We try to anticipate questions you might have about Radon Air and why you might test during a Home or Commercial Inspection and provide the answers here. If you would like to request additional information about our services, pricing or to schedule an inspection please Contact Us.
1. What is Radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas produced by the natural breakdown of uranium (which is present in soil and in rock formations throughout the United States). Studies have shown that exposure to radon contributes to the incidence of lung cancer. The EPA advises you to take action to reduce the level of radon in your air if it exceeds 4.0 pCi/L (picocuries per liter of air) in the lowest livable level of your home.
2. Am I required to have a radon test?
Generally, you are not required to perform a radon air test to qualify for a mortgage, but you may want to have the test done so that you will know the results before you proceed with the purchase of the property. Further, about 65% of our Buyer customers do perform Radon Air Testing; so there is a good chance when you sell your home, your Buyers will test.
3. How does Maida Services test for radon during a NH or MA Home Inspection?
Our Inspector places a two canister test kit (EPA protocol) on the day of the inspection in the lowest livable area of the home. (If the basement is used as a playroom, etc. or has the potential to be finished, this is the area you should test.) The Radon Air test devices needs to remain in the home -undisturbed- for about two days. We ask that either you or someone you designate return to the property two days later, seal the canisters and bring them in to a postal clerk. We provide a postage paid mailer and include, processing, analysis, report, etc. Results are usually available in 3-5 days and can be accessed on-line.
4. What are the required guidelines that must be followed?
The protocols for Maida NH & MA Home Inspection devices are as follows:
- All windows and doors must be kept closed 12 hours before and during the 48 hour test, except for normal entering and exiting.
- Place canisters at least 20 inches above the floor in a location where it won't be disturbed - away from drafts, high heat, high humidity, and exterior walls. Fans and ventilation systems that use outside air should not be used during sampling period. Heating and air-conditioning system fans that re-circulate air may be operated.
- Real Estate Protocol: Place detectors 4" apart in lowest livable area.
- Do not place in hot areas near furnace or stove, in direct sunlight, in drafts, or near sources of moisture.
- Do not disturb during the sampling period.
- Properly cap and immediately mail the devices to the laboratory.
5. Can radon levels vary from day to day or season to season?
Yes, radon levels in the home can vary. That is why the EPA recommends that homeowners test their homes several times during the year to determine the average annual level. However, if the homeowner has not done that, you, as the buyer would have to obtain a short term result, by performing a short-term test along with a home inspection.
According to the EPA in its pamphlet "Has your home been invaded by Radon?":
- "Short and long-term results should be interpreted differently. If your long-term results are high, you should definitely take action to fix your home, as soon as possible. "
- "If your short-term results are high, the best way to determine your annual level is by doing a long-term test of one year. Preliminary research shows that short-term results from tests made during the cooler months generally overestimate annual level by one to three times."
- "For example, if your short-term test result is 6 pCi/L then your annual average level is probably between 2 pci/L and 6 pci/L. If your short term test results are low, you may want to test again at some time in the future. This is to make sure that your test was not conducted at a time when Radon levels happened to be much lower than usual."
Unfortunately, in a pre-purchase situation the buyer has a small window of time to obtain information about radon in the potential home he is looking to purchase. Therefore, his only option is a short-term test.
6. How will I know if the home owners followed the guidelines?
If you have concerns about the sellers following the protocol, we encourage buyers to put their concerns in writing to the parties involved in the transaction i.e. Realtor(s), Attorney(s) and homeowner(s).
You should state:
- You are concerned about the validity of the radon air test.
- You want assurances that EPA guidelines will be followed:
- doors and windows to the exterior closed for twelve hours prior to the test, and
- during the 48 hours of the test, except for normal entering and exiting
You should state that you will re-test upon moving into the property.
You could also include the following information in your statement:
- According to the EPA, radon is a health hazard, and it poses a considerable health risk.
- According to the EPA, it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in our country.
- Some of the New England States are known to have areas that show high concentrations of radon.
If the buyer states these concerns in writing to the Realtor for submission to the sellers; most people then realize that their liability could be great if they interfere with the test. The costs of fixing radon problems can range from as little as $50 up to $2,000+, depending upon the radon levels. If radon is found, the liability of fixing the problem now is much less than the liability of compensating you for any harm that a jury might think you have in the future.
7. I can't access my Radon Air Test Results - what do I do?
If it has been 5 days since your MA or NH Home Inspection has been performed, please contact our office and provide the following information:
- What day/date/time was the Radon Air test concluded?
- When and/or how were the canisters sent to the Laboratory?
- The 6 digit serial numbers for the canisters. (These numbers are provided on page 4 of your report and the inspection agreement.)
9 Bartlet Street #261
Andover, MA 01810
PO Box 12
Hampstead, NH 03841