The short answer is a resounding yes. At U.P. Home Inspection, we always advocate for radon testing in every home— especially in radon-prone areas of the U.P. like Dickinson County, Iron County, Gogebic, Houghton, Marquette, Menominee, Alger, Delta, Mackinac, and Chippewa Counties.
Some UP counties are hot spots for radon, with 25 or more homes testing positive. Wondering if radon is prevalent in your area of the Upper Peninsula? Check out this map by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energyto find out.
But that’s not the whole story—the following questions remain:
- “Why test for radon?”
- “How do I test for radon?”
- And “how often should I test for radon?”
This blog will address these common radon testing questions and provide you some simple solutions to ensuring your property has safe and healthy air quality now and for years to come.
What Is Radon?
Let’s start by talking about what radon is in the first place. As we previously explained in our blog, Radon Risks and How to Deal with It, radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that results from the breakdown of uranium in the ground. This odorless, tasteless gas can then enter your home through well water or cracks in the foundation.
High concentrations of radon can pose a significant health risk – it’s currently the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.
3 Reasons Why Testing for Radon Is a Smart Idea
Consider these three critical points before deciding whether testing for radon is a good idea in your home.
- Radon gas becomes increasingly dangerous indoors—Radon doesn’t pose a considerable risk outdoors because it quickly dissipates into the atmosphere. The real problem arises when radon gets trapped inside a tightly sealed home, triggering an unsafe buildup of gas. So, even though radon is naturally occurring, it can end up causing health problems in enclosed spaces.
- Radon is difficult to detect— Unlike other natural gasses, radon is completely odorless and tasteless, making it extremely difficult to detect without professional-grade equipment or radon testing kits.
- Radon testing can save you money—There’s a common misconception that radon is a total deal-breaker when buying a property. But that’s just not true. Radon mitigation—or abatement— will reduce radon levels in your home, making it safe again.
But radon abatement doesn’t come without a significant investment (ranging from $800- $2,000) depending on the size of your home. This is where getting a professional radon test before putting in an offer on a property can pay off. It’s completely acceptable to ask the seller to mitigate this issue or reduce the asking price if radon is detected on the property.
Your Radon Testing Options—Professional Testing Vs. Home Monitoring
When you schedule a professional radon test, your U.P. Home Inspector will drop off professional-grade equipment in your home for 48 hours. The caveat here is that professionals only sample for a short window of time. Due to seasonal and barometric changes, radon levels during the testing period may be higher or lower than average—and there’s no way to know for sure without continual monitoring.
This is why we often talk ourselves out of radon jobs. In many cases, we advise homeowners to opt for consumer-grade continual radon monitoring equipment.
Home radon equipment costs not much more than a radon inspection. While a home radon monitoring device is not as precise or accurate as professional radon testing, it will give you a pretty good idea of radon levels in your home over time. If your home equipment reports levels above 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher (the threshold for safety), you’ll know it’s time to bring in a professional to verify what’s going on. Since it’s standard practice to re-test using different equipment when high radon levels are reported, doing it this way relieves any doubt with very little extra expense.
Ultimately, the choice is yours! Whether you want to check radon levels by hiring a professional home inspector before purchasing your property or continually monitor with a consumer-grade device or even a combination of the two—they’re all excellent options. Just make sure you’re monitoring radon in your home one way or another.
Questions About UP Radon Inspections?
We’re here to help you gain confidence in the safety of your air quality.
Feel free to reach out to Rich Beasley, Marquette MI home inspector and owner of U.P. Home Inspection LLC. at (906) 360-3879 with any questions today!