Most people have an awareness that radon is something to be concerned about. But do you have all of the facts you need to know before buying a home?
Radon is a naturally occurring gas produced by the decay of uranium in soil, rock and water. It is much more prevalent in granite areas but all potential home buyers need to be concerned with the actual level of radon in the home.
Numerous studies have been conducted worldwide on the effects of radon which have concluded that it is the second leading contributor to lung cancer. The first is smoking. The danger occurs when radon gas breaks down to form radioactive particles called "progeny." When you breathe these particles into your lungs they can cause cellular damage.
The World Health Organization recently completed a new study which confirmed these original findings. They also came out with a new recommendation for acceptable levels of radon in a home which is 2.7 picocuries per liter. However, the action level suggested by the EPA is 4.0 picocuries per liter and they have stated that this will not be changing this recommendation.
Myths dispelled about Radon:
- Homes without basements are at the same risk of radon contamination as homes with basements.
- There are no average radon levels available for specific states or areas.
- A neighbor's high or low test is not a guideline for whether or not you will have high radon.
Testing for Radon:
Prior to your home purchase you should have the property tested for the presence of radon gas. This can usually be done at the same time as your regular home inspection. There are two types of radon tests, passive and active.
The passive test is typically a charcoal canister that is exposed to the air in the home for 48 hours, and then sent to a lab for analysis. It is recommended to have two canisters testing the property simultaneously to account for any possible error in the device.
An active test is performed by a radon testing machine. The machine will continuously measure and record radon in the air and analyze the quality.
Both methods when conducted properly are considered to be reliable.
Solving a Radon Problem:
When a radon test produces a reading of 4 picocuries or higher corrective measures should be put into effect. A contractor who specializes in radon reduction can best determine the appropriate method for the home you are buying. Most of the systems that can be put into place range in cost from $900 to $1,500.
Since you have caught this problem prior to signing your purchase and sale agreement, the seller can be forced to pay for the radon mitigation system. This is another great reason for doing all of your tests and inspections as early as possible.
Copyright 2009 - Claudette Millette, Broker, Owner, TheBuyersCounsel
Ashland, Holliston, Hopkinton, Natick, Newton, Northborough, Framingham, Shrewsbury, Sherborn, Southborough, Sudbury, Wayland, Westborough