by Cory Nickerson, LRA Associate Broker
First question: When is Radon Awareness Month? If you said "January", you would be correct! And if you are from Colorado, chances are radon is a household word. If you are not from a part of the country that has large levels of radon, then radon may need an introduction. That said, let's start with a refresher course for all of us on what radon is.
Overview of Radon - Radon is an invisible and odor free radioactive gas, which is present in several parts of the United States. Radon is commonly found in Colorado and most estimates report that up to 50% of homes in our state test positive for radon. Since you cannot see, smell or taste radon, it can be very dangerous if not tested and mitigated. Unlike Carbon Monoxide, which has the potential to build up in every home across the country, radon is a slow acting, and takes years to do its damage. And radon's damage can be lethal. The US Surgeon General has warned that indoor radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today after smoking. According to the National Cancer Institute, "Radon can enter homes through cracks in floors, walls, or foundations, and collect indoors...Basement and first floors typically have the highest radon levels because of their closeness to the ground." Radon can penetrate new homes, brick homes, even concrete homes, so don't be lulled into a sense of security if you think your home is already protected.
When Do I Test My Home? Before you close on your home, I always recommend radon testing to each buyer with whom I work, especially if there is basement, since radon tends to collect in lower levels of homes and buildings. If you are currently under contract to purchase a home, your home inspector will have a radon test kit. You can expect to pay under $100 to have the home tested. A test will be set up and run (usually in the basement) with all windows closed for 24-48 hours collecting radon readings on a ticker tape. You will need to make sure the Seller does not disturb the test to protect the results. Your home inspector will be able to tell you instantly what the results are. The EPA recommends a reading of less than 4 pCi/L (pCi/L = picoCuries per liter of air). At or above this level of radon, the EPA recommends you take corrective measures to reduce your exposure to radon gas.
Why Winter is the Best Time for Radon Testing? If you have already closed on your new home, never fear. You already know the test is easy to get done. If you are reading this blog during the winter, you're timing is good! Winter is the perfect season because your windows are typically closed most of the time leading to more accurate results. But never fear, you can get good readings in every season.
How Do I Mitigate Radon? There are many contractors offering professional radon mitigation installation all throughout Colorado. Systems cost typically about $900-$1200 and can be installed in a couple of hours. The unit is usually installed in the basement and does not interfere with house activities. You can ask your real estate agent for a recommendation or research a company on your own. If you are working with an agent, he or she can usually get a nice $100 discount on your behalf.
Congratulations on finishing your Radon IQ test! If you want to keep on learning, feel free to read the links below too!
If you would like to see housing data for Boulder County, there are plenty of statistics to check out in such as "Days on Market", "Total Inventory" and "Newly Listed Homes". We track all these market statistics for Single Family Homes (SFH) for most of neighboring towns on a monthly basis, including Louisville, Erie, Lafayette and Superior. Check out latest market statistics here. At Louisville Realty Associates, we have the experience, energy and depth of knowledge to help you list your home for the best price. You can reach me anytime at email@example.com.
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