Archive for May, 2009

So what’s the “heavy” on Lead Paint?

Did you know that most homes built in the United States before 1978 contain lead? And not just on the walls….

Of course, the walls and window sills are probably your biggest sources of lead in your house, but elevated levels of lead may also be found in:

  1. Lead dust (that paint that’s peeling on your window sills breaks down into dust and can be more easily breathed in);
  2. Drinking water;
  3. Older painted toys and furniture (remember that mantle from your grandmother’s house you loved and incorporated into your living room? It just might contain lead paint!);
  4. Certain hobbies can expose you to lead – such as stained-glass making or pottery (glazes)

Here are the actual levels that are considered dangerous by the EPA:

  1. Paint: Equal to or greater than 1.0 mg/sq. centimeter or .5% weight
  2. Floor space: Equal to or greater than 40 micrograms/square foot
  3. Window sills: Equal to or greater than 250 micrograms/square foot

How should you check for lead? Hire a trained, certified professional to do the testing. They will first perform a paint inspection by taking flakes from certain areas and testing them. Then a risk assessment will be performed, including any possible lead dust from your windows, etc.

What do you do if you find lead present? You need to perform a lead abatement – meaning you need to call a qualified, trained professional who has special training in removing or sealing the areas containing lead. Also, I suggest checking out the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) web site at:

Remember! Sellers MUST disclose any known lead issues to future buyers and buyers MUST be given the opportunity to test for lead, if they so desire. The normal protocol is for the lead inspection to take place during the customary 10 day inspection period, so it’s vital that you use a qualified, trained professional to do the testing and receive the results in time.

If you have any questions or, if you happen to live in the Arlington, Mass area, feel free to check out my web site at for further information and listings of local resources.



What you should know about Radon inspections…

First things first: the recommended EPA radon rating is < 4 pCi/L (4 picocuries per liter). It's important to remember that this is only an endorsement and is not dictated by any existing laws. Radon levels will vary widely from home to home, neighborhood to neighborhood, and even country to country. So it's important to know what the standard is for your area. You can do that by clicking here.

OK…now that you know what an acceptable level might be, you might be wondering what radon is, after all. In short, it is a radioactive gas released from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and even water. When radon is detected in a home, the first likely suspect is the soil beneath the house. However, in many rural areas, an elevated radon level may also be caused by radon emissions from well water. In very unlikely circumstances, radon is even produced from new home construction materials.

And here’s a statistic for ya (trying not to sound too much like that governor up north in Alaska!): Nearly 1 in 15 homes is estimated to have elevated levels of radon!

So what’s a guy or girl to do? TEST, TEST, and VERIFY! If you’re thinking of selling your home, why not have a test taken NOW so you’ll have the results ready when a concerned, ecologically-minded buyer comes along? If you happen to find any elevated levels of radon, you’ll have time to mitigate them before putting your house on the market. AND, the fact that you’ve tested and mitigated will be an added bonus when marketing the house.

If you’re purchasing a home, you should highly consider having a professional radon test conducted as part of an extended home inspection period. If the results are acceptable, then great! But if you find any issues, you can work with the seller to determine the best way to mitigate the emissions and determine who will pay for what, and when. You can find a licensed radon professional here.

For planning purposes, you should know that a typical radon emission mitigation costs, on average, $1200. Depending on the method of mitigation, the cost should be anywhere between $800 and $2500. So if you go ahead and test, remember you have to disclose the results to both parties, and you’ll need to be prepared to pay at least some portion of the mitigation costs.

Further information can be found at the U.S. EPA’s website, Home Buyer’s and Seller’s Guide to Radon. You might also find this Comparison of International Radon Action Levels chart to be an interesting bit ‘o viewing.

Until next time, Stay Safe and Live Green!


Introducing CyberGreenRealty.Com

The first thing you’re thinking is, “Just who is CyberGreenRealty anyway?”  Am I correct?  If so, let me get the intro out of the way right now.  My name is Tim Cahill, I’m a Realtor, and I reside in Arlington, MA.  Here’s my recent official blurp (technical term, I won’t bother explaining):

“RE/MAX Heritage is proud to announce that Tim Cahill has joined their office in Reading, MA. Tim currently resides in Arlington and will specialize in the communities of Arlington, Medford, and Somerville, MA. Tim has a passionate interest in sustainable living technologies and plans on earning the Eco-Broker certification for real estate agents, becoming one of a select few in the eastern Massachusetts region.”

Whew!  Felt good to get that out of the way….

My purpose, for I must have one to be here, is to help educate and promote the use of sustainable living technologies as people think about renovating their older home or building a new home.  And if you’re just in the market to purchase a new home and would like advice on what to look for in order to be considered “green” and “sustainable living,” keep checking here.

If you’ve read this far, I hope you’ll continue to join me on this journey.  And for added enjoyment, I invite you to visit and bookmark the following sites, just to get to know me a bit more:

I’m looking forward to our new venture together!