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Should I Buy a Home With a Mitigation System?
Mitigation System? Shopping for a home comes with endless questions. Is this neighborhood walkable? Will my kids have a safe area to play? Are there loud neighbors nearby? What does it mean if there is a crack in the foundation?
Once you finally find a home that checks all the boxes and accepts your offer, it’s inspection time, which can be even more confusing. If your inspector or realtor lets you know there is a radon mitigation system in the home, you may be wondering if the home is even safe for you, let alone friends and family, to live in. We’re here to clear the air—literally and metaphorically.
What Is Radon?
Radon is an odorless, invisible, radioactive gas that rises from the soil in the ground. When released outside, it is not a concern to your health. However, radon also rises through the foundation of buildings, and long-term indoor exposure can damage the DNA in your lungs. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers in the United States and can also cause other life-altering lung diseases.
Because of Utah’s geography and geology, radon is highly prevalent in Utah homes. According to the American Lung Association, 41% of homes in Utah have dangerously high levels of radon, which may explain why lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in Utah, even though there are low smoking rates.
What Does It Mean if a Home Has a Radon Mitigation System?
If a home has a radon mitigation system, that means the building previously tested high for radon and required a system to lower the radon levels. In most cases, it means the home is safer than the majority of the homes without a radon system.
What is a Radon Mitigation System and How Does it Work?
A radon mitigation system is made of a 3-to-4-inch PVC pipe that runs from the soil beneath a home’s foundation up to the roof. There is a continuously running suction motor called a radon fan on the pipe that draws the radon out of the soil and safely vents it above the roof. The average lifespan of the radon fan is 10–15 years, and replacing the radon fan when it is needed is the only maintenance necessary.
2 Steps To Take if You Are Buying a Home With a Radon Mitigation System
1) Check the radon reduction system, vent, and fan
- Look for an airflow gauge (manometer) on the pipe, and make sure the manometer indicates that the fan is on. If the manometer shows no airflow, the fan likely needs to be replaced.
- Make sure the exhaust pipe vents the radon above the roofline. It is not permitted to vent radon at ground level or into a garage or attic.
- Check to see if the fan is on the outside of the house or in the attic. The fan is not permitted to be in a basement or crawl space.
If you see anything questionable or have concerns about a system, a quick phone call to Utah Radon Services can give you some guidance.
2) Test the home’s radon level
With the mitigation system on, test the home for radon to ensure it has low levels. Don’t assume the radon levels will be low without testing—some homes may need more than one mitigation system. Additionally, some systems need larger fans or may not have been installed properly. Doing a radon test will help you confirm that the system is doing what it is supposed to do. If the radon level still tests high, call Utah Radon Services at 801-871-0715 to learn what can be done to fix it.
So, Should I Buy a Home With a Radon Mitigation System?
In short, yes, buy a home with a mitigation system! A home with a mitigation system, when installed properly and retested, will generally have a lower radon level than a “low radon” home without a mitigation system. Having a functioning radon system provides safety and peace of mind for you and your loved ones. For more information call Utah Radon Services at 801-871-0715 or to get a free radon test click here.