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5 min read Feb 16, 2023

Radon Inspection: What Makes it so Important?

Radon inspection

If you’re looking to purchase a house, your real estate agent has most likely informed you how vital it is to have a buyer’s home inspection before closing the deal. But did you know that having a radon inspection is also a considerate idea? Measuring indoor radon levels can provide information about an essential part of a home’s air quality and will inform you whether your ideal property has a radon problem.

If it does, your agent can work with you to reduce the price to pay the radon mitigation expenditures. What if you already own a property but have never had it tested for radon? It is never too late to implement this critical health and safety precaution. It’s simple to buy a radon test kit at the hardware store, but the best approach is to hire a professional home inspector who knows how to run radon tests. Here’s what you should know.

What is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is a non-invasive visual examination of a property. Home inspections reveal significant defects in the property that an untrained eye can miss. Inspections paint the real picture of the true condition of the property.

A home inspector will assess your house and provide valuable insights into the property’s interior and exterior, electrical systems, and more. Specialty home inspections, like radon, mold, and asbestos, are also done. One such inspection is the radon inspection.

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What Exactly is Radon?

Radon is a colorless and odorless gas that naturally arises in the soil. Radon gas occurs when elements such as uranium and radium degrade in the rock and soil underneath your home. For those who can’t remember their high school chemistry lesson, uranium and radium are radioactive. 

A common cause of lung cancer in the United States is radon gas. Radon isn’t a concern outside since it evaporates fast into the environment, leaving only trace amounts of the air you breathe. 

In contrast, if your house contains tight seals – as many modern homes are because of high-quality insulation and air sealing, you’re at risk. It can happen because radon may become trapped within and accumulate in dangerous amounts. Because radon is odorless and invisible, the only way to determine whether you have a problem is to have a radon inspection.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) both advocate testing the radon level in your house for safety, even if you don’t reside in a high-risk region.

What is Radon Inspection?

A radon inspection gathers radon gas or radioactive particles for analysis. 

This sample allows the inspector to calculate the overall level of radon in the air in your house. As radon gas rises from the earth, radon testing equipment should be installed on your lowest occupied floor: the first floor in most buildings, but the basement for most homes.

Radon Testing Types

Radon testing falls into two types: active and passive. A charcoal canister is the most typical passive test. These tests contain activated charcoal, which absorbs radon gas and measures it in a lab. A passive test, as the name implies, is stored in your house during the collecting time (typically 48 hours, but some tests last up to a week).

To ensure an accurate result, keep your windows closed for the time being. A high radon level would be “hidden” from the test if the windows were left open, as the gas would escape and give you a misleading result. While a hardware store kit is simple, it may not provide the most precise or comprehensive measurement of radon in your house.

These kits are often tiny, and their location can influence the sort of reading you receive. Hiring a specialist will guarantee that the results are correct. An active radon testing gadget is a meter that remains plugged in continuously to measure radon levels. A specialist should install this device to determine how radon levels fluctuate.

They may be used for either short-term or long-term testing, allowing your inspector to customize the tests to your specific requirements. An active radon monitor is frequently installed as part of a comprehensive radon mitigation system to lower radon levels in your home. The radon detector ensures that the system is functioning accurately and that your house is safe.

When you receive your radon inspection, the reading will be in picocuries (pCi/L). The EPA recommends that every residence with more than 4 picocuries of radon per liter of air undergo radon mitigation to lower harmful gas levels. At 2.7 picocuries, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends taking action.

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How Much Does a Radon Inspection Cost?

The price of radon inspections varies depending on the home and circumstances. Over 48 hours, a one-time test will identify the level of radon – measured in picocuries per liter of air, or pCi/L. DIY EPA-approved tests start at about $15. But the average cost of a professional radon inspection is around $411. Nevertheless, a home radon inspection should ensure your home’s integrity. It is easier to implement a solution when you detect a problem early.

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