Home Buyer’s Guide to Radon System Inspections

Purchasing a new home brings many priorities to mind from neighborhoods to features to budgets. But one critical consideration for home buyers in areas like Fort Collins is having the radon system inspected. Don’t leave this important safety assessment to chance during a real estate transaction.

What is Radon and How Do Homes Get Contaminated?

Radon represents an invisible radioactive gas emitted from the natural decay of uranium found in soils and rocks. At high concentrations, radon can be hazardous to human health as it emits cancer-causing radiation particles when inhaled. The EPA has identified radon as the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.

While radon occurs naturally, it can seep into homes from the ground through cracks in the foundation and become dangerously concentrated indoors. Some regions are more prone to radon infiltration based on local geology, with Fort Collins rating among high risk areas according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Why Should I Have the Radon System Inspected?

If a Fort Collins home has an existing radon mitigation system installed, it is highly recommended to get this system professionally inspected and evaluated during the home buying process.

Here are key reasons why radon system inspection matters:

  • Confirm it is operating optimally to reduce radon. Improper maintenance can lower mitigation effectiveness over time.
  • Assess fan functioning which vents radon gases from beneath the home. Fans may require repair or replacement.
  • Check for cracks, gaps or leaks in the piping system. Sealants can degrade, undermining radon reduction.
  • Review available radon testing data. Even with mitigation, radon levels should retest below EPA safety thresholds.
  • Identify any needed upgrades, expansions or repairs to ensure radon safety for your family.
  • Establish a maintenance history and baseline understanding of the radon system.

Buying a home is already filled with stresses. Identifying potential radon system issues upfront provides peace of mind that this hidden hazard has been addressed properly prior to completing a major investment.

How to Find a Qualified Radon Inspector

Don’t leave your radon system assessment to just any contractor. Seek out qualified professionals specifically certified in radon measurement and mitigation:

  • Contact the National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) or National Radon Safety Board (NRSB) to find certified radon measurement technicians and mitigators in your region. Many states also offer radon professional licensing programs with searchable directories.
  • Look for technicians trained in active radon system testing protocols which assess mitigation effectiveness during actual suction/ventilation along with passive testing.
  • Choose a technician familiar with the latest radon codes and standards as well as common diagnostic practices. Experience with local soil conditions is also a plus.
  • Verify necessary certifications and licenses as mandated for radon professionals in your state and locality.
  • Ask for references from past home inspection clients to ascertain quality of work and service.
  • Review sample inspection reports to understand the testing process and documentation provided.

Selecting a truly qualified radon mitigation specialist provides confidence in your home’s radon analysis results.

Elements of a Radon System Inspection

A proper radon inspection will be comprehensive in assessing your home’s radon reduction network. While exact protocols vary, standard inspection elements include:

  • Reviewing system installation paperwork and documentation where available.
  • Testing fan functionality for optimal suctioning of gases from beneath home.
  • Checking tubing, piping, and joints for leaks or detachments that undermine suction.
  • Evaluating condition and connections of vent pipes and exhaust points.
  • Assessing foundation seals and potential points of radon entry or bypass.
  • Testing radon levels from several home areas both with and without mitigation active.
  • Detailing results with room-level radon concentrations and identifying problem zones.
  • Providing diagnostic recommendations and next steps for any system repairs or upgrades needed.
  • Discussing ongoing radon monitoring recommendations for continued protection.

Any issues uncovered by the inspector should be addressed per their guidance prior to closing.

What If Problems Are Found?

If the inspection reveals issues with the radon mitigation system, such as aging or faulty components, needed expansions or upgrades, or lingering unsafe radon levels in some rooms, discuss solutions with your real estate agent.

Potential next steps include:

  • Renegotiating the home price if substantial upgrades are needed.
  • Agreeing on seller credit for a new radon system if replacement is recommended.
  • Making repairs a contingency for finalizing the purchase.
  • Possessing leverage to motivate the seller to fix identified issues at their expense.

Problems found are better uncovered before rather than after buying a home. Think of the inspection as providing the chance to address radon concerns proactively.

Buying Peace of Mind along with Your Home

In a region with prevalent radon risk, ensuring your future home’s existing mitigation system is operating safely and effectively should be a priority. Don’t leave such a vital health factor to speculation. Partner with a certified radon professional to inspect the radon reduction network during the home buyer process. Safeguarding your family starts with a thoroughly inspected radon system before move-in day.

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