Today we’re joined by a special guest,Preston Sandlin of Home Inspection Carolinas, to talk about an important subject: radon.
So, what is radon? Radon is an intangible, invisible, odorless, and tasteless gas that releases energy in your lungs when you breathe it in. When this happens, the tissue in your lungs becomes damaged and you become highly susceptible to lung cancer.
In fact, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in smokers, and the second leading cause in non smokers—with smoking itself being the first. With 21,000 people dying each year, it isn’t hard to see why this is such a health risk. In fact, it is estimated that one person dies every 25 minutes as a result of radon gas.
According to the EPA, radon becomes a hazard once it reaches a level at or above 4.0 picocuries per liter. Higher levels are much more prevalent in mountainous areas. If you go to www.NCRadon.org, you will information indicating the likeliness of high radon levels in your home.
In the Piedmont area, specifically, we are in about the middle of the range. The national average indicates that about one in every 15 homes will have radon. However, in Charlotte the average is approximately one in every 25 homes.
It costs between $150 and $180 to obtain a continuous radon monitor, but Preston believes it is well worth it. However, there is a cheaper option since there are two types of tests. A passive test costs only about $15. You can purchase this type in most hardware stores, and basically consists of charcoal that you leave out for 48 hours in the lower level of your home. Once you’ve done this, you mail them out to be tested.
There are some disadvantages to this kind of test, though. This method could take almost a week before you see results. Also, if you are conducting this test as part of a real estate transaction, the seller of the property you are testing could tamper with the results.
The other test, the continuous radon monitor, may be more expensive, but it can’t be tampered with and you will have your results after just 48 hours. Which test you should purchase really depends on what you are using it for. If you are merely curious about the level of radon in your own home, you would be fine going the route of the charcoal test.
So, what happens if you find that the radon level in your house is too high? In this case, you'll need to purchase a radon mitigation system. This equipment will typically cost between $1,500 to $1,800, but will be well worth it.
High levels of radon in North Carolina are a material fact, but an installed radon mitigation system in a home is also a material fact. Even though levels may be normal following the installation of the system, the real estate commission has to consider what would happen if a system were to fail. In mountainous areas, you’ll find that the majority of homes will have a radon mitigation system.
If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.