You have found your dream home and the sales process is underway, then you receive your reports through from a surveyor only to find that the property is in a high-risk area for radon. Very often this is can be people’s first encounter with the term radon, a gas that affects properties country wide and can have serious health implications for occupants.  

The main message though is don’t panic! Steps can be taken to lower the levels of radon in a property to make sure you and your family are safe in your home.

So what is radon?  

Before we look at how radon levels can be lowered let’s look a little deeper into what radon actually is. Radon is an odourless, colourless radioactive gas created by the breakdown of uranium and other compounds in the ground. Radon rises through cracks in the foundations of properties and is inhaled into the lungs of the occupants. Luckily, high radon levels are not present in all properties, even in high risk areas, and if a property has high levels of radon, specialist mitigation systems can be installed to reduce the radon to a safe level. However, as the second leading cause of lung cancer in the UK after smoking, it is important that high radon levels in a property you are looking at purchasing are not ignored and necessary steps are put in place to protect you from radon prior to your purchase.

How do you test a property for radon?

If a property has been identified as lying within an area that is designated as having high levels of radon a radon test is advisable to give a greater understanding of the radon levels.

If radon levels are high there are three primary ways to that radon levels can be reduced:

  • Installation of radon fans
  • Improved underfloor ventilation
  • Positive house ventilation
The type of system that should be used depends on the severity of the problem.

The testing process involves placing 2 small detectors within the living room and main bedroom. These detectors should be left for a 3 month period in order to obtain an accurate reading of the radon levels.

Understandably people may not wish to hold up the purchase of a property by 3 months waiting for the results of a radon test. This is where the radon bond plays an important part in the home buying process.

The Radon Bond

A radon bond (which is also recognised by the law society) means that you can continue with your purchase safe in the knowledge that, if the 3 month test results show that radon levels are high, the cost of bringing it to a safe level is covered. The radon bond is a sum of money held back for a set period, to cover the cost of testing and mitigating radon.

The bond must be agreed by both parties, with any money not required been returned back to the buyer. In line with advice from the UK Radon Association, it is recommend that in most instances a sum of £2,500 is put in place for a 6-month period. This allows time for a 3 months test to take place, the results to be received and a suitable radon mitigation system to be designed and installed if required. Prior to the purchase an initial 10-day radon test can be used to provide a snapshot of radon levels in the property.

If you want to know more about radon testing and mitigation you can visit us at www.properteco.co.uk.  

[Guest blog contributed by PropertECO]


GTH provide additional professional services including EPCs, Asbestos and Legionella surveys. Contact the team for more information.