1. What is radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas that is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and chemically inert. There is no way to know if you have radon in your home unless you test for it.
Radon is formed by the natural radioactive decay of uranium in rock, soil, and water and can be found in all 50 states. Naturally existing, low levels of uranium occur widely in Earth’s crust. Once produced, radon moves through the ground to the air above. Some remains below the surface and dissolves in water that collects and flows under the ground’s surface.
2. Why is radon such a big concern?
Radon usually does not present a health risk outdoors because it is diluted in the open air. Radon can, however, build up to dangerous levels inside a house. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, and the number one leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. It is particularly important to have a mitigation system if a person is living in or spending a lot of time in the basement.
3. What should sellers do to test for radon?
If you are selling a home and have never had your home checked for radon it is a good idea to do so before you list it. Most buyers will have a radon test done before closing and if radon is found the buyer may insist on a mitigation system be installed. It’s a huge selling point if a system is already included with the home.
4. What should buyers know before buying a house that tested high for radon?
If you are buying a home and the home doesn’t currently have a mitigation system it is a good idea to have radon testing done prior to closing on the home. If radon levels are high then you will want to
5. What steps should be taken to minimize radon in new-home construction?
Radon enters the home through cracks in the foundation. Also, if the air pressure of a house is lower than the surrounding soil (which is usually the case), the house will act as a vacuum, sucking radon gas inside. A new home can be built to be radon resistant. First you can install a layer of clean gravel or aggregate beneath the slab or flooring system and then lay polyethylene sheeting on top of the gravel layer. The builder can also include a gas-tight venting pipe from the gravel level through the building to the roof. Make sure that the foundation is sealed and caulked thoroughly.