Oh My! What to know about Radon in your home

Cartoon image of a sick houseFirst 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.




One response to this post.

  1. The number one cause of lung cancer among non smokers is radon — not cigarette smoke.

    Excerpt from EPA webpage:

    Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to EPA estimates.



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