Real NEastate: Should I be worried about radon?

Q: I bought my home in Somerton and – at the time – I had a home inspection and a termite inspection, but never thought of getting a radon inspection. Now I am worried because what if I have radon? Should I get a radon inspection now?

A: The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high. The problem is, you cannot see, smell or taste radon to know if you have too much radon in your home.

If you are worried, then by all means go ahead and have a radon inspection. You should test for your health and your peace of mind. Learn more about radon from the EPA booklet Home Buyer’s and Seller’s Guide to Radon.

If you hire a contractor to test your residence, make sure to hire a qualified company. If you decide run a radon test yourself, use the EPA’s radon testing checklist that can be found in the EPA booklet.

During a radon test:

  • Maintain closed-house conditions during the entire duration of a short-term test, especially for tests shorter than one week in length.
  • Operate the home’s heating and cooling systems normally during the test.
  • For tests lasting less than one week, operate only air-conditioning units which re-circulate interior air.
  • Do not disturb the test device at any time during the test.
  • If a radon-reduction system is in place, make sure the system is working properly and will be in operation during the entire radon test.

Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on NEastPhilly.com. See others hereRead other NEast Philly columns here.

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