What is Radon and why is testing for it important?
Radon is a colorless, odorless, gas that can pose a significant health risk to you and your loved ones. In this article, we’ll explore the dangers of radon gas, how it could enter homes, testing for radon and what you can do to reduce your exposure. Testing your current or prospective home for radon in the Columbia River Gorge could help the sale of your home go through smoother and help to give you a more complete picture of your precious investment.
Where can I be exposed to Radon?
Did you know that radon can be found in any home or building anywhere in the world? Radon is a colorless, odorless, gas that is formed by the decay of uranium in rocks and soil. This radioactive gas can enter a home through cracks in foundations, crawl spaces, drains, and in some cases from well water – among other ways. Since radon is a naturally occurring gas, there is always some radon in the air around us. However, if that gas becomes trapped, over time radon gas could build up to unsafe levels to live with.
What are the health effects of Radon?
Most of us move to the Columbia River Gorge to be submerged in nature, close to recreational activities and to have a healthy work/life balance. The last thing you want after spending the day outside breathing in fresh air and all that the Gorge has to offer would be to come back home and breathe in a radioactive gas! Radon testing in the Columbia Gorge is a low-cost way to gain the knowledge you need to reduce your exposure if needed and protect those lungs for years of adventures to come.
Prolonged exposure to elevated radon levels could cause lung cancer and other health related problems. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year.
Radon symptoms can take years to appear and may not be evident right away. A Radon test is the only way to know for certain if the property has a problem with radon so that you can work to get it mitigated and safe to live with. It doesn’t mean that you must move and abandon a home you love! A higher-than-average radon reading is not meant to scare you out of your current or prospective home. Instead, it’s meant to help give you the tools to make a decision you deem necessary for you and your loved ones.
Where has Radon been found?
Radon has been found in all 50 states, in all types of homes. Radon levels cannot be predicted solely on location or type of building materials. The EPA State Map of Radon Zones can help you estimate your risk. This is only an estimate and does not guarantee that your home is free from potentially elevated radon levels.
Radon levels in the Columbia River Gorge vary from an average of 1.6 – 7.3 pCi/L depending on many factors, with test results as high as 44.1 pCi/L!
In Hood River 31% of radon test results were over the action level of 4pCi/L. 37.5% of radon test results in Cascade Locks were over the action level of 4pCi/L and in Mosier 27.3% of radon test results were over the action level of 4pCi/L. 40% of radon test results in High Prairie, Centerville, and Stevenson to Underwood all were over the action level of 4pCi/L.
Certified as Radon tester in both Oregon and Washington state, we use 48-hour continuous radon tests to collect data and measure the concentration of radon over a period of time. A report will then be provided with the findings as well as any recommendations moving forward. Radon is measured and reported as a result of picocuries per liter (pCi/L).
If your home or building has high levels of radon, there are ways to reduce the levels and protect yourself and your loved ones. Radon gas mitigation is the process of reducing the levels of radon gas in your home or building. The EPA recommends that homes be fixed if the Radon level is 4pCi/L or more. Because there is no known safe level of exposure to Radon, EPA also recommends mitigation for Radon levels between 2-4pCi/L.
One of the most common ways to mitigate radon gas is through the installation of a radon mitigation system from a certified professional. A radon mitigation system typically consists of a vent pipe system and a fan that draws the radon gas out of your home or building and releases it into the atmosphere.
Other ways to reduce radon levels include sealing cracks and openings in your foundation and walls, increasing ventilation in your home or building, and using a radon gas filter.
It is recommended that a radon test be done after installation of a mitigation system to ensure that levels have been reduced and the system is functioning as it should.
Selling your home?
When preparing to sell your home a radon test and its results could help avoid any unexpected delays in the process. If radon mitigation is needed, taking proactive steps toward it could help the selling process proceed smoother. Bundling your pre-listing inspection with a radon test saves you time and money!
Buying a home?
Adding a radon test to the home inspection is a piece of cake! If the results of the radon test come back with elevated levels, your realtor may be able to negotiate the install of a radon mitigation system at seller’s expense or adjust the sales prices to cover repairs. Know what you’re getting into before you close the deal!
Schedule a Radon Inspection
At High Prairie Home Inspections, we understand the importance of your family’s safety. We specialize in radon inspections tailored to the unique geological features of the Columbia Gorge. By scheduling a radon inspection with us, you can gain peace of mind, knowing if this invisible threat exists. Take the proactive step today to ensure a healthy living environment for you and your loved ones in this beautiful region. Contact us now to schedule your radon inspection and safeguard the place you call home.