“Do I need a radon test?” This is a question that I get asked often by buyers; even those who have purchased a home before. I often tell buyers it depends where they are buying and the structure of their home (read: does it have a basement). That said, a radon test is an additional test you can opt for with most home inspection companies. I often work with Capitol Home Inspections when going through a home inspection and asked one of their owners, Jenn McMurdy, to explain a little more about what radon is and why it is important for you to consider testing for it. Her article below tells you a lot more about radon. If you have questions after reading this though feel free to contact Capitol Home Inspections so they can answer any lingering questions you have.
Many people have heard of the dangers of mold and lead. They often go down a list of questions in reference to what their risks are when it comes to these dangers in the home. But the question that seems to always go unasked is one of the most important ones, “What about radon gas?”
Surprisingly, a large number of people are not familiar with radon. You cannot see, smell, or taste radon and without testing for it, you will not know if it is in your home at a dangerous level. Radon is a gas that can seep into buildings from the earth, accumulate, and pose a substantial health risk. While it can accumulate in a home at dangerous levels, exposure to radon is a preventable risk. By taking steps to test radon levels in your home, you can prevent unnecessary exposure.
“You can’t see, smell or taste radon and without testing for it, you will not know if it is in your home.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that as many as 20,000 lung cancer deaths are caused each year by radon. It is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. By bringing awareness to our community, more people will become alerted to the dangers and have their homes tested.
There are many ways to test for radon and one of the most effective ways in the real estate transaction is through the use of a continuous radon monitor. This machine is the size of a shoe box and takes hourly readings for a minimum of 48 hours. The home must maintain closed house conditions 12 hours prior to the test as well as throughout the testing period in order to ensure accurate results. At the end of the 48 hour process, an average is provided to the home buyer allowing them to know how to proceed.
For homeowners, they can schedule a test with a local provider that uses Continuous Radon Monitors or they can use a kit, available at local hardware stores or online, for under $25. If your home does have an elevated level of radon, a qualified radon mitigation contractor can make repairs to solve the problem and protect your family.
January has been designated by the EPA as National Radon Action Month. What can you do? Take action and have your home tested. Spread the word and encourage others to learn about radon and test their homes. The U.S. Surgeon General recognizes radon as a health risk and recommends that all homes across the country be tested for radon. Testing your home, and making repairs if necessary, is a small price to pay for the health of your loved ones. The world is full of unknowns and potential hazards like radon, but thankfully, we can eliminate it before it can hurt us. Life is short enough—don’t let something as easy to fix as radon make it even shorter.
Capitol Home Inspections is a full service inspection firm owned locally by Ray & Jenn McMurdy. Ray McMurdy is a Virginia State Licensed Home Inspector with a New Residential Structure Certification. He is also a Certified Inspector of American Society of Home Inspectors and holds a certification by The National Radon Safety Board as a Radon Measurement Specialist. More questions about radon or how to prevent it in your home? Visit the EPA’s website at www.epa.gov/radon or Capitol Home Inspections atwww.CapitolInspections.com.