When purchasing a home many people know that you should have an home inspection, but did you know that you can, and probably should have a Radon test. If you did not know radon is the leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. It's a colorless and odorless gas found usually at low levels, especially in home basements and is created by the natural breakdown of uranium is rock, soil and water. When your home is inspected, your home inspector will be able to tell you if a radon mitigation system is already in place, if there is not one then you may wish to perform a radon test. While you can perform the test via a DIY kit, it can also be performed by the inspector. The test involves plugging in a piece of equipment which takes radon readings over a number of days. If the readings are over 4 pCi/L (pico-Curies per liter) which is the level deemed safe by the EPA, then you may want to consider installing a radon mitigation system. This is especially true if the basement has been finished, or you are planning to spend extended periods of time in the basement. While you may ask the seller to pay for all or part of the mitigation system installation, the seller is not obliged to meet any of the cost (please note that these rules may vary from region to region). One thing to note is that while certain geographic areas have generally higher radon levels than others, readings can be very spotty. I have know one home to have a very low reading, while the home next door records a high reading, you never can tell. What about new construction homes you may ask. Well unfortunately a lot of new construction home builders say in their contract that they will not provide a Radon mitigation system, so if you do want one then you will probably have to pay for it. We had a new construction Daybreak Home which originally had an unfinished basement. When the time came to finish the basement, the first thing we did was to have a radon test. The test was high and we had a mitigation system installed before the work on the basement began. It's a lot easier to install the system before finishing the basement. So if you are buying a resale or new construction home with a finished basement you really should check the Radon levels during the home inspection phase.
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