What Is Radon? Should I Get A Test?

What is radon? Radon is a radioactive gas emitted from the ground. It can get into homes through cracks, poor ventilation, and so many other ways. For a more complete description and explanation, check out the EPA’s Radon Guide. Did you know that radon is the leading cause of lung-cancer among non-smokers, and the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer in America?

Our Regional Contract for Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland allows for a separate contingency for a radon inspection. Usually performed at the same time as the home inspection, they tend to be grouped together. A radon test involves canisters that are left at the lowest point of the home for a duration of 48-72 hours (with all doors and windows remaining shut), depending on the company doing the test. They will then be sent to a lab to check for tampering and to be read for levels of gas emitted.

EPA guidelines say anything over 4pCi/L is potentially harmful and should be fixed. Radon remediation is usually easy to fix and fairly inexpensive (every house is different, but i’ve seen the average be about $1,000 +/-).

So who needs one? Definitely any house with any portion under ground (be it basement, ground level condo, a townhouse with a portion underground, etc.) I’d even go so far as to recommend one for a 1st or 2nd floor condo. Of course, if you choose to do one on a penthouse unit of a condo building, that’s up to your discretion! You have the opportunity, so if you want to take it – do so!

3 thoughts on “What Is Radon? Should I Get A Test?

  1. Just received the “Failed” radon test results from a house across the street from Randolph Elementary school in Arlington. Average score was 9.4 pCi/l using the EPERM type monitor. High was 9.6 and low was 9.2

    I hope they test the elementary school.

    • Jerry,
      That’s a VERY high level. I would have it retested just to confirm. If that’s a true number, send notice to the school! The Today show just did a segment on high levels of radon in schools that are going undetected and untreated.


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