Radon Basics for Real Estate Professionals
By Barry C. Westbrook
DocAir provides radon monitoring for residential and commercial clients usually consisting of a short term test (approximately 48 hours). It is important to understand that the readings we obtain during a short term test are only an indicator of the actual exposure levels. Here is what the EPA says:
Step 1. Take a short-term test. If your result is 4 pCi/L or higher, take a follow-up test (Step 2) to be sure.
Step 2. Follow up with either a long-term test or a second short-term test:
For a better understanding of your year-round average radon level, take a long-term test. If you need results quickly, take a second short-term test.
The higher your initial short-term test result, the more certain you can be that you should take a short-term rather than a long-term follow up test. If your first short-term test result is more than twice EPA’s 4 pCi/L action level, you should take a second short-term test immediately.
Step 3. If you followed up with a long-term test: Fix your home if your long-term test result is 4 pCi/L or more. If you followed up with a second short-term test: The higher your short-term results, the more certain you can be that you should fix your home.
It has become a standard in the real estate industry to treat readings below 4 as okay while readings above 4 are assumed to require mitigation by the seller. This could be misleading. If a homeowner would definitely install a mitigation system when the short term reading is 4.1, he should consider that 3.9 is not that much different.
Here is our advice to real estate professionals: Provide the buyer and seller with the short term monitoring information along with a concise summary of radon facts so that the issue of radon risk can reasonably evaluated by all parties. The decision to conduct additional monitoring or to mitigate can be negotiated along with the other aspects of the transaction.
It is important to note that there is no law in Tennessee requiring radon mitigation.