Radon & Real Estate: Why Testing’s Necessary In Buying Homes
Updated: Jul 22
Radon is a radioactive gas that is released from the soil as a result of underground decay in uranium ore. Radon enters houses through cracks, voids, or openings in floors or foundation walls. You breathe in radon daily when you breathe air inside or outside your house. But health hazards only arise when radon gets trapped in a home and accumulates to unhealthy thresholds. It’s invisible, odourless and colourless, so you’ll never know by sense that the levels inside your home are too high just from living there. Moreover, it’s even harder to detect radon during inspections prior to real estate transactions because of the time required to do a proper long term average.
According to the C-NRPP, the minimum time allowable for a short-term real estate test for radon sits at 96 hours. So, if you opt for this test, a certified radon professional will operate in that window, sampling air in the enclosed spaces for 4 days. Homebuyers and real estate agents alike are often interested in how that helps the home’s marketability, as sales are often conditional on the review of various home inspection services.
However, Health Canada has warned that short-term testing provides few benefits and may install a false sense of security. Let’s look at why that is and what you can do about it.
Radon Testing Long-Term Is the Safest Option
Simply put, radon testing long-term provides accurate and precise results; radon testing in the short term can only grant a quick snapshot of radon levels in a home. For that reason, we offer 96-hour assessment, and we provide action recommendations based on the C-NRPP real estate assessment guidelines. It should really be a complement to a long-term radon test administered following C-NRPP and Health Canada standards; a short-term test can really only be about an indication for trends of radon gas in the home.
You should have peace of mind when you buy your dream home, but later discovering a radon problem in the house can be scary and stressful, especially if you put all your faith in an uncertified 2 hour home inspection radon test. By knowing the levels of radon more accurately, you will be able to breathe easy and enjoy your home. By insisting on long-term tests in your prospective real estate investments (if conditions allow for it), you can better rest assured that you’re getting a safe home.
Long-Term Radon Test Results Can Be Used As A Bargaining Tool
When looking for a home to buy, you may want to find out about the radon levels of a house before you can make an offer on it as it is a latent defect that must be disclosed if the homeowner has tested. By knowing accurate radon levels, you can have more leverage in your negotiations. When you know the value of safety and your seller does not, you’re negotiating from an advantageous position - and as more and more Calgarians and rural Albertans learn of the dangers of radon, your position of insisting on long-term tests becomes stronger and stronger.
When possible, ask for solid, long-term test results on average radon levels before buying a home. You can get it short-term tested at any time, but know the risks of doing so. You should be proactive about testing your prospective house, and if you buy a house without long-term results, you should at least prepare to conduct the test yourself after buying. If that means installing a radon mitigation system yourself, without the chance of recuperating the cost from the previous owner, you should still do it to protect your long term lung health.
By doing the long-term test before you sell, or after you buy, you can help protect people from the dangers of radon. By knowing your house has been tested thoroughly, you can be at peace with the decision to buy - and by long-term testing, before you sell, you can offer a health and safety assurance that untested homes on the market can’t match.
If everyone tested their single-residential home before selling, the housing market would provide a lot safer options for buyers getting into new homes. The cost of radon testing may vary, but you’ve always got options that will help you sell your house ethically and safely.
Great-West Radon is a “One Stop Shop” for all your radon-related needs. We provide detail-oriented, honest, and reliable radon testing in Calgary by using state-of-the-art tools and technology. From radon mitigation to radon removal, we are the top-rated Radon services company in Calgary, and we are proud of the work we do and the relationships we’ve created with our clients. We only use the best materials and equipment, ensuring all guidelines set out by the Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program and Health Canada are being met. If you require radon testing, mitigation, removal, or a radon test kit in Calgary, Great Radon West has you covered.