There is much to the home buying process. Financing, finding the right home, making an offer, home inspections, etc....
During the home process, you should do a radon test to find out of your future home has high levels of radon in a home. The question is should you buy a home with high levels of radon?
What You Should Know About Radon
Radon is a gas emitted from the bedrock, groundwater and soil below your feet. It is caused by the breakdown of uranium and other elements. It works its way up through the ground into the air.
Radon is everywhere. The concern in a home is that the structure of a home can cause a build-up of high levels of radon. Outdoors it quickly dissipates.
Most importantly radon exposure, at high levels can cause cancer. As a matter of fact, radon is one of the leading causes of lung cancer in America. The EPA recommends remediation if the results come back higher the .04
The good news is that radon is easy to test for and remediate to safe levels.
Testing For Radon
You should always consider a radon test when doing a home inspection. A radon test is fairly simple. It is a matter of setting up two radon canisters for 48 to 92 hours and sending to a lab. Results usually take 24-48 hours.
Plan for 4 or 5 days to do the test and get the results.
If your test results for radon come in higher than 4 pCi/L, the EPA recommends you remediate the radon so it is below 4 pCi/L.
Radon remediation systems run between $900 and $1600 dollars and are a fairly low tech low maintenance system. The sub-slab depressurization unit is the most common. It consists of a PVC conduit being sunk into the ground in your basement and run past the roofline on the exterior of your home to disperse the gas outside. There is a small fan that creates a vacuum under the slab to help draw the gas from beneath the foundation.
The company doing the radon remediation will do a final test to confirm that radon levels are below 4 pCi/L.
So the question is.... should you buy a house that has high levels of radon?
As I said radon is everywhere, your home, your work, outside, at school, etc... About 1 in every 15 homes has high levels of radon. It is unavoidable.
The good news is radon in a home you are about to be purchased can simply be remediated. I would not shy away from a home that has higher levels of radon as long as it will be remediated.
Who Pays For Radon Testing and Remediation?
As a home buyer, it is your responsibility to pay for the radon test. If radon levels should come back higher than what is deemed safe that is between you and the seller to negotiate. In my market I serve, a home seller will often consider remediating radon before close or credit back the cost of remediation. That is certainly something to discuss between your real estate agent representing you and what the expectation may be for your particular market.
Fortunately, it is easy to test for radon and easy to correct. I would not walk away from a home that has slightly elevated levels of radon. Insist the seller corrects before closing or plan on correcting the issue shortly after closing on your home.