(Consumer Reports) - So you’re in the market to buy a house, and you think you’ve found the one. Then you order an inspection and find out the radon levels in the house are high. Should you walk away from the deal? Consumer Reports says you don’t have to. Here’s why:
It’s no secret radon is dangerous.
A radioactive gas, radon is emitted from the soil that can seep into homes and buildings through cracks. Inhaling it has been linked to lung cancer, killing an estimated 21-thousand people a year.
But Consumer Reports says if you’ve set your sights on a home with dangerous levels of radon, don’t panic. Radon-related deaths are due to exposure over the course of a lifetime.
“You should definitely take it seriously but you really don’t need to walk away from the home. It’s actually pretty easy to remove radon, and it’s not that expensive,” said Consumer Reports's Home Editor Paul Hope.
Home inspections often include testing for radon using short term kits. But since radon levels in a home can vary over time, it pays to follow up with your own test.
Consumer Reports recommends the RTCA 4Pass, which will get you results in a week or less for $23. For a better representation that tests of at least 90 days, the Accustar Alpha is your best bet for $25.
If levels read between 2 and 4 picocuries per liter, consider fixing your home. For about $1200, you can remove radon by installing a pipe that vents it from the soil out through the roof.
And don’t forget that you can always use the expense of fixing the radon problem as a bargaining chip.
You should also know that in some states home sellers may be required by law to disclose the radon test results to other potential buyers on a seller’s disclosure form.