A buyer who makes an offer on a Maryland house must decide which inspections they will conduct. The initial offer will include inspections and a time frame for completion. The home inspections are usually completed within two weeks of signing a contract to purchase a Maryland house. The inspections allow buyers to see the property and make informed decisions about buying it. Inspections not only reveal any problems, but also highlight positive aspects and provide tips for future maintenance.
A radon inspection is one type of inspection that’s often done when purchasing a Maryland house. A radon inspection is highly recommended for houses with basements.
Let’s look at some of the most frequently asked questions about radon inspections during real estate transactions.
Commonly Asked Questions about Radon Inspections when Buying or Selling a Maryland House
What is Radon?
Radon is invisible, radioactive, tasteless, and has no odor. Radon can be found all over the world. Radon can also cause cancer if it is present in high levels for a long time, often years. Radioactive decay is the natural breakdown of uranium from soil and rock. Sometimes, it can be found in water wells. Radon is not detectable in houses without testing. Radon Testing in Rockville is the only way to determine if radon has been present in a home. Separate water testing is required to determine whether there is radon.
How does Radon enter a house?
Radon climbs out of the ground and into the air to get into a house. Radon can enter houses through cracks or holes in foundations. Sump pumps are a common way for radon to enter a home. Radon can get trapped in a sump pump and levels can increase. The threat is lessened in areas of the house that have ventilation (open doors or windows). Radon gas is more heavy than air. Basements have the highest levels of Radon gas because they are not well-ventilated.
Are Radon and Maryland a Problem?
Maryland has radon levels higher than others, but it is possible to find it throughout the state. It is impossible to know if a house has high or low radon levels. A house may have low radon levels, but the house next to it could have high levels. The presence of rock beneath a house and the existence of entry points will determine the level of radon. This map shows the Radon Zones of Maryland, which includes areas where radon was detected at higher levels.
Are Radon Testing Requirements in Maryland?
The mandatory radon test is not required for anyone buying a Maryland house, except in Montgomery County. On October 1, 2016, a new Montgomery County law was implemented. The law stipulates that radon testing must be done and results should not exceed one year old before a house or townhouse can be sold. Montgomery County residents will have their house tested for radon before listing it for sale. Buyers will need to be tested for radon if they don’t have it done.
Why do Maryland home buyers want a Radon inspection?
Some Maryland homeowners are worried about the health effects of radon in their homes. Even if you inhale radon at high levels for a prolonged period, there are no symptoms. High levels of radon can cause lung cancer. Radon is the number 2 cause of lung cancer in America. Lung cancer is most commonly caused by smoking. For non-smokers, high levels of radon exposure are the most common cause of lung cancer. The byproducts of radon decomposition in soil can enter a house and inhale into the lungs. This can cause changes in the cells that can then lead to cancer.
Radon Exposure may Cause Lung Cancer.
- A persistent cough
- You are wheezing
- Breathing difficulty
- Sneezing up blood
- Chest Pain
- Frequent Lung Infections (Bronchitis, Pneumonia)
- Appetite loss
- Weight Loss
What is Radon Testing in Maryland for House Buying?
Although radon test kits can be purchased at stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot, an inspector licensed to perform the testing must inspect and conduct the inspection when someone buys a Maryland house. A majority of home inspectors test for radon. Therefore, a separate inspector is not necessary. A radon inspection costs $150 on average, but it is always good to inquire about the cost before you schedule the inspection. The Maryland Contract of Sale must be followed. The contract will dictate how fast the testing must be done and the results that the buyer will receive.
Is it necessary to have the Radon Levels tested if a Radon System installed in a house?
Buyers ultimately make the decision. A licensed inspector can test the system to determine if it is functioning properly.
Types of Radon Testing
There are two ways to test for radon. Each inspection company can choose the method they prefer. One company may prefer one method while another prefers another. The radon level will not be affected by the method you choose. All windows and doors must be closed during the testing period. Ventilation can cause inaccurate results. Also, it is important to not disturb the equipment being tested. False test results can be caused by moving equipment.
Radon Testing by Gas Monitors
Radon inspectors may prefer to use a portable monitor that gives immediate results. Some inspectors cannot use this method of testing for Radon in Maryland due to the high cost of the equipment. The house’s lowest point is where the radon monitoring monitor will be placed. The monitor will not be in direct contact with a basement if it exists. The monitor will be installed at ground level if there is no basement. The monitor should be left unattended for at least 48 hours. The monitor will take continuous air samples. When the monitor is recovered, the inspector can immediately access the results.
Radon Testing with Charcoal Canisters
The charcoal canister is another type of radon test device. This is a more economical method and is often used by radon inspectors. Many homeowners wonder where the radon test is going to be located. Two (2) small, round charcoal containers are placed at the lowest point of a house. The placement is the same for portable gas monitors as previously mentioned. The canisters should be left untouched for at least 48 hours. The inspector will usually mail the canisters to the lab for analysis after complete testing. The results usually arrive within a few days. Unlike the gas monitor, canisters require evaluation, so the results may not be immediate. However, some inspectors have the laboratory equipment to determine the results. These inspectors can give the results as soon they have processed the canisters.
Radon Testing Requirements
It takes at least 48 hours to test a house for radon. There are important rules you must follow throughout the testing process. These Top Tips will ensure that the results are accurate for homeowners:
- It is important to keep doors and windows closed.
- Avoid fireplaces, and ensure that the damper is kept closed.
- You must not alter or move the stationary testing devices. Why? These boxes are often home to electronic anti-tamper monitoring devices. Any movement indicates that they have been altered.
- It is not recommended to use the whole house fan. It is okay to use bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans.
What is the Acceptable Radon Level for Maryland?
Radon levels can be measured in “picocuries Per Liter”, also known as “pCi/L”. The EPA determined that the “Action Level”, for all of the United States, is 4.0 pCi/L. This means that any radon level below 4.0 pCi/L is acceptable, regardless of whether it was done in Maryland or another State.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, any reading higher than 4.0 pCi/L will be deemed “not safe” and require action.
What happens if the Radon Level in Maryland is high?
Maryland home buyers can request that the seller reduce the radon level in their property if the test comes back positive. Radon is not an established level that requires mitigation. Maryland does not have any laws requiring mitigation above a specific radon level. Buyer and seller can decide whether to mitigate or not. Due to soil rock’s constant decay and resorption. However, mitigation systems do work. They lower the radon levels below the Action Level set by the EPA.
With the assistance of their agent, the buyer will need to submit their request on a form called the “Property Inspections Notice”. The request will be given to the seller’s agents by the buyer’s agent. You will also need to submit a copy of the results from the radon testing. The seller will need to see evidence of elevated radon levels in the house.
What are the responsibilities of a Maryland Home Seller if Radon Levels Are High?
Maryland home sellers are not required to take action if the radon levels are higher than the EPA’s recommended action level. Remember that the action level is the recommended level to take action. The seller has five days to decide. A radon remediation system is the only way to lower radon levels in a house. Within the 5 days, the seller can get estimates about the cost of having radon remediated. The seller cannot do the work himself or have someone else do it.
If the seller wants to remedy the radon issue, the licensed company will install the radon system and give it time to run. Then they will re-test the system to make sure that the system is working correctly. The seller will pay for the radon system. He or she will also need to give a copy the paid receipt and a copy the results of the retesting. All of these must be completed before settlement can take place.
The seller can decide not to have the radon remedied and the buyer can choose to continue with the purchase or cancel the contract. The seller must disclose the high radon levels to potential buyers if the buyer cancels the purchase. It can be difficult to sell the house if this happens.
Summary Of Radon Inspections During A Home Sale in Maryland
Many Maryland homebuyers are concerned about radon. Radon levels can cause lung cancer and health problems. Radon is a concern for home buyers with children.
Many buyers opt to have radon testing done as part of their home inspection. The EPA has established a recommended level. When deciding what to do with elevated levels, home buyers should compare the results of the tests with the recommended level. Buyers can request that the seller install a radon mitigation system if levels rise.
The seller chooses to have a licensed radon technician install a radon system or decline to have one installed. The buyer may opt to not have a system installed if the seller refuses. After putting their Maryland house on the market, the sellers will have to inform potential buyers about the elevated levels of radon. It can be difficult to sell a house with high levels of radon.