For Home Buyers:
If you are buying a house there are some things you need to know to protect you and your family. Houses fall into two categories, homes that have been previously tested and homes that have not been tested.
A. If the house has previously been tested, you must decide whether or not to accept the earlier test result. Some factors to consider before accepting the test results are:
If you decide to accept the seller’s test, make sure that the test followed the EPA Radon Testing Checklist. If you decide that a new test is needed, discuss it with the seller as soon as possible. If you decide to use a qualified radon tester, contact your state radon office to obtain a copy of their approved list of radon testing companies.
- What were the results from the previous test?
- How long ago was the test performed? If greater than two years have passed since the test was done, you may want to consider having another test performed.
- Who conducted the previous test: the homeowner, a radon professional, or some other person?
- Where in the home was the previous test performed, especially if you plan to live in a lower level of the home? For example, the test may have been done on the first floor, but you want to use the basement as living space.
- What, if any, structural changes, alterations, or changes in the heating, ventilation, and/or air conditioning (HVAC) system have been made to the house since the test was performed? Such changes might affect radon levels.
B. If the house has NOT been previously tested, then make sure a radon test is done as soon as possible. Consider including provisions in the contract specifying:
- Where the test will be conducted;
- Who should perform the test;
- What type of test to do;
- When to do the test;
- How the seller and the buyer will share the test results and test costs (if necessary); and
- When, if necessary, radon mitigation measures will be taken, who pays for them?
One thing to remember when performing a radon test, make sure the test is done in the lowest level of the home suitable for occupancy. This means the lowest level that you are going to use as living space which is finished or does not require renovations prior to use.
If you decide to finish or renovate an unfinished area of the home in the future, a radon test should be performed before starting the project and after the project is finished. In most cases, it is cheaper to install a radon-reduction system prior (or during) renovations rather than afterwards.