Selling Your Home and the Radon Levels Came Back Elevated…Now What!

You are a seller with a contract on your home, have had a radon mitigation system in place for many years and your buyer’s radon test came back elevated. How can that be? There is a radon mitigation system in place!

OK, as a seller, you purchased your home 15+ years ago, had a radon test performed at that time and due to increased radon levels the previous homeowner installed the appropriate system to “fix” the home. Was the home re-tested for radon concentrations post-mitigation years ago? Has the home been tested for radon at any point within those 15+ years?

Although EPA action level for radon is 4.0 pCi/L, the EPA has concern when levels are between 2.0 pCi/L and 4.0 pCi/L. In addition, as a point of reference, the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for mitigation is 2.7 pCi/L. 

It is highly recommended to test a home for elevated radon levels every two +/- years and that includes home with a radon mitigation system installed. We live on a planet and the earth is always changing hence the radon levels can be variable.

As a seller who has been informed your home has elevated radon levels, act to correct it as soon as possible. Your radon system may need a replacement fan as the original fan may have outlasted it’s full mechanical life or you may need an additional fan added to the existing fan or possibly may require an entire new radon mitigation system. The only way to know is to bring in a professional radon mitigation firm who can assess the functionality of the mechanics. Once corrected, re-testing is the only way to know if the system is now fully functioning with reduced radon levels for a safe internal environment.

Test Your Home…Protect Your Family

What Types of Properties Should Be Tested for Radon?

What types of properties should be tested for a Class A carcinogen such as radioactive radon? ALL properties should be tested for the safety of the occupants. Radon enters buildings through cracks and fissures in the foundation and builds up inside a structure which is a concern when levels are elevated.

SCHOOLS: Students, teachers and support staff spend hours, days and cumulative years in schools throughout the day and evening for both day time education, after school programs, aftercare, events and night time education.

HOSPITALS: Most laboratory facilities in hospitals are found in the lowest level of the building amongst other services such as maintenance offices, some X-ray or MRI services plus the hospital morgue where physicians and technicians address these services.

HOMES: Always test for radon where you live! Protect yourself and your family to ensure your home is safe environment.

TENANTS: If you rent, you have rights! If you are on a first floor or a basement unit, request that your landlord test your space for radon gas and fix the property if levels are elevated so you can live safe in your space. If your landlord will not test for you, buy an EPA approved radon kit and test yourself. If elevated, you can demand the landlord correct the problem and re-test to ensure the levels are safe.

WORK: If you work in a building that never opens the windows and has the same air recirculating without bringing in fresh air, the general air quality should be tested no matter what. That being said, if you work in a basement, first floor or slab on grade office, as an employee, request that the space be tested for radioactive radon gas.

ANY building that is closed to the exterior should be tested for radon. Long term exposure to elevated levels radon can lead to lung cancer. Radon has a half-life of 3.8 days and if not exhaled in that time frame, radon’s daughter cells or progeny can become trapped in the lining of the lungs, where the radiation can be emitted. It is this radiation that can damage the lungs which can lead to lung cancer.

Test ALL Buildings…be proactive for your health. Radon induced lung cancer is one of the most preventable diseases if action is taken. You won’t know if you have a problem unless you test!

Radon Testing for Multi Level Homes

Most radon tests are performed in the basement as that is the area in a home that is closest to the ground. Radon enters homes through cracks and fissures in foundations, opening around pipes, drains, sump pumps and crawl spaces. This happens because the soil pressure surrounding a home’s foundation is typically higher than the pressure inside a home. This pressure differential can cause radon to literally be sucked into the home as though a vacuum cleaner was placed on top of the structure.

If the style of the house has multiple levels as seen in many contemporary homes, the radon testing process must address those levels. Most likely there will be at least two levels that are slab on grade in direct contact with the ground. Testing the levels with direct ground contact is imperative for an accurate assessment of the home.

Some homes will have a traditional basement yet there may also be extensions with either no basement and built slab on grade or there may be a crawl space just below the living space. Crawl spaces are notorious for radon build up . Testing the living space that is in the extension built slab on grade or with a crawl space below is important since there is no buffer of a basement and radon can enter directly into your living space.

Test Your Home…Protect Your Family!