safe from potentially elevated radon levels.
  • Foundation Type: Older homes with dirt floors in the basement have nothing to slow the rise of radon gas from the soil. Exposed crawl spaces also allow radon to rise into living areas unchecked. 
  • Foundation Damage: Radon can seep through concrete, but foundation slabs and walls with cracks make it easier for radon gas to seep in at a faster rate. 
  • Other Construction Gaps: Any gap in the structure can allow radon to enter the home. Common examples are gaps around pipes and wires, construction joints where walls and floors meet, and open sump pumps. 
  • Well Water: Groundwater can also contain radon. If you rely on a well, have your water quality tested regularly for contaminants, including radon.

Radon Mitigation

If radon is identified in your home, you should take immediate steps to reduce radon levels. On average, radon mitigation costs can range between $950 and $1,500, depending on your home’s floorplan, size, foundation type, construction quality, and location. A radon mitigation system is the best way to reduce radon levels in your home because it uses pipes and fans to remove the gas from beneath the foundation before it can enter your home.

How to Reduce Radon and When to Take Action

If your home has radon levels above 4 pCi/L, you need to take action against radon. Here’s a few steps you can take to mitigate and reduce radon levels in your home: 

  • Seal cracks in walls and floors using plaster or caulk 
  • Install a radon mitigation system 
  • Increase air flow by opening windows and using fans to help circulate the air 
  • Install a water filtration system that removes radon from water 

Use radon-resistant construction materials when completing a home renovation project

Radon Risk Factors and Health Issues

Radon Risk Factors and Health Issues

Radon is a known carcinogen, or substance that can cause cancer with prolonged exposure. In fact, the EPA has found that radon causes between 15,000 and 22,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. Moreover, radon is present in roughly 20%-30% of asthma cases triggered by environmental factors at home. 

Because it can take years for radon symptoms to come to light, detecting radon early can protect you and your family from developing devastating health issues in the future. 

Radon is a serious issue in many homes and can lead to major health problems. If you are unsure about the radon levels in your home, getting a Radon Test by a professional can help protect you and your family from its deadly consequences. 

At Nook & Cranny Home Inspections LLC, we’re here to not only help you protect your most valuable investment, but the well-being of you and your family. Some will use almost every excuse in the book about why someone doesn’t want to get a Radon Test – it’s expensive, it’s inconvenient, my home’s fine… – but I’m here to tell you that knowledge is power and knowing if your home has radon is worth it. 

To learn more about radon & radon testing, contact Nook & Cranny Home Inspections LLC today!

Nook & Cranny Home Inspections

Nook & Cranny Home Inspections