WHAT WE INSPECT
Radon is estimated to cause thousands of deaths per year from lung cancer. You can't see radon and you can't smell it. It is estimated that one in 15 homes has dangerous levels of radon. For this reason I highly recommend a radon test for any home you are considering. Fortunately, if a house has high levels of radon, it can be fixed at reasonable cost.
Radon can also be in water although this is much less common. However if testing reveals high levels in the air and you have a well, it is recommended to test the well for radon.
How radon enters a home
If the house you are considering has a well, I recommend an inexpensive test for total coliform. The organisms in the total coilform group are not themselves harmful. However, the presence of coliform bacteria indicates that a pathway exists for disease-producing organisms. If I find coliform bacteria you'll want to have further testing done to identify the pathway to contamination so that it can be eliminated.
Older shallow wells are more susceptible to contamination.
The illustration above will give you a quick idea of all the elements of a home that are included in a standard home inspection. A standard inspection takes 2 to 5 hours, depending upon the size of the home.