Radon Services: The Importance of Radon Testing for Homeowners

Roughly 88% of homebuyers get a home inspection when they buy a house. Out of those inspections, almost the same amount show some kind of problem that needs to be fixed.

In a best-case scenario, all a homeowner needs to do is patch up a hole in their roof or replace a bathroom fixture. However, a typical home inspection does not include radon testing services. They’re focused more on the physical aspects rather than more pervasive ones. 

Here’s why you’ll need to invest in radon services if you want to make sure your new Orlando area home is safe to live in. 

What Is Radon?

Radon is a type of radioactive gas that is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. In other words, it is almost undetectable unless you specifically look for it with the right equipment.

On top of that, it’s a natural byproduct of uranium in soil, rock, and water. You can find radon entering your home through cracks in your foundation and walls, as well as through your water supply. 

All homes have some level of risk for radon exposure, depending on factors such as your soil content and your house’s condition. Some regions have higher natural concentrations of uranium in the ground than others. A house with a basement is also at higher risk of radon infiltration. 

A lack of data does not mean low radon potential. Nearly one in five Florida homes has tested positive for an elevated radon level. The only way to know for sure if your home is safe is with testing.

Dangers of High Radon Levels

Even though radon is naturally occurring, it can prove extremely dangerous to a person’s health through continued exposure. It has proven to be one of the leading causes of lung cancer and is estimated to have caused upwards of 14% of all lung cancers in a country. 

Homeowners who smoke have an increased risk of lung cancer if they breathe in radon than non-smokers. Inhaled radon can also deliver radiation to your other organs at a lower level than your lungs. 

Interestingly enough, radon in your water supply is not dangerous to ingest. It can become dangerous if you use that water throughout your home and that water evaporates into a gas. 

Safe and Average Radon Readings

Technically speaking, there are no safe levels of radon in your home, due to its radioactive nature. Since radon is naturally occurring, there are levels that are acceptable within your home before you must take action against it. 

The national indoor average is roughly 1.3 pCi/L, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Outdoors, you can find about 0.4 pCi/L. 

The EPA further recommends you deal with radon if the concentration exceeds 4 pCi/L, which is more than three times the national indoor average. 

If you use well water, you’ll also want to test it for any radon contamination. While radon is relatively safe to ingest, it becomes dangerous once you start using it for things like showering, washing dishes, and cooking. Evaporating water carries radon with it, which becomes dangerous when inhaled.

Radon Testing Methods

Short-term radon testing, such as for homeowners, is available in a few different ways. You can find these tests sold at hardware stores, online, and even available through county health departments. These provide an initial assessment over the course of a week. 

Charcoal canisters absorb radon gas in the air throughout the testing period. They are then sealed and sent to a lab for analysis. 

There are also alpha track detectors that can record tracks left by alpha particles as radon decays. 

A homeowner’s best option is to contact professional radon testing services that can use continuous radon monitors (CRM). These can detect radon levels over a short period, such as fluctuations, with more detailed results. 

Treating High Radon Levels

If a short-term test shows high radon levels, then you may want to get another test to verify the findings. A long-term test can also be performed for more accurate results, but this can take over 90 days. 

Those who plan to live in their home within that time period may want to take action to eliminate any radon on their property. 

Radon mitigation systems overpower the natural vacuum under your house to provide an alternate route for it to vent. You’ll also want to seal any cracks in your foundation and around pipes to prevent radon entry. This simultaneously improves how well the vent system works. 

These radon systems can cost a couple of thousands of dollars depending on the type and the design of your home. Some federal programs may be able to help reduce costs for low-income families. 

Legal Requirements

High radon levels can have a big impact on real estate transactions. More homeowners are requesting radon testing as part of their home inspection process. While it isn’t legally required to test radon before you sell a property, it may be necessary to make the sale. 

If the radon levels were known before the sale and there was a failure to disclose, then there could be legal ramifications for the realtor. Many states have specific disclosure laws that require sellers to disclose any known defects or hazards. 

The buyer could sue for damages or rescind the sale if they find themselves in this situation. Alternatively, they could require the seller to pay for mitigation costs. 

This is why an extensive home inspection is such a necessity when purchasing a house, even if you don’t think there’s anything wrong. 

In Florida, there are also some businesses that are required to test for radon prior to the State issuing a business license or CO (Certificate of Occupancy). Some of the mandatory testing requirements cover facilities like assisted living, Pre-K, Schools and nursing homes. If you have received a request to perform mandatory radon testing, CFBI can help!

Don’t Skimp Out on Radon Services

While radon services may not seem like the most important part of buying a house, they can save your life down the line. Long-term exposure to airborne radon can cause damage to your lungs and even lung cancer. It’s best to get testing done before you move into your new home. 

Central Florida Building Inspectors provides both residential and commercial building inspections. Our services cover mold, radon and gas, sewer scope inspections, and more. Tell us about your problem and schedule an inspection today. 

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