It is not a requirement that you test for Radon when you put in an offer to buy a home in Northern Virginia, but it is probably a good idea. The Radon Inspection Contingency in the Sales Contract puts some structure into getting a “short-term” radon test done on any home to make sure the levels of Radon on the lowest level of the home are below the 4.0 pCi/L level.
These take place simultaneously with the Home Inspection Contingency.
The 4.0 pCi/L level was a target set by the U.S. Congress for healthy indoor air quality, and the U.S. EPA enforces that mandate. Yes, other countries may have set higher levels as “safe”, but it is very easy to reduce Radon levels in homes permanently. Radon is a radioactive gas of decaying uranium that is found in virtually all soil. It can collect inside a home after penetrating the structure through cracks in the foundation, and scientific studies have linked Radon to lung cancer.
This is not only an issue for older homes. Some of my clients with a “newer” homes, only a few years old, had elevated Radon level above 6.0 pCi/L. Any home can have elevated levels of Radon.
Any home can have elevated levels of Radon.
Montgomery County, Maryland now requires that all home sellers test for Radon prior to putting a home on the market. Those Radon level results are disclosed to prospective home buyers.
Radon Reduction Devices are Inexpensive
A recent Radon test on a home that a client bought in Vienna, VA cost $140. The 48-hour test showed a radon level of 4.4 pCi/L in the basement and the home seller agreed to install a remediation device. Radon Abatement Technologies of Vienna was called to install the device (cost about $850) known as a Soil Suction Radon Reduction System in the basement. This device was professionally installed near the sump pump system and then vented outside where the pressure fan was installed. The home was re-tested by Accurate Radon Testing Inc. and the Radon level was reduced to 1.7 pCi/L.
A Radon Inspection Contingency is usually 7 to 10 days
When I am out with clients looking at homes, I always stop and explain radon devices when we see them already installed in the basement of a home. Although you can typically hear the ultra quiet fan, there will be a pressure gauge or manometer that demonstrates the pressure difference. These devices are guaranteed to reduce radon, but to be absolutely sure that the Radon levels are low, you should consider doing a long-term test of 90 days. If your results show an elevated level then contact the installer identified next to the manometer to evaluate the existing system.
Get more helpful information from the EPA at the EPA web site. or at RadonResources.
- Yes, it’s your Second Showing (dougfrancis.com)
- Vienna VA Real Estate Stats | 2011 (dougfrancis.com)
- Adding a Deadline to Your Real Estate Offer (dougfrancis.com)
- Selling Your Home… have an FHA Mortgage? (dougfrancis.com)