What every homeowner needs to know about radon
Nest Egg Home Services is more than just a company of home inspectors and office staff. We are like a family! We are all homeowners, mothers and fathers, and residents of the beautiful state of North Carolina! Like many others, we too have been touched by the devastating effect that cancer can have on families and those we love.
We care about your loved ones and their safety too, which is a big part of we are so passionate about what we do!
As a home inspection company, we routinely see various safety hazards in the homes that we inspect, but the biggest safety hazard just might be the one that cannot be seen!
What are we talking about? We’re talking about radon!
So, what is radon?
Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas found in soil and rock. It seeps into homes through foundation cracks, walls and joints.
Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to EPA estimates. Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. It’s no wonder the EPA recommends that all homes be tested.
When should a home be tested for radon?
If you are building a new construction home:
- Radon testing should be done within a month of moving into a new construction home.
- Ask if radon-resistant construction features were, or can be used.
- The EPA has some great tips for radon-resistant options for your home.
If you are buying a pre-existing home:
- Radon testing should be done as part of all comprehensive home inspections in NC prior to closing.
- If radon is high in the home, 4pci/l or higher, a mitigation system needs to be installed prior to moving in. (Continue reading for more on mitigation systems).
If your home has tested high for radon in the past:
- Even with a mitigation system in place, it’s a good idea to retest your home at least every two years to be sure radon levels are being reduced to a safe level.
What can you expect from a professional Radon Testing?
Radon tests should consist of the following things:
- A radon test will take 48 hours of consistent monitoring.
- The certified radon testing professional will place the radon machine in an ideal location, which will be at the lowest livable space in the home, and away from doors and windows if possible.
- It is important for the machine and its surroundings to be left undisturbed for accurate results.
- Once the testing is completed, you will receive a report, which will indicate the levels of radon within the home as well as the recommendation for mitigation if necessary.
I have a mitigation system, what do I need to know?
Once a mitigation system is installed by a professional, keep the following maintenance tips in mind:
- If your home previously tested high for radon, retesting your radon levels every 2 years will help ensure your mitigation system is working properly.
- Make it a habit to regularly check your system. The majority of radon mitigation systems have an indicator light or audible alarm. You can always refer to the manual to help you better understand how to interpret whether the system is on and running.
- Fans in mitigation units may need to be repaired or replaced about every five years.
- A heat recovery ventilator may be installed to increase ventilation. The filter in a heat recovery ventilator requires periodic cleaning and should be changed twice a year.
If scheduling a radon test with a professional is outside of your budget, some radon testing kits are available online or at home improvement stores. Please be aware that some home testing kits have been shown to underreport results. We strongly recommend thoroughly researching kits before you make a purchase.