A home inspection documents a property’s condition at the time of inspection. However, some inspectors offer additional testing for health hazards like radon. Inspectors who offer radon testing along with their standard home inspections can increase their income and their clients’ home safety.
According to the EPA, homes with a radon mitigation system installed should be tested for radon every two years. Wear and tear on the system and structural changes can compromise the system’s effectiveness. By adding radon testing to your services, you can gain repeat business from homeowners who have radon mitigation systems and earn revenue outside of real estate transactions.
Radon testing benefits home inspection businesses by potentially boosting income, providing a competitive edge, and enhancing client satisfaction.
Radon is a naturally occurring colorless, odorless, and tasteless radioactive gas that is found in soil and rocks. When it remains at low levels, radon is relatively harmless. However, when it accumulates in closed spaces like houses, it becomes a serious health concern. At high levels, radon damages lung tissue and increases the risk of lung cancer, especially if someone is exposed over a long period of time.
Radon exposure causes between 15,000 and 22,000 lung cancer deaths yearly in the United States, making it the second-highest cause of lung cancer after smoking cigarettes.
What Causes High Radon Levels?
High radon levels can occur across various regions due to factors like geology, soil composition, building design, climate, and human activities. Because of this, inspectors should offer radon tests no matter where they are located.
Geology: The geology of an area plays a significant role in determining radon levels. Certain areas contain more uranium-rich rocks than others. For instance, regions with granite, shale, or limestone bedrock tend to have elevated radon potential. Nevertheless, radon can be present even in areas with less uranium-rich geology.
Soil Composition: The composition of the soil beneath a property influences radon levels. Even in the same region, different soil types result in varying radon concentrations. Sandy soils, for instance, allow radon to disperse more efficiently, while it is more difficult for radon to permeate dense, clay-based soil.
Building Construction: The construction and design of a building also affect radon levels. Cracks and openings in the foundation, sump pits, and crawl spaces can serve as entry points for radon. Radon poses a concern in both urban and rural areas, regardless of location.
Climate and Seasonal Variations: Indoor radon levels fluctuate with the seasons. In the winter, when homes are sealed against the cold, radon tends to build up indoors. On the other hand, increased ventilation and open windows in warmer weather can decrease indoor radon levels.
Man-Made Factors: Radon levels can be influenced by human actions. For example, activities like mining, excavation, and construction can disturb the soil, potentially releasing radon gas. Water sourced from underground wells may contain radon, which can enter homes through water usage.
Since radon isn’t confined to specific regions, home inspectors should provide radon testing as an optional addition to home inspections or as a standalone service.
What are the Benefits for Home Inspectors to Offer Radon Testing?
Diversified Service Portfolio: Adding radon testing to your list of services diversifies your services. It positions you as a thorough home inspector who addresses both structural matters and indoor air quality – a concern that’s growing among homebuyers.
Competitive Advantage: In a competitive market, offering radon testing sets you apart from other home inspectors who don’t provide this service. Buyers and real estate agents may choose you for the convenience of getting a radon test at the time of the inspection.
Increased Revenue: Radon testing is an extra source of income for your business. Since homeowners need radon testing even outside of real estate transactions, especially if they have a radon mitigation system, your business won’t be as affected by the ups and downs of the real estate market.
Networking Opportunities: Collaborating with radon mitigation experts who address high radon levels can grow your professional network and result in referrals.
Enhanced Reputation: Providing radon testing demonstrates your dedication to comprehensive home inspections that prioritize safety. This commitment can result in positive reviews, referrals, and a strong reputation in the industry.
Home Inspectors Offer Radon Testing to Increase Value to Clients
Home inspectors who offer radon testing can educate their clients about the health risks tied to radon exposure and the significance of maintaining a safe living environment.
Furthermore, unsafe radon levels can harm property values. By offering radon testing, you assist homeowners in identifying and addressing radon issues early, which could preserve or even enhance the value of their homes.
Credentials for Home Inspectors to Offer Radon Testing
The specific qualifications and requirements for home inspectors to offer radon testing differ depending on your location, with regulations varying from one jurisdiction to another. Nonetheless, here are some common qualifications and steps typically needed to provide radon testing services as a home inspector:
Radon Measurement Training: Enroll in a radon measurement training course offered by a reputable institution or certification body. These courses cover fundamental radon basics, measurement methods, equipment operation, and quality assurance.
Radon Certification: Obtain a radon measurement certification from an appropriate certification body. Two well-known organizations in the United States are the National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) and the National Radon Safety Board (NRSB). Certification typically involves successfully finishing a recognized training program and passing a certification exam.
State or Local Licensing: Certain states or jurisdictions may require specific radon measurement licenses or permits. Check with your local regulatory authority to determine if additional credentials are needed.
Quality Assurance and Continuing Education: As part of your radon certification, you might need to participate in quality assurance programs and complete continuing education to maintain your credentials. This helps you stay up-to-date with the latest radon measurement techniques and equipment.
Equipment and Calibration: Invest in the appropriate radon measurement equipment, which must be calibrated and routinely checked for accuracy to deliver dependable results.
Spread the Word About Your New Service
Once you’re certified in radon testing, create effective marketing strategies to promote your radon testing services. Post about it on social media, visit real estate offices to spread the word, and update your website to include your new service.
Be ready to educate clients about the importance of radon testing. Many people don’t know about the risks associated with high radon levels in the home and why it’s crucial to hire a professional for testing. Once they understand, they are more likely to include a radon test with their home inspection.
Professional vs. DIY Radon Testing
While DIY radon testing kits are available, they are known for their inaccuracy and prone to user error. As a home inspector with professional testing equipment and training, you can provide clients with accurate and reliable radon testing. When it comes to lung cancer, most people prefer not to take chances.
By including radon testing in your service portfolio, you stand out in a competitive market with a more comprehensive evaluation of a property’s safety. Your clients will value your commitment to their well-being and peace of mind, leading to more referrals and business success.