Radon in the Pacific Northwest: A Homeowner's Guide

Hello, Pacific Northwest homeowners and homebuyers! Let's dive into a topic that's crucial yet often overlooked: radon. This invisible gas can have significant impacts on our health, making it a must-know for anyone in our region.

What is Radon?

Radon is a radioactive gas resulting from the natural decay of uranium in the soil. It's odorless, tasteless, and invisible, but its presence in high levels can be a health hazard, notably increasing the risk of lung cancer.

Importance for Homeowners

Awareness of radon is especially crucial in the Pacific Northwest, where geological factors can lead to higher levels. Testing for radon is a critical step in ensuring the safety and well-being of your family, particularly when settling into a new home or area.

Using data (last modified 12/22/2022) from the Oregon Health Authority, this map shows risk levels for elevated indoor radon levels as reported by test kit manufacturers through the Oregon Radon Awareness Program. 

Measuring Radon Levels in Your Home

Testing for radon is simple and essential. You can use short-term or long-term test kits available at most hardware stores, or hire a professional. Especially for prospective homebuyers in our area, including a radon test in your home inspection is a wise move.

Remediation: What to Do If Your Home Has High Radon Levels

If radon levels in your home exceed the EPA's action level, it's time to take steps for mitigation. Professional radon mitigation systems can significantly reduce radon levels, making your home safer for you and your family. A radon mitigation system typically involves a vent pipe system and a fan, which pulls radon from beneath the house and vents it outside. These systems are designed not only to reduce existing radon levels but also to prevent radon from re-entering the home. By creating a pressure barrier, these systems effectively keep radon out, ensuring the indoor air remains safe.

A technician finishes the installation of a radon mitigation system. (Photo sourced from Environmental Works)

Cost of Radon Mitigation

The cost of mitigating radon varies depending on your home's size and the system needed. Typically, you might expect costs ranging from several hundred to a couple thousand dollars – a worthwhile investment for your health and peace of mind.

Conclusion

Radon shouldn't be a dealbreaker in your dream home journey, but it's a factor to take seriously. Regular testing and proper mitigation can ensure your Pacific Northwest home remains a safe haven. Stay informed, stay proactive, and breathe easy knowing you're on top of it.

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