What’s odorless, colorless and causes nearly a quarter of all lung cancer deaths in the United States each year? Radon gas. This not-so-noble Noble Gas is so risky because homeowners can live with it every day and never know that it’s there.
The good news is that you can empower your customers with information. While you might not test for the gas, January is the National Radon Action month. It’s a great time to focus on educating your customers, and hopefully guiding them toward a healthier home buying decision.
What Radon Awareness is So Important
Anyone who has ever smelled a natural gas leak can instantly identity the distinctive odor. Not so with radon, even though it’s present at levels higher than 4 pCi/L in one out of every three homes in the seven states checked by the EPA. That’s according to Radon.com But Radon can be
Unlike other hazards such as lead paint and asbestos, the age of the home is no indicator. Neither is the location. Any home in any state could test positive for Radon. And as a comparison, Radon.com says that a child who spends 8 hours every school day in a building with levels at 4 pCi/l receives “10 times more radiation than the Nuclear Regulatory Commissions allows at the edge of a nuclear power plant.”
But the News isn’t All Bad
What good could come of Radon awareness, aside from a buyer opting out of committing to a house that’s virtually radioactive? Radon mitigation is real, and it works. It can be an expensive system to install, but it can also help buyers purchase with more confidence. And if a seller wants to make that investment, it could mean the difference between selling the house and not.
Mitigation isn’t just one system. The Minnesota Department of Health says there are suction systems that work in a few different ways, and there’s also ventilation, sealing, pressurization, and heat recovery ventilation. The right system for a house with dangerous Radon levels depends on the house and where the Radon is entering the structure.
Educating Your Customers
In most cases, general home inspectors don’t test for Radon. Some do, but that’s usually with special training. If you don’t perform Radon testing, you can still take it upon yourself to educate customers about the realities and the risks. This January, ASHI Reporter recommends perfecting the message that you want to send, and then get the message out there.
Suggest Radon testing to every customer, and have a clear and concise explanation about why it’s important. Be prepared for real estate agents who claim that Radon isn’t a problem in that location, as no location is safe. And if you’re faced with a question about why Radon testing isn’t required, stick to the facts: Radon is radioactive and found in the soil in every state. It’s a known carcinogen, and the effects can take years to develop.
Your job isn’t to scare your customers, but Radon awareness can save lives. It’s not obvious the way that other home defects are, but the results can be infinitely more destructive.
Helping customers by raising awareness can guide them toward Radon testing, which gives them information. As in all things, information is power. There’s the power to install an effective Radon mitigation system, or the power to walk away from a sale. Either way, you’ve done your part.
Radon education isn’t part of the average home inspection course, but at ICA School, you have access to materials that explain how testing is done. That’s one more what that we are a better value and offer a more well-rounded experience than most other courses. Still on the fence? Get a free demo and see for yourself what makes our program so effective.