You just got your home inspection report back and unfortunately, the home has radon in it. You obviously can’t keep this radioactive gas in your future home, so that calls for radon mitigation. Will your insurance cover this mitigation, or will you have to pay for it out-of-pocket?
Radon mitigation is not covered under homeowner’s insurance. However, sometimes, the seller will pay for this mitigation, although you may have to split the costs in other instances or pay for it entirely on your own.
Keep reading to learn more about what your options are for covering the costs of radon mitigation, including estimates for the job and if it’s up to you or the seller to mitigate this dangerous gas.
What Is Radon?
Radon is a type of radioactive gas that has no taste, odor, or color. Like carbon monoxide then, it can be hard to detect radon in a home. Also like carbon monoxide, radon can be deadly, leading to cancer in some people, especially lung cancer.
According to Radon.com, in the United States, radon causes the second most deaths from lung cancer behind only smoking cigarettes. Every year, 20,000 lung cancer-related deaths are attributed to radon.
Any home should have no more than 4 pCi/L of radon, which is short for picoCuries per liter of air. Ideally, the home should be radon-free, but the above 4 pCi/L level is acceptable under the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA. By exceeding those levels, you and your family are at radiation risk.
What Is a Radon Mitigation?
That’s why a radon test is always recommended before buying a home, usually as part of the home inspection process. Most radon tests don’t have alarming results, but what about those homes that contain 4 pCi/L of radon or more?
Before you ever think of moving into such a home, you need to get radon mitigation.
Radon mitigation is part of a system that will lessen the home’s radon content. Many measures for radon mitigation exist. Here is an overview.
Energy Recovery Ventilators
Energy recovery ventilation involves taking exhausted air from a home, preconditioning it, and then adding it back to the home’s HVAC or ventilation system as healthy, breathable air. The energy recovery ventilator also acts as a pre-heater in the winter and a pre-cooler and dehumidifier in the summer.
Heat Recovery Ventilators
With heat recovery ventilation or mechanical ventilation heat recovery, the exhaust gas’ residual heat is captured, freshened, and reintroduced as pre-cooled or pre-heated air, typically with an air conditioning system. This method operates under some of the same rules as energy recovery ventilators and is especially convenient for radon mitigation if you live in a humid environment.
Above Slab Air Pressure Differential Barrier Technology
The Above Slab Air Pressure Differential Barrier Technology or ASAPDB is yet another radon mitigation method. It creates air conditioning ductwork and drywall internal pressure envelopes that are airtight.
To do this, the team will use a blower that’s 15 cubic feet per minute to take the air with radon in it and pull it out of the cavities of a home. Then, the air gets exhausted outdoors.
Now that the HVAC ducts are sealed, the wall cavity air, which contains radon, cannot get into the home. ASAPDB is the proven radon mitigation option for high-rise apartments and other tall buildings, and it’s also good for those who live in humid climates.
Active Soil Depressurization
Most radon mitigation will probably be active soil depressurization. This works for all sorts of buildings, even shorter or taller ones, as radon can get into a home or building through the rocks and soil below. By treating radon at the ground level, typically using a mechanical ventilator, radon stays outside.
One aspect of active soil depressurization entails lowering air pressure of exterior cavities and, if necessary, destroying walls with concrete blocks and other materials where radon can settle. This is not a method that is relied upon as often though.
Is Radon Mitigation Covered by Insurance?
Since you soon plan to move into a new home, you either bought homeowner’s insurance for the first time (if this will be your first home) or upgraded your policy for the new property. Either way, as soon as you learn that you need radon mitigation for the home, you begin digging into your insurance policy to see what your options are.
Yet you won’t find anything about radon mitigation for your homeowner’s insurance, and that’s because this type of insurance doesn’t cover radon treatment. That will still be the case even if you switch insurance providers.
How Much Does Radon Mitigation Cost?
Okay, so that leaves you having to pay for the radon mitigation, right? Not necessarily. As mentioned in the intro, who pays for the radon treatment depends. In some instances, the seller may volunteer to cover the costs, since it is still technically their property until the closing is done.
In other cases, the seller might turn to you and ask you to pay the radon mitigation fees in full. More than likely, they’d offer to at least split the price.
Still, you have no idea what you’d pay for a radon mitigation. What do the costs even look like?
The Kansas State University National Radon Program Services says that a radon mitigation system may cost as little as $800 and as much as $1,500 or more.
Why the price differential? Several factors can determine what you’ll pay. The climate is one of them, as the radon mitigation team will have to use a system that accommodates for the humidity. The construction materials of the home are another factor, as is the foundation of the home, its size, and its design.
Another major factor that plays a role in cost is how hard the team will have to work to hide the components of the radon mitigation system. If it tucks in neatly without being super visible, then the job may be less expensive, but not in all cases. However, if you need a more advanced radon mitigation system, then it’s harder to obscure.
It’s recommended that you always request a quote for radon mitigation before committing to the service, says Connecticut Radon Systems. The professional who offers the quote should come to the property first. Otherwise, they can’t assess the above factors and give you a fair quote.
Does Radon Mitigation Have Extra Costs?
You worked with the home seller, asked for a lot of quotes, and found a radon mitigation service that works for both of you. Once the work is done, you can close your purse strings, right? Not exactly.
A radon mitigation system is not a one-and-done job. About every year, maybe every two years, you’ll need your installation team to come out and service the system. The fans are typically the first component to go, but these can suck money out of your wallet in a different way as well.
The fans within the system are always on, so that means you could see an uptick in your monthly electric bills. Your cooling and heating bills may also be higher as your radon mitigation system sucks out extra cool or hot air from your home.
A radon mitigation system is a solution for keeping radon out of a home. This gas has no taste or color, but it can cause cancer if it accumulates enough.
The home seller may offer to cover the cost of mitigation, or they could split it with the byer. It may even fall on you to pay for the mitigation costs, but your homeowner’s insurance will not cover it.
While you may have to pay extra to keep your radon mitigation system in tip-top shape, staying healthy in your own home is priceless.