I recently read an enlightening (and somewhat scary) article about radon gas in our local newspaper. I had vaguely heard about radon gas in the past, but didn’t pay much attention until this article, in which I got two big wake-up calls:
Wake-Up Call #1
I discovered that my county is considered a “high-risk” area for radon accumulation in homes. 2/3 of my state is also considered “high-risk.”
Wake-Up Call #2
And radon has a tremendously high potential to cause lung cancer.
The basics of radon
- Radon comes from uranium
- Occurs naturally during the rock decay process in subsoil
- The gas is trapped in buildings as the subsoil air rises through cracks and pores in the foundation.
I’ve been insuring homes since 1996, and am very familiar with the standard inspections that come with buying a house. Pest inspection (including termites), lead-based paint (for homes built before 1978) and gas lines are some of the most common. But one for radon is not something I’ve seen, even when I purchased my first and second homes.
Now that I’m aware of the high risk potential in my community, you can bet I’ll be more vigilant in counseling my customers (especially first-time homebuyers) about this danger. Yes, I know, it’s not an “insurance concern”, but it is a safety concern and that trumps any insurance concern in my opinion. My job, above all else, is to help people, and by advising of this danger, I can sleep well knowing I’ve done my job.
Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Family
- If you’re buying a home, insist on a radon inspection, in addition to the other standard inspections. If present in above acceptable levels, the seller will need to hire a professional to mitigate the problem to acceptable levels.
- If the radon inspection is not mandatory or not done before purchase, for whatever reason, buy a home test kit. Our local health department offers them for $6. Pretty inexpensive peace of mind if you ask me.
- If radon is present in a higher than acceptable level, hire a professional specializing in radon mitigation. An average contractor won’t do- this has to be someone who has the expertise to handle this specific problem.
On average the radon removal process costs between $800 and $2,500 for existing homes and between $350 and $500 for new construction.
For more resources on radon gas, including a map of radon zones, finding a test kit and/or licensed radon specialists, visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.
Many thanks to The Bellefontaine Examiner for their article, from which I pulled a lot of the data you see here.
You can read about radon gas (and so much more) in my book “Insuring Your First Home: Your Guide to Make Home Buying Painless”
Written in the same style as this blog, it’s THE resource for insuring your first home- detailed info about the process, behind-the-scenes details of how insurance companies look at homes, safety considerations and 17 years worth of experience helping first time homebuyers. Chapters include “What Determines How Much I’ll Pay for Insurance”, “Insurance Deal Makers & Breakers”, “Sold! What Happens Next?” and “Limitations and Exclusions of a Homeowners Policy that Directly Affect You.”
Read more and order your copy. Available in both paperback and electronic versions.