|Radon & Real Estate Transactions
|More informed home buyers than ever are having radon tests performed before they purchase a new home.
But what should you do if an elevated concentration of radon is found as a result of the test? Does this mean you should walk
away from your dream home? No! Radon reduction (mitigation) technology has improved so much over the past few years that
reducing radon has become an easy and affordable procedure.
Radon – What is it?
Radon is an invisible, odorless, radioactive gas caused by the decay of natural deposits of uranium in the soil. Elevated radon
levels can significantly increase an occupant’s risk of developing lung cancer. Radon levels in a home have nothing to do with
the age, quality or upkeep of the structure.
How prevalent is radon in Michigan? (View the EPA Radon Map of Michigan)
Surveys conducted by the Michigan Department of Public Health indicate that about 12% of the homes in Michigan are in excess
of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s action level of 4.0 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L). The only way to tell if a
house has elevated levels of radon is to have it tested. This is easy to do. The cost of a forty-eight (48) hour radon screening is
usually less than $150. For real estate transactions, testing should be conducted by a certified professional using an EPA
approved Continuous Radon Monitor (CRM) and NOT a charcoal (passive) test. Only CRM have tamper detection systems
which record any unauthorized disturbance or movement that may have affected the results. Plus, only a CRM will record
the radon level every hour of the test, providing much more detail as to the fluctuations of the radon level within the structure over
Ask about radon before you buy or build!
Am I alone in being concerned about radon?
Absolutely not! Thousands of people living in Michigan, joined by hundreds of thousands around the country, have had their
homes tested for radon. Similarly, thousands of Michigan residents have had quiet, economical and effective radon systems
installed in their homes.
If I find a house with an elevated radon level, should I look for another house?
If you look for another home in the same area, chances are good that it will also have a radon concern (because radon is
associated with uranium deposits in the soil.) Don’t sweat it, radon can be reduced! Just like a water drainage concern can be
fixed with a sump pump, a radon system can will actively draw the radon out from beneath the home and exhaust it safely
Won’t sealing the floor and wall cracks take care of the problem?
NO! Sealing floor cracks to keep radon out is as difficult as sealing floors and walls to keep water from seeping in. To control
radon in an existing home, a collection system must be installed to draw radon from the soil and exhaust it to a safe location
outside of the home. These radon reduction systems are called Active Soil Depressurization or Sub-Slab Suction systems.
Should I have the house fixed before or after I take possession?
Radon mitigation technology has advanced to the point that the buyer can have a system installed before or after purchase with
equal confidence of success. Consider that by having the seller install the system, the quality of the materials and the
aesthetics of the system are left up to someone else, but by waiting until after you take possession, you will control these
details. The relatively standard costs of a radon mitigation system make setting aside escrowed funds for this purpose a
• Radon can be reliably mitigated to less than the EPA’s action level of 4 pCi/L.
• Most mitigation systems can be installed in one day by a qualified contractor.
• The system should operate 24 hours to take effect before retesting can occur.
• High levels of radon can be found in any house, regardless of its age.
• More builders are installing radon systems, but do not assume a new home has one.
• Carefully consider your choice of a testing company.
• Avoid potential conflicts of interest by using separate contractors for the radon testing and mitigation services.
How expensive are these systems to install and operate?
A reduction system consists of plastic pipe connected to the soil either (a) through a hole in a concrete slab, (b) via a sump
cover connection or (c) beneath a plastic sheet lined crawl space. Attached to the pipe is a quiet, continuously operating fan that
discharges the radon gas outdoors.
• Average installation cost: $900 (+/- $150)
• Average operating cost: $3/month
• Expected life span of fan: 14 years
• Fan replacement cost: $145 - $250
• Periodic maintenance: None
We hope that this information helps you better understand radon in your home. While the above information presented is
believed accurate, no warranty or guarantee is granted. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding the above
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