If you’re planning to buy a property any time soon, you might want to order a home inspection to get to know that home inside and out. The basic home inspection is usually just the visual inspection of the walls, doors, windows, roof, piping, foundation, etc. of the home. The odor of a home can also be included in the inspection report that we get. However, there are those things that our five senses just can’t detect such as radon levels. Radon testing is usually an additional service of home inspectors.

So, why do we need to know a home’s radon levels and is the additional inspection cost worth it? Let’s find out why it’s important to test for radon prior to your home purchase.

Know Thy Enemy

What exactly is radon? According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), radon is an odorless, invisible, radioactive gas that comes naturally from the ground (source: http://www.epa.gov). It can enter any building, such as homes, and become trapped inside these structures without any warning. Radon is harmful to one’s health and it poses a significant risk to any household. Exposure to high levels of radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. This is why radon is often called an “invisible killer”. Not to fret, though. There are ways to test for radon and if an elevated level is found, mitigation is easy enough to ensure the health and safety of future occupants in the home.

Here are some more facts about radon from the American Lung Association:

  • High levels can be found throughout the United States, making testing critically important
  • Second leading cause of lung cancer and leading cause among never-smokers, accounting for 21,000 deaths annually
  • Unsafe at any level but mitigation should be done when levels are 4.0 pCi/L (picoCuries per liter) or higher

How Do I Know The Radon Levels?

A lot of home inspection companies offer radon testing for an additional fee. Before testing, the home inspector usually instructs sellers and their agents to have the home in closed conditions — windows and doors should be shut most of the time, if not all the time. A radon testing machine is then placed inside the home and it remains there for two to three days. The machine reads the radon levels throughout those days. Once that’s done, the home inspector will send buyers and their agents a radon report. You’ll know from the test results the radon levels as well as the inspector recommendations.

We also know of a Free Radon Testing Kit! Click HERE for more information.

Will I Still be Able To Buy if radon levels Are high?

So you’re in the middle of a home purchase and you decided to do the radon testing. The radon report came out and it turns out that there is an elevated level of radon in the home. The question now is, will you need to back out of the home purchase? Well, you can, but you don’t have to! If the radon levels are found to be high, it does not necessarily mean that the house is unlivable in perpetuity or that you won’t be able to continue purchasing the home.

In order to reduce radon levels in the home, you will need a professional to mitigate the issue. This will cost money to get this done, so make sure your broker has the negotiating skills to get the best price for the home.

Now that you know more about the dangers of radon, do you think the additional cost for radon testing is worth it?