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Should You Test for Radon When Buying a Home?

(Originally published November 7, 2019)

In short...Yes. In long...also yes. Although it may seem unnecessary at the time or an added expense during an already expensive process, the risks of not testing for Radon far outweigh the short-term relief of not doing so.

A little background on Radon:

Radon gas is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. In New York alone, 900 to 1,000 people die of radon-induced lung cancer every year, according to the EPA.


  • Is a naturally occurring gas and a known carcinogen

  • Seeps out of nearby rocks, soil, and water to accumulate in the indoor spaces of our home

  • Enters through cracks and other openings in the home’s foundation and can remain trapped there, especially during the winter months when windows and doors are kept closed

  • Has no immediate signs of exposure, and symptoms can take years to present themselves. You could be inhaling high levels of the gas without knowing it

Which homes are at risk for Radon?:

Any home can have a radon problem, whether it be new or old, well sealed or drafty, and with or without basements. New York has areas with higher than average Radon levels.

  • 30% of tested New York homes have radon levels that exceed the EPA action level

  • 50% or more of reported levels in multiple counties exceed the EPA action level

The EPA strongly recommends that you obtain the indoor radon level of a home if you are a home buyer or a #homeseller, as well as if the home you are currently living in has not yet been tested. Studies show that 50% of radon tests are administered incorrectly. It is therefore a good idea to get in touch with an air quality professional. Having a trained professional, such as Maypole, test your home for radon can provide you with accurate and fast results that go a long way towards detailing the quality of the air you are breathing.

What levels are safe? The EPA has set an action level for radon of 4pCi/L. However, most scientists agree that this level is much too high and is not a health-based standard.

Radon Exposure Limits

The U.S. national average for outdoor radon levels is 0.4pCi/L which can be considered a health-based action level. A good guideline is to keep the level under 1pCi/L and as close to the outdoor level as possible. That being said, it is widely accepted by experts that there is no "safe" level or radon gas exposure.

What should you do if you have Radon in your home?

Thankfully, Radon reduction systems are considered affordable and highly effective, with the ability to reduce radon levels in your home by up to 99 percent. Some common mitigation systems include:

  • Soil Suction

  • Crawlspace Ventilation

  • Natural Ventilation

  • Pressurization

  • Sealing

In conclusion, there are currently no regulations requiring a #homebuyer to test for Radon prior to purchasing a home. The best we can do for now is to educate the general public as much as possible to the importance of having this test performed.

For more information regarding buying or selling a home

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