Real Estate Q&A
Our question is not as much a question as it is to get your opinion. We recently purchased a new home and during our inspection process we asked our agent about getting a radon test and she told us there really was not any radon in the valley and we did not need one. Well we are from the Midwest where there is radon, so we insisted.
We got a radon test done, and much to ours and our agents surprise there was radon that registered above acceptable levels and thus had a radon remediation system installed prior to closing. Was this a “one in a million” finding or is radon something you see quite often? Really more curious about your thoughts, than anything. Thanks for your time.
—Ralph & Cheryl, Grand Junction
Ralph and Cheryl,
Great question. First let me say that I am not a radon expert, but I will say from my experience your finding of radon was not “one in a million” and the presence of radon in the Valley is more prevalent than most people realize, but by no means does it exist in unsafe levels in every home tested. It is my experience that the majority of homes are safe and do not have an elevated radon level and need no remediation done at all, but overall state and local numbers say there is statistically a 50/50 chance a home will have unsafe levels of radon. Of course, if you are concerned about radon, it is still a great idea to have it checked so you can be confident you are not living in an unsafe environment.
For those who are not familiar with radon or know what risks it poses, radon is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas. Underground uranium decays into radium and radium’s decay product is radon that escapes from the ground in the form of gas. Radon enters a home through the lowest level in the home that is in contact with open ground, usually through cracks in foundations, cracks in walls, gaps in suspended floors, etc. Once radon has entered into your home it is easily inhaled into the lungs and has been shown to increase the risk of lung cancer. According to the United States’ EPA, radon is the second most frequent cause of lung cancer and is completely preventable, if remediated properly.
According to a local radon expert, Cory Lindbo at Western Slope Home Inspectors and Radon Service, radonreserve.com, the good news is a radon problem can be completely and permanently resolved for as little as $1,500 to $2,500 and most mitigation jobs can be completed in as little as one to two days. A radon test generally takes two days, but the home needs to be closed down with as little outside air transfer as possible. This means that you need to close all windows and doors and keep traffic inside and outside to a minimum during the test period. This will allow for a proper reading where you do not get a lot of air transfer from outside. If you cool your home by evaporative cooler, a test can be very difficult to do during the summer months. National radon month is January, as the winter is the easiest time to do a radon test, because most homes have very little air exchange during the winter months.
Radon is no doubt something to be aware of and in most instances you should test for it, but feel confident that if there is an unsafe presence of radon in your home there is no need to panic, the fix is not a bank buster and can be solved quickly and professionally. In this case the solution to radon is as easy as knowing it that radon is there and hiring a professional to make your home environment safe.
The Kimbrough Team
REMAX 4000 Inc.