Radon and Home Sales: What buyers and sellers should know about radon gas

Because of the health risks associated with radon gas, more and more buyers are inquiring about radon levels before purchasing a home.

You cannot see radon, taste radon, or smell radon. But this colorless, tasteless, and odorless gas is the primary source of natural radiation exposure and the leading cause of lung cancer in the United States among non-smokers. It is responsible for 21,000 deaths annually.

A decay product of uranium, radon gas permeates through soil and rocks, and in most cases, enters the home through cracks and openings in foundations and flooring.

Every home, regardless of its age, has some level of radon gas. The recommended action level set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is 4.0 pCi/L and above. Because radon is prevalent in the Cincinnati area, we have found many homes to have radon levels above the action level. Outlined below are county averages:

As a point of reference, the average national indoor radon level is 1.3 pCi/L.

Hamilton: The average indoor radon level of Hamilton County is 3.4 pCi/L.

Butler: The average indoor radon level of Butler County is 4.7 pCi/L.

Clermont: The average indoor radon level of Clermont County is 4.4 pCi/L.

Warren: The average indoor radon level of Warren County is 4.8 pCi/L.

Source for the average radon levels can be found here.

Because real estate sales happen so quickly, there is often little time to deal with radon issues. Don’t let radon be a deal breaker.

If you are the seller…

Test your home for radon prior to putting it on the market. It’s better to identify a radon problem now rather than it derailing the sale later. First, perform a short-term test. Test in the lowest structural area suitable for occupancy. For example, if your home has an unfinished basement, test in the basement. Although you may not use the basement, the buyer may have plans to finish it.

Depending on the results from your initial short-term test and the amount of time you have, you may want to follow the short-term radon test up with a long-term test, which takes anywhere from 91 days up to a full year. A long-term radon test will give you a better idea of the home’s year-round average radon level.

 If you are the buyer…

Know your radon risk level. Because radon gas is prevalent in southwestern Ohio and Northern Kentucky, test every home you are considering purchasing. Hire a certified radon professional to test the home.

Radon testing is not part of the standard home inspection, so be sure to ask your home inspector about radon testing.

If the radon test results are 4.0 pCi/L or above, the EPA recommends fixing the problem right away through mitigation. If the radon levels are below 4.0 pCi/L, no further action is needed at the time of the real estate transaction. Just be sure to retest the home for radon gas every two years or if any renovations or additions are made to your new home.

Radon should not be a deal breaker! Testing is quick and affordable. And if a radon problem exists, it’s easy to fix!

For more information about radon and home sales, please review the EPA’s Home Buyer and Seller’s Guide to Radon.

To schedule a radon test, contact Radon Diva at (513) 443-4820. Most likely, we can set the test as early as tomorrow.

 

© 2017 Radon Diva: Radon Testing in Cincinnati, Ohio

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