Radon

 

What is radon and how does it affect your home? Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas. Radon forms through the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water.

Radon moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Homes trap radon inside, where it can build up and be inhaled by the inhabitants. Any home may have a radon problem, new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, as well as homes with or without basements.

 

Why is Radon a problem? Radon gas decays into radioactive particles that can get trapped in your lungs when you breathe. As these particles break down further, they release small bursts of energy. This can damage lung tissue and potentially lead to lung cancer over the course of your lifetime.

The EPA estimates that radon is responsible for approximately 20,000 deaths from lung cancer every year. Not everyone exposed to elevated levels of radon will develop lung cancer and the amount of time between exposure and the onset of the disease may be many years.

Believe it or not radon is a controversial topic and there are actually those that don’t even believe it exists, or that it can be harmful. On the other hand, here is a list of organizations that state Radon is a health threat:

  • U.S. Surgeon General
  • American Medical Association
  • American Lung Association
  • Centers for Disease Control
  • National Cancer Institute
  • NationalAcademyof Sciences
  • Environmental Protection Agency

Is there anything I can do? Absolutely, radon reduction systems work and they are not too costly.  Some radon reduction systems can reduce radon levels in your home by up to 99%.  Even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels. It is not unusual to see tests in homes with mitigation systems come in below the level of the outside air.

How does this work when buying a house? InColorado Springs, we generally treat radon as an inspection issue. This means that we test for radon during the property inspection. If radon levels are high (4 pCi/L or higher) the installation of a mitigation system becomes a negotiable item. We will discuss inspections in another section.

The cost of a Radon mitigation system can range from $1,500 to $3,000, depending on the state of the existing foundation of the home. Systems for newer homes tend to cost less because modern building code requires builders to install perimeter or French drains around the base of a homes foundation. This drain is intended to keep water away from the foundation but also allows for easier installation of the radon mitigation system.

Radon infiltration is a serious condition. Even if you don’t think it’s harmful, chances are the next person to buy your home will. The time to address radon is before you close not when you sell.

Much of this information comes from an EPA publication named “A Citizen’s Guide to Radon” If you are interested in obtaining a free copy of this publication, Click Here and we’ll send you one.

AirCheck is a compay that sells mail in radon test kits. Here is an interesting summary they have compiled that outlines the average radon levels are in our area, by zip code:

 

Eastern El Paso County:

Zip Code 

Number of Tests

 Average pCi/L

80106

23

5.7

80831

71

5.0

80915

88

4.9

80922

98

3.8


Northern El Paso County:

 Zip Code

Number of Tests

 Average pCi/L

80132

 307

5.7

80133

36

8.8

80908

181

5.9

80920

256

6.1

80921

143

5.9


Central El Paso County:

 Zip Code

Number of Tests

Average pCi/L

80903

102

3.9

80907

193

4.3

80909

244

2.7

80917

156

3.0

80918

345

3.7


Southeastern El Paso County:

 Zip Code

Number of Tests

Average pCi/L

80817

36

5.0

80910

76

3.1

80911

89

4.4

80913

10

2.1

80914

4

5.8

80916

73

3.0

80925

7

2.8


Western El Paso County:

 Zip Code

Number of Tests

Average pCi/L

80819

15

15.5

80829

154

15.8

80840

9

1.2

80904

300

7.2

80905

16

11.7

80906*

769

13.1

80919

633

6.6

80926

40

4.9

Teller County:

Zip Code 

Number of Tests

Average pCi/L

80813

5

30.0

80814

66

11.3

80816

58

12.8

80827

18

9.9

80860

2

5.3

80863

128

10.5

80866

79

8.8

*According to AirCheck, this average includes a test result of 1,856 pCi/L, this may or may not be an accurate reading. AirChek reports some people have hung test kits down mitigation exhaust pipes to check radon output or set kits near foundations to try to determine radon entry points. If the 1,856 reading is not factored in, the average in the 80906 ZIP drops to 10.6 pCi/L, according to AirChek.