Radon in Illinois

What You Need to Know Before Buying a Home 

Julian Andes

30 October 2023

In the state of Illinois, Radon - an odorless, colorless gas is a more significant concern than in many other areas across the country. In this blog, we'll break down what radon is in simple terms and emphasize why testing for it, especially before buying a house, is crucial. 

What is Radon? 

Radon is a radioactive gas that forms naturally when uranium in soil and rocks breaks down. It's a silent threat because you can't see, taste, or smell it. Radon can enter your home through gaps in the foundation, floor, and walls, and once inside, it can accumulate to dangerous levels. Prolonged exposure to elevated radon levels is linked to an increased risk of lung cancer, making it a critical health concern. 

Radon in Illinois Illinois is known for having higher radon levels compared to the national average. The geology of the state, with its significant limestone and shale deposits, contributes to the increased radon risk. According to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), approximately 40% of homes in the state have radon levels above the recommended action level. This statistic underscores the importance of radon testing, especially for those in the process of buying a house. 

Why Test for Radon Before Buying a House? 

1. Protect Your Health: Radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, responsible for thousands of deaths each year. Testing before purchasing a home can help you identify and mitigate radon levels, reducing your risk. 

2. Compliance with Regulations: Many states, including Illinois, have regulations that require radon testing and mitigation in real estate transactions. It's essential to comply with these rules to ensure your home's safety and legal standing. The IEMA Radon Program and the Illinois Department of Public Health recommend that levels in homes be less than 4.0 pCi/L. If levels exceed this number, radon mitigation should be used to reduce the levels and decrease the risk of lung cancer. The USEPA recommends you test your home for radon every two years. 

3. Informed Decision Making: Testing for radon allows you to make an informed decision about the home you're considering. If high levels of radon are detected, you can negotiate with the seller to address the issue or make an educated choice about the property. 

The Role of a Licensed Radon Measurement Professional 

When it comes to radon testing, it's vital to enlist the services of a licensed radon measurement professional. These experts have the knowledge and equipment to accurately assess radon levels in your potential home. As a licensed radon measurement professional in Illinois, Plus Ultra Home Inspections uses the latest Continuous Radon Monitors (CRMs) on the market. These devices provide real-time data and generate results quickly, allowing you to make informed decisions without unnecessary delays.  

Radon is a hidden danger that every homebuyer in Illinois should be aware of. With the higher radon levels in the state, testing is not just recommended; it's essential. By hiring a licensed radon measurement professional using advanced technology, you can protect your family's health and ensure that your new home is a safe and secure place to live. Don't overlook radon – test for it before making one of the most significant investments of your life.