Where do you test for radon? Why test for radon in the lowest, finished, living area?

The concern is long term exposure, so the test should be conducted in an area where people will spend a significant amount of time (which is usually a finished living area).

The lowest level is used as radon comes up from the ground and as it travels up through the house, there are more opportunities for it escape the house, so you are typically going to have the highest concentration on the lowest level.

Arranging access with the seller

If you are buying a house (or are a buyer’s agent) ordering services with us:

  • Please let us know if you have (or are) a buyer’s agent. Please let us know if you would like us to copy your agent on everything.
  • If it’s listed in Canopy MLS (Buncombe, Henderson, Haywood, Madison, etc) – we can use the showing service or get the list agent’s info for any questions, paperwork, access, etc that we need.
  • If it’s listed in with an agent in another MLS (Jackson, Swain, Macon, Mitchell, etc) or not in an MLS – please provide us with the list agent’s contact info for any questions, paperwork, access, etc that we need.
  • If it’s a For Sale By Owner, please let us know upfront and provide us with seller’s name, email, and phone numbers. We will contact them directly with any questions, paperwork, access info/permission, that we need.

In our experience, it has always been better for us to communicate with the listing side directly:

  • Scheduling & Access – we will of course keep our client (and their agent) updated about when it is scheduled for; but we have found it best for us to schedule in Showing Times or with the list agent/fsbo owner – that way the buyer/agent doesn’t have to go back and forth between us and the list agent with times and access info, nothing gets lost or missed in a game of “telephone”, and if something has to be rescheduled we can do so quickly and conveniently.
  • Questions – If we have questions about the property, systems, permits, etc, it is easier for us to communicate with the listing side directly since we know all the right questions to ask. (Of course, any questions or discussions about the services will be had with our client.)

What is radon? Why should we test for Radon?

According to the CDC: “Radon is a colorless, tasteless, odorless, radioactive gas. It occurs naturally and is produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water.” and “Uranium is found in small amounts in most rocks and soil. It slowly breaks down to other products such as radium, which breaks down to radon.”

The EPA says “Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers” (overall, its second only to smoking).

The particles released seep up from the ground and can seep into the house and get trapped, causing a build up of radon in the air which people then breathe in.

The EPA says “(January 13 2005) U.S. Surgeon General, Richard H. Carmona, issues a Health Advisory warning Americans about the health risk from exposure to radon in indoor air.  The Chief Physician urged Americans to test their homes to find out how much radon they might be breathing.  Dr. Carmona also stressed the need to remedy the problem as soon as possible when the radon level is 4pCi/L or more”

If the average level is more than 4pCi/L, a radon mitigation system should be installed.

Radon Testing

Radon Water Testing

According to the CDC, “Radon is a colorless, tasteless, odorless, radioactive gas”.  The CDC also says “High levels of dissolved radon are found in the groundwater in some areas flowing through granite”; however, it also says “Showering, washing dishes, and laundering can disturb the water and release radon gas into the air you breathe”.  Radon leaves water to enter the air, so most people test the air in the home for radon.

The EPA has not yet approved a collection method (would have to be air tight), testing method (would also have to be air tight to get an accurate result), or a recommended level of radon in water.  Because of this we do not currently offer a test for radon in water, but we do offer testing for Radon in the air.

Radon Testing

Radon Testing: Do we need to be home

We do need inside the home to set and pick up the test.

If the house is listed with an agent, we will arrange access with them. Otherwise, we will need someone home, or access to a lockbox, spare key, door code, etc.

Do not touch, bump, move, or otherwise interact with the testing box.

If house is occupied, go about normal routine, except as follows:

  • Keep exterior doors and windows closed.
  • Leave the HVAC set as it would normally in an occupied house.
  • Leave ceiling fans off.