It must have been after my 20th home inspection when my client called me and said that the home she had fallen in love had high levels of radon. She was quite distressed and wanted to know how to proceed. I understood her concern.
My client was concerned because of the dangers posed by high radon levels. According to the American lung Association, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon, a tasteless, odorless gas, creates a potential health hazard when its levels in a home are too high. For more information about the health risks associated with radon, click on the following link: http://www.lungusa.org/site/pp.asp?c=dvLUK9O0E&b=35420.
Despite the risk posed by high home radon levels, my client was able to purchase her dream home after all. To solve the radon problem, we successfully negotiated to have the seller install a ventilation system that regulated the air in the basement, thus lowering the radon levels to a safe level.
This experience led me to question whether the radon levels in my home were safe. Radon levels can change over time. Disturbances such as a neighbor's landscaping or digging a new pool can impact a home's radon levels. Because of my concern, and because I had recently turned my basement into a den/recreation room where my twelve year old son and his friends spends lots of his time, I wanted to re-test the basement's radon levels. I had to know it was safe. Having my home tested was simple - I contacted an experienced, reputable local home inspector and, for around $150, I bought the piece of mind that comes with knowing that my home's radon level is safe.
If you are a potential home buyer, you should know the general ground rules for radon testing. When a potential buyer performs a radon test on a home the seller must abide by the testing rules. These rules include the requirement that the seller leave all of the windows in the home closed for several days until the test is over. If a home you want to buy turns out to have a high radon level, don't panic. It is often possible, through negotiations, to get the seller to pay for remediation, such as a ventilation system.
Radon is an important concern for home buyers and sellers. Another useful source of information is the US EPA's website. To check it out, click this link: http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/consguid.html#radoninwater.