The second most common cause of lung cancer in the U.S. is radon gas exposure. An undetectable concentration of radon gas seeps into homes because of uranium’s natural breakdown in soil. High levels of radon gas inhalation in homes cause lung tissue damage and dramatically raise the risk of lung cancer.
A radon test is the only way to determine whether your home has unsafe radon levels because radon has no smell, color, or taste. You can install a radon gas mitigation system to prevent radon from entering the house and remove existing radon from the home if any radon gas is present.
Homeowners and potential purchasers can see radon levels drop up to 99 percent in a home with a radon mitigation system. Thus making it a safe place for their family to live. Home buyers may come across a “For Sale” from their local real estate agent, a house with a radon mitigation system set up to pipe the gas outside the building.
In our guide, you can learn more about purchasing a home with a radon mitigation system. By the end, you’ll better understand how radon levels of the house above a certain level can hurt your household. Therefore, get a home inspection done or ensure it has a properly installed radon mitigation system before you buy the home so it is safe from radon gas. (Read Houses In The Middle Of Nowhere)
What is Radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas formed from the natural radioactive breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. When radon is present, you’ll find radon gas invisible, odorless, and tasteless.
Radon comes up from the ground, and radon in homes seeps through cracks and openings in the foundation. The radon becomes trapped inside the house, where it can accumulate to dangerous levels.
According to the EPA, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. It is estimated that radon causes over 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year. So, buying a home with radon gas can be an issue. You will need to install a radon mitigation system to prevent radon from entering and avoid the chances of lung cancer.
Why is Radon a Concern for Homebuyers?
Any radon problem concerns home buyers because there is an increased risk of lung cancer, where radon is found at high levels. The amount of radon in the air is measured in picocuries per liter (pCi/L).
The EPA recommends taking action to reduce radon gas in homes if the levels are four pCi/L or higher.
A home’s average radon gas concentration is about 1.3 pCi/L. However, the levels can be significantly higher in some homes. The EPA estimates that nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the U.S. has elevated radon levels above pCi/L.
Since you cannot see, smell, or taste radon, the only way to know if a home has a high radon level is to perform a radon test. Home buyers should see if a radon test comes back and tests positive for radon if they are interested. (Read Can Hoa Inspect Your House)
How Does a Radon Mitigation System Work?
A radon mitigation system is installed in homes with high radon levels above 4fourpCi/L. Aa radon mitigation system aims to keep a home’s radon level under a desired level by pushing radon gas away from the Can Mice Chew Through Concrete houseroom or using a radon pipe under the basement floor.
The most common type of radon mitigation system may comprise a radon fan and vent pipe that runs from below the foundation slab up through the house and roof. The radon fan creates a vacuum that draws radon from below the home and vents it to the outside to make the home safe from radon exposure.
It is a certified radon mitigation contractor that should install recommended mitigation systems. The contractor will evaluate the home to determine the most appropriate location for installing the vent pipe system and to prevent radon from seeping into the house.
After the system has been implemented, this helps to ensure radon will not find its way back into the residence.
Who Pays For The Radon Mitigation System, Home Buyer Or Seller?
If you are considering buying a home that already has a radon mitigation system installed, here are some essential things to remember:
Confirm it was Professionally Installed
Ensure there are records showing a certified radon contractor installed the system. You want to verify it was installed correctly according to industry standards. Improperly installed systems may not effectively reduce radon. (Read Can Mice Chew Through Concrete)
Check it functions Properly.
Have a radon test to confirm the system is working adequately and that radon levels are now at acceptable levels below four4 pCi/L. Ensure the radon fan is operating and venting out the radon gases.
Understand the Maintenance Requirements
There is some periodic maintenance required for radon mitigation systems. This includes checking and replacing the vent fan as needed. Ask the sellers if there are existing maintenance records. If not, schedule a radon contractor to inspect and service the system.
Consider the Age and Condition
Find out how old the radon mitigation system is. The average lifespan of a radon mitigation system is about 10-20 years. Older systems are more likely to need repairs or replacement. Check that the vent pipes are properly attached and not disconnected or deteriorating.
Factor in Potential Repair or Replacement Costs
If the radon system is near the end of its lifespan, you may need to budget for repairs or replacement costs. A new system can cost $1200-$2500 to install. Factor this into your purchase decision.
Test Radon Levels Yearly
Even with a mitigation system, radon levels should be checked yearly, even if experts say you can test your home every two years. Changing conditions underground can sometimes cause radon to enter the house. Regular testing ensures radon stays at safe levels in your home.
Negotiate with the Sellers
If the radon system needs significant repairs or replacement, negotiate with the sellers to lower the purchase price to cover these added costs.
Or negotiate to have the sellers repair or replace the system. However, knowing who installs the radon mitigation system is better.
Is Buying a House with a Radon Mitigation System a Good Idea?
Ensuring a home with a professional radon mitigation system in place is a good thing. However, there are some steps buyers should take:
- Have a radon test to ensure the system works correctly and radon levels are safe.
- Inspect the system and confirm it was installed correctly by a certified radon contractor.
- Research the system’s age and condition. Make sure it has been adequately maintained.
- Understand future repair and replacement costs may be needed.
- Negotiate credits or repairs from the seller if issues are found. If the mitigation system is installed correctly and in good working order, buying a home with a radon reduction system can prevent the radon from entering a house if the system is working. But be sure to take the proper precautions during the home inspection process.
If you buy a home with a high risk of radon and no mitigation system, you can pay for radon system installation after moving in. This incurs additional costs; consider whether you should buy the home at the asking price or negotiate.
Choosing the professional radon mitigation contractor who will install the mitigation system means you know how long it will last and have someone to ensure the radon levels stay at approved levels. (Read Can I Run A Window Air Conditioner Inside)
Buy A House With A Radon Mitigation System: Pros and Cons
- Protection against dangerous radon levels and lung cancer risk
- It saves the cost of having to install a new system, around $1200-$2500
- Prevents delays in home closing for system installation
- No waiting for the system to work; the previous owner confirmed it reduces radon
- Added complication to home inspection and purchase process
- Potential added costs if repairs or replacements are needed
- There is no guarantee that the previous owner correctly maintained the system
- Need to monitor and test radon levels regularly and continually
Conclusion: Why You Need A Radon Test
While radon exposure poses health risks, a properly functioning radon mitigation system can make a home with a radon issue safe. If you’re purchasing a house with an existing radon mitigation system, ensure it was installed and continues working correctly.
Have a radon test, research the system’s age and maintenance history, and inspect its condition. With the proper precautions, buying a home with a radon mitigation system can protect you from radon exposure. But annual radon testing is still recommended after moving in.
FAQs: Make A Home With Radon Gas Safe
How long do radon mitigation systems last?
The average lifespan of a radon mitigation system that works for treating homes with radon levels is about 10-20 years. Proper maintenance helps extend the life of the system.
What maintenance is required for radon mitigation systems?
Essential maintenance includes checking and replacing the vent fan as needed, typically every 5-10 years. Inspect the vent pipes annually if you are concerned about radon when you live in a home. Have a radon contractor service it every two years.
What if a home inspection reveals issues with the radon system?
Suppose a home has a radon mitigation system and requests repairs or replacement from sellers. The cost of a radon mitigation system can be high, so negotiate the price of radon treatment against your own expense.
Should I avoid buying a home knowing it has a radon issue?
A home where radon levels can be higher and doesn’t have a radon mitigation system means levels of radon in the home can be reduced. However, confirm the system works through radon testing before living in the house.
How often should homes with radon mitigation systems be tested?
The EPA recommends testing for radon at least every two years, even with a mitigation system. Conditions can change, allowing radon to enter, and since radon can’t be seen or smelled, most homes are likely to have radon inspections annually to keep radon levels low.
Can a radon mitigation system ever fail or stop working?
If not correctly maintained, power failures or disconnected pipes can cause loss of a radon system installed in a home. (Read Water Temperature For Radiant Floor Heating)