Date Published: 03/10/2020 [Source]
A standard home inspection provides you with a detailed report on the home you're hoping to buy, but it doesn't tell you everything.
Depending on the age, location and condition of the home you're considering, you may need additional inspections. Radon testing, termite inspection, mold inspection and foundation inspection are among the most common of these specialized types of home inspections.
Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that results from the gradual breakdown of radioactive elements in the Earth. It is released from well water, building materials and soil, and can enter your home through cracks. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the surgeon general's office estimate that, after smoking, radon exposure is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. And it's everywhere — according to the EPA, roughly 1 in 15 homes has an elevated radon level.
Long-term (over 90-day) radon testing is generally recommended; but when you're trying to close on a home, you don't have the luxury of waiting three months. What can you do?
First, ask the seller if they have any previous radon test results. If they do, these results can give you a point of comparison. Either way, you can get a new short-term test done. A professional radon inspector may be able to report results within days of completing a 48-hour test. Alternatively, you can use an off-the-shelf kit to test radon levels yourself, but you'll have to send the device off to a lab and wait to get the results.
If test results are elevated or you're not confident about DIY testing, look to the National Radon Proficiency Program or the National Radon Safety Board to find a pro. Both of these groups' credentialing programs are accepted by the EPA, which is helpful since not all states license radon inspectors. Professional radon testing costs a few hundred dollars, on average.