What are a homebuyer's options when the radon test comes back high (4.0 pico-curies/liter or more)?
Thursday, July 12, 2018
You have several alternatives when your radon test results are at or above the 4.0 pico-curies/liter line where the Environmental Protection Agency recommends remediation. Here’s our list, with the first one being the easiest:
- Retest - Radon levels vary from hour-to-hour throughout the day, seasonally, and also change with the weather. If your test result is just slightly over 4.0, it is acceptable to retest and use an average of the two tests. So, a 4.6 initial test and a second test at 3.0 would average out to 3.8—within the EPA acceptable range. As the original test number approaches 8.0, however, your likelihood of getting an average below 4.0 diminishes rapidly. Because it is to the seller’s benefit to have an acceptable radon test result, it is often possible to get the seller to order and pay for a second test for averaging before proceeding to mitigation considerations.
- Ask the seller to install radon mitigation - Under Florida law, as in many states, the seller of a residential property has an obligation to disclose all known facts that materially affect the value of the property being sold and are not readily observable. Once it has been determined that the home has an elevated radon level, if it is not mitigated and the home is not sold, then the seller must disclose the problem to all future potential buyers. This is an incentive for the seller to lower the radon level in the home, either by paying the full cost of a mitigation system or splitting the cost with the homebuyer.
- Install radon mitigation yourself - The typical cost in our area is between $2,500 and $5,000, depending on the size of the home.
- Decide to live with the high radon level - If the radon level is barely above the actionable level of 4.0, you might consider ignoring the EPA safety guidelines and living with the elevated radon. This is not a great idea, and not just because of the increased risk of lung cancer. You will be required to disclose the radon problem to any potential buyers (under the Florida’s disclosure law, as noted above) when it’s time for you to sell the house, and this will make it difficult for sell without installing a mitigation system later. So you might end up installing a radon mitigation system to sell, but not receiving the benefit of having one while you are living in the 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, see our blog post Can the seller tamper with a homebuyer's radon test to change the results?
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