Radon Test FAQ
Why do you need to test for radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas that has been found in homes all over the U.S. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home can trap radon inside. Sometimes radon enters the home through well water.
Any home can have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements. In fact, you and your family are most likely to get your greatest radiation exposure at home. That is where you spend most of your time.
Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels. Elevated levels of radon gas have been found in homes in your state. Contact your state radon office for information about radon in your area.
Testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon.
If I am selling a home what should I do?
If you are thinking of selling your home and you have already tested your home for radon, provide your test results to the buyer. No matter what kind of test you took, a potential buyer may ask for a new test especially if :
1. You have renovated or altered your home since you tested
2. The buyer plans to live in a lower level of the house than you do
3. Your state requires disclosure of radon information to buyers
If the home has not yet been tested for radon, have a test taken as soon as possible. If you can, test your home before putting it on the market because this may save time during real estate transactions. You should test in the lowest level of the home which is suitable for occupancy and finished. This means testing in the lowest level not currently used, but which a buyer could use for living space without renovations. The result of the radon test is important information about your home’s radon level that potential buyers may want to know.
You can test your own home or hire an EPA listed or state certified radon tester. Call your state radon office for a list of these professional radon testers.
If I am buying a home what should I do?
If you are thinking of buying a home, you may either decide to accept the test results from the seller, ask the seller to do another test, or you may ask for a new test to be conducted by an EPA listed or state certified radon tester.
If you plan to use the seller’s test, find out as soon as possible from the seller :
1. The results of the previous test
2. Who conducted the previous test: the homeowner, a radon professional, or some other person; and
3. Where in the home the previous test was taken, especially if you may plan to live in a lower level of the home.
4. What, if any, structural changes or alterations have been made to the house since the test was done. Such changes might affect radon levels.
If you decide that a new test is needed, you should discuss it with the seller as soon as possible. If you decide to use an EPA qualified or state certified radon tester, contact your state radon office for a list of radon testing companies.
If the home has not yet been tested for radon, make sure that a radon test is done as soon as possible. You should consider including provisions in the contract specifying who should conduct the test, what type of test to do, when to do the test, and how the seller and the buyer will share the test results, test costs and, if necessary, when radon reduction measures should be taken and who should pay for them.
Make sure that the test is done in the lowest level of the home suitable for occupancy. This means the lowest level that you are going to use as living space which is finished or does not require renovations prior to use. A state or local radon official or an EPA listed or state certified radon tester can help you make some of these decisions.
If you decide to finish or renovate an unfinished area of the home in the future, radon tests should be taken before and after the area is finished. Radon reduction costs could be incurred if high levels are found in that area. Generally,
it is less expensive to install a radon reduction system before or during renovations rather than afterwards.
Mass.Gov Radon Facts