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Radon Basics

Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas.  You cannot see, smell or taste radon. Only special radon monitors can detect and measure the presence of radon.  


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that you know the radon levels of any home that you are considering buying. 

  • Buying? Ask the seller the radon level test results of the home you are considering. If it has not been tested, you should have the house tested.  

  • Building? If you are having a new home built, there are features that can be incorporated into your home during construction to reduce radon levels.  

Why should you test for radon?  

Radon is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and inhaling over prolonged periods increases your risk.  Having a measurement professional perform radon testing is the only way to find out your home’s radon levels.  


Nearly 1 out of 15 homes in the US is estimated to have elevated radon levels of 4pCi/L or more.  The recommended action level for radon mitigation is a reading of 4pCi/L or higher, although there is no known safe level of radon exposure.  


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If the home has already been tested….


If you are buying a home, you may decide to accept the seller’s earlier test or ask the seller for a new test to be conducted by a qualified professional radon tester.  Before you accept the seller’s test, you should determine: 

  • The results of the previous testing.

  • Who conducted the previous test the homeowner, a radon professional or some other person; where in the home was the test performed, especially if you plan to live in the lower level of the home.

  • What, if any, structural changes, alterations or changes in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems have been made to the house since the test was done as all of these changes may affect radon levels. 

In addition, if you accept the sellers radon test, make sure the test followed the Radon Testing Checklist. If the home has not yet been tested consider provisions in the contract specifying:

  • Where the test will be located

  • Who should conduct the test

  • What type of test to do

  • When to do the test

  • How the seller and the buyer will share the test results and test costs (if necessary)

  • When radon mitigation measures will be taken and who will pay for them

Make sure that the test is done in the lowest level of the home that could be used regularly.  This means the lowest level that you are going to use as living space whether it is finished or unfinished.  A licensed qualified radon tester can help you make some of these decisions.  


When deciding to finish or renovate an unfinished area of the home in the future, a radon test should be done before starting the project and after the project is finished.  Generally it is less expensive to install a radon-reduction system before or during renovations than afterwards.  


Want to know more or have your home professionally tested? Contact Square One Home Inspections of Mankato today.


David Dempster

Home Inspector, Mankato, MN

507-508-3891

david@squareonehomeinspections.com

Radon Measurement Professional
License Number: RMEA-00326

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