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Does Your Home Have Radon?

Does your home have radon? That is a question that more and more potential home buyers are asking sellers. And most home owners have no idea if their home has radon.

As a real estate broker, in the last 15 years I have had very few deals fall apart because of a radon issue. Yet, when I go to association meetings today, it seems to be a more prevalent discussion than it was years ago.

You might ask, “What is Radon?” According to one source, “Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas and comes from the natural breakdown (radioactive decay) of uranium. It is usually found in igneous rock and soil, but in some cases, well water may also be a source of radon.”

Radon has been found in homes all over the United States. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home.

Being exposed to radon for a long period of time can lead to lung cancer. Radon gas in the air breaks down into tiny radioactive elements (radon progeny) that can lodge in the lining of the lungs, where they can give off radiation. This radiation can damage lung cells and eventually lead to lung cancer.

Early signs and symptoms of lung cancer may include:

  • persistent cough.

  • coughing up blood.

  • wheezing.

  • shortness of breath.

  • hoarseness.

  • chest pain, especially when you cough or laugh.

  • frequent infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

Radon is an invisible and odorless radioactive gas. Elevated levels of radon have been found in homes all across the country. Any home in any state may have a radon problem: new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements.

There are a few different ways to get rid of radon. One is "Active Soil Depressurization" – this is the preferred method. This includes installing a 4” plastic pipe through the basement floor, and having it exit through the roof or wall. A fan in the basement, attic, or outside then moves the air through the pipe to outside.

Also, opening windows improves air circulation and ventilation, helping move radon out of the house and mixing radon-free outside air with indoor air.

Make sure all your basement windows are open. Opening basement windows helps reduce negative air pressure, diluting radon with clean outdoor air.

The cost of a mitigation system may vary according to the home's design, size, foundation, construction materials and the local climate. Radon reduction systems average costs nationally are $1,200 with a range from $800 to $1500 common depending on house and market conditions.

According to some studies, the manufacturer warrants their fan for five years from the date of installation. National average is 11 years. However, according to one manufacturer, some replaced fans have been in operation for nearly 20 years.

Radon Away radon fans cost only pennies a day to operate. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a typical U.S. household consumes about 11,000 kwh per year, costing an average of $1,034 annually (at $0.094 per kwh).

The EPA has an extensive Home Buyers and Sellers Guide about radon. You can find it at this link. (You may have to copy and paste it into your browser.)

Before attempting to sell your home, have a radon test conducted. It could save you money and a lot of headaches. If you are thinking about buying a home, ask for a recent radon test.

If we can help you in any way, call us at 252-257-4822.


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