Radon Gas Information

By
Real Estate Agent with http://www.CapeGroup.com & http://www.REindex.com 9023635

The EPA has produced a brochure about what radon is and how it affects people that we have summarized here for faster reading. The whole publication can be read on the Environmental Protection Agency web site.

This gas comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock (like granite), and water. It is "off-gassed" out into the air. A simple venting system is the most common method of fixing a radon concentration in a property.

Should you test the property you are buying? Sure, why not.  But, don't make it more of a concern than other parts of the condition of the property. It could be something that this property needs to have addressed just like a new roof, or a termite treatment, etc.  The tests are inexpensive, and treatment is also inexpensive if you find a higher than acceptable level.  There is a map available to see if you are in an "active area" on the EPA website.

Is it ok to buy a house if there is this gas?  If you are comfortable with the level, and/or how it is treated, sure.  But, treat the results of a test like each part of your home inspection. As an example, if there are termites that can be eliminated, would you still purchase the property? And even replacing a roof will cost you more than most other repairs.

Simple testswhich remain in your home for at least 48 hours, depending on the device, give the quickest results. "Charcoal canisters," "alpha track," "electric ion chamber," "continuous monitors," and "charcoal liquid scintillation"detectors are most commonly used for simple tests. Short-term tests are used to measure a specific point in time, and are less useful in finding year-round average radon level. When you need results quickly, two short term tests in a relatively short time span will give good information. Testing once is the most common practice, except in areas already known for radon.

Long term research methods can take 3 months, and will give a better understanding of an annual average level of saturation.

The "acceptable" measurable level is below 4 pCi/L (picoCuries per liter of air). Just read the report that your company gives you to see what the level is in at your location.  As your agent what the common practice is in your are when radon is found. Then decide what course to take.

Other facts:
Smoking increases the problems caused by radon. If you smoke, be more careful.
About 0.4 pCi/L is normally found in the outside air in any location.  It exists everywhere already.
Sometimes radon is found in water from a well, but this is not normally considered to be a hazard.

Some states have new laws or regulations about radon gas.  Check with your agent or broker in New York and New Jersey for their rules and regs.

Happy real estate-ing!
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Rainer
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Edward D. Nikles
Ed Nikles Custom Builder , Inc. / Nikles Realty , Inc. - Milford, PA

Heath , thanks for the blog . I just built a NAHB Gold Level Green home & simply put a PVC pipe from underneath the basement floor up through the attic , as  I've done many times before . The politically correct Green description is " a passive ventilation system for subsoil gases " . Keepin' it Green !

May 14, 2009 01:44 PM #1
Rainer
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Jon Wnoroski
America's 1st Choice RH Realty Co., Inc. - Green, OH
Summit County Realtor

Hi Heath - I've seen more buyers requesting radon assessments in recent times.  I believe people are becoming more aware of the issues related to radon and want to know that the home they are purchasing is safe.  This says a lot for the public awareness program launched by the EPA and local health departments.

May 16, 2009 07:27 AM #2
Rainmaker
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Associate Broker Falmouth MA Cape Cod Heath Coker
http://www.CapeGroup.com & http://www.REindex.com - Falmouth, MA
Heath Coker Robert Paul Properties Falmouth MA

Radon is the new lead.

May 21, 2009 01:47 PM #3
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Rainmaker
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Associate Broker Falmouth MA Cape Cod Heath Coker

Heath Coker Robert Paul Properties Falmouth MA
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