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What Exactly is Radon and Why Should Homeowners Care?

Home inspection

In spite of the fact that general home inspections do not cover radon, many inspectors choose to include a test regardless. This is important to consider as a home inspector because radon is a serious concern that leads to fatal health issues. Whether you are already a home inspector or are still in the process of becoming licensed, this guide will help you understand radon and why it is a major concern for homeowners.

What Is Radon?

Radon is a natural gas found in rocks and soil that is radioactive. It can end up in air and even water, often in small amounts. It enters a home via access points like holes in the foundation of your house. Once inside your home, radon amasses in dangerous quantities.

Radon is a home health hazard you cannot see, taste, or smell. This makes it extremely dangerous when it reaches high levels in your home. You might see comparisons between radon and carbon monoxide because neither presents itself.

What Are Risks of Radon?

Radon is responsible for approximately 21,000 deaths each year according to the EPA. The risks of radon include lung cancer. The only contributing factor to the disease worse than radon is smoking cigarettes. This creates a serious threat that homeowners are increasingly afraid of.

Home inspection

Radon is a major risk in large quantities. Catching it early can prevent issues like lung cancer.

What Is Radon Testing?

Testing a house for radon before closing is important. Sellers should be testing for radon to provide buyers with peace of mind. A professional can administer thorough radon tests.

Radon tests can be purchased at affordable prices, but they take several days for results. Short-term tests typically based on activated charcoal and could take up to a week for results. You then have to mail the tests to a lab for results. Long-term tests are available for more accurate readings, but they can take up to one year.  The ICA home inspection training course includes a full radon certification course.

Is Your Home Susceptible to Radon?

The truth is that every house is bound to test positive for radon to some degree. Testing has demonstrated that about 6% of all American homes have radon levels that are considered higher than average. The EPA recommends that homeowners seek remediation if the level is 4 pCi/L or higher. This is 10 times the outside level of radon.

What Can Homeowners Do about Radon?

Fortunately, there are a few ways you can reduce the amount of radon in your home. The downside to the process is that radon remediation requires knowledge and skills a professional typically possesses. Taking care of this before listing a home for sale can lead to an easier sale.

It is also important to check for cracks and holes in the foundation, patching up portions where possible. Caulking certain areas of the home and installing covers for crawl spaces and sump pumps are crucial. Unfortunately, this is not typically enough.

You can also purchase a radon reduction system. It uses a vacuum and fan to divert radon through a series of pipes. Professional systems range in price and may cost thousands of dollars.

Do you want to make sure that you are catching everything possible as a home inspector? Education can help. Enroll now to learn more about how you can be of service.

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