How To Look At A House
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Will the radon test come back sky-high in a house that has been empty and closed-up for months?
Monday, October 8, 2018
Extemely high test results, like the one shown above, do happen occasionally; but they are not the result of a closed-up house.The test results will not vary significantly from what they would be in an occupied home. There are several reasons for this:
- Radon has a half-life of just under 4 days. This means that the radon that entered the home a month ago will now be approximately 1/250th as radioactive as it was, and decreases to virtually nil shortly thereafter. It doesn’t keep accumulating.
- No house, even a closed-up one, is airtight. All the cracks, crevices, loose caulking, and gaps around doors and ceiling penetrations add up to the equivalent of a hole in the wall of an average house. Plus, houses have a natural suction, called a “stack effect,” that pulls outside air in and up through the roof. Slow, but regular air changes occur even in a closed house.
- Most of America lives with their windows closed today, and a recirculating heating/cooling system. So a closed, empty house is not all that different from an occupied one.
The protocol for radon testing in a real estate transaction calls for the house to be closed for at least 12 hours before the beginning of the 48-hour test, and remain closed for the duration, in order for the test to simulate the living conditions of the average home.
For more information about radon we recommend that you visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s radon homepage at http://www.epa.gov/radon/. Also, you can click on any of the three report covers below to download consumer guides to radon from the EPA.
Not sure whether testing for radon is worth the cost? Before you decide, read our blog post How can not testing for radon be an expensive mistake for homebuyers?
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