Everything Home Buyers Need To Know About Radon Gas

Posted on: 17 February 2022


If you are buying a home, then it is important you have the property inspected and tested for radon gas prior to signing on the dotted line.

Since radon can be found in both new and old construction homes, the age of your prospective house should not be a factor in your decision to test!

If you are unfamiliar with residential radon issues, then here is everything you need to know:

Radon Gas Basics

Radon is a naturally-occurring, radioactive gas. It is formed by the geological process of uranium breaking down in rocks and soil.

Radon gas from the dirt and rocks below your home collects in the crawlspace or basement. From there, it moves into your home through various means, including:

  • construction joints
  • gaps in flooring
  • gaps around plumbing and HVAC lines

Once radon has entered your living space, it concentrates and decreases indoor air quality.

Since you and your family members can't see, smell, or taste radon, it often builds up for years before someone gets sick enough to discover there's a problem.

The Health Dangers of Radon Gas

When your family breathes radon gas the radioactive particles stay behind in your lungs. Over time, these particles cause lung cancer.

If members of your family smoke cigarettes, their risk of lung cancer from extended radon exposure is much higher.

Home Radon Level Tests and Inspections 

Since radon is a problem in many areas around the country, there are different ways homeowners can test for it:

  • short-term DIY test kits
  • long-term DIY test kits
  • short-term professional testing
  • long-term monitoring alarms

Since you are purchasing a home, you will need to have it professionally tested. Most home inspectors and local pest control companies also are certified to conduct radon inspections.

If you were testing your own home, then it would be advised to start with a short-term DIY test kit. If the test came back positive for radon, then doing a long-term DIY test or having the home professionally inspected and tested would be warranted.

Residential Radon Gas Remediation

The good news about radon is even homes with high levels of gas can be remediated and a positive test is not a reason to back out of your sales contract. 

Radon remediation is focused on preventing natural radon gas from getting into your home. This is accomplished in many ways, such as:

  • caulking and sealing all foundation cracks
  • sealing areas around plumbing and HVAC system entry points
  • installing plastic sheeting over any bare ground beneath your home

New Home Construction

Finally, it's important to note that since radon has become more accepted as a health danger, many new home construction builders are using radon-resistant building materials and testing their homes before they go on the market to protect consumers.