Radon – Spooky, Nasty Stuff

Radon? What the heck is Radon? Some sort of Star Trek gizmo or remote Star Wars planet? Well, no one really knew what the stuff was a few years ago. Today, however, everyone is talking about it. It’s spooky stuff. You can’t see it, smell it or taste it. It’s nearly everywhere and it’s really, really NASTY.

As a home owner, please tune in. And if you’re buying a home soon, you should really read on too. As promised, I am not going to bore you with a lengthy blog. I am going to give you the details fast! If you want to know more, please check out the resources at the end of the blog. Or feel free to comment, email or call.

Here it goes…

1. “Radon, what is it?” Radon is a colorless, gaseous, highly radioactive element. It is the heaviest known gas, nine times denser than air.

2. “If I can’t see it, smell it or taste it, who really cares?” Well, your lungs really care! It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the US. The EPA estimates that 20,000 deaths occur annually due to prolonged exposure to Radon. (Told ya, nasty stuff!)

3. “Where is it found?” It is a naturally occurring inert gas that is found in our soils and water.

4. “Does it occur in and around my home?” You bet! In fact, in Colorado, one out of three homes have a higher than acceptable rate of radon in the soils below their home.

5. “Well, if I can’t see, smell or taste the stuff, how do I know if it’s present in my home?” You can hire a professional home inspector to provide the test or purchase a DIY home kit.

6. “What is an acceptable level in my home?” You need to take action if your home has more than 4 pCi/l (pico curies per liter). Okay, for you scientist types, at 4 pCi/l there will be approximately 12,672 radioactive disintegrations in one liter of air, during a 24-hour period. Told ya again, scary stuff if you don’t deal with it!

7. “Bummer, I have 8 pCi/1 of the stuff in my basement. What do I do now?” Don’t panic. Take a deep breath, reach for a beer and then call your local Radon Mitigation company. We have a number of companies in the Metro area. Feel free to call me and I can pass on some names of great companies.

8. “Radon Mitigation System. Sounds craZZZy expensive!” Well, it’s kind of relative…lung cancer or no lung cancer? The average system runs about $900 – $1,200 and can be installed in one day. The contractor will drill a hole in your sub-floor and then install a pipe and fan that will vent the gas outside your home. Voila! Problem solved!

So there you have it. Fastest Radon lesson I have ever given!

Here are some additional resources if you’d like more information.

Environmental Protection Agency Website

Citizens Guide to Radon

Colorado Radon Concentration Map

Radon Fix-It Hotline
1-800-644-6999. For general information on fixing or reducing the radon level in your home.

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