All homes are different-- from the style, material, and color, to the location -- and yet there are also plenty of similarities. One similarity that every home shares is its potential to have high radon levels. Whether a home is young or old, radon can enter and build up to unhealthy amounts, making a home seemingly dangerous.
Although radon may be found in any home, it can also be controlled and reduced in any home. As important as it is to live in a home with low radon levels, these levels become equally important when buying or selling that home.
TerraFirma is a trusted member of the nationally recognized National Radon Defense network, and they have the training and experience to help lower the radon levels in homes throughout Oregon. Contact TerraFirma today for more information about radon mitigation.
There are the slab-on-grade foundations, and then there are the basement or crawl space foundations. All can sustain high radon levels and most homes' levels can be significantly reduced with radon mitigation.
Some homes, however, are not as easy to mitigate, and some may actually not be receptive to any further mitigation. This is a very important detail that any homeowner may want to know before buying or selling a home. So how does radon gas enter a home anyways?
Improve value. A radon mitigation system can increase your home's resale value.
The foundation is crucial to understanding why and how radon enters into a home. Since radon is the result of uranium decay in soil, it's no wonder the gas can easily enter through a cracking foundation.
Most soils have uranium in them. Once this uranium decays, it produces radium and polonium, which then degrades into radon gas. This gas can easily maneuver through tiny cracks or crevices, making its way into your home.
Radon is actually sucked into the foundation by a process known as the "stack effect". New and unconditioned air replaces the warm air that rises and exits through the roofing. This unconditioned and cooler air is what can contain radon and other gases.
The difference in pressure between the outdoor and indoor air is actually what causes the vacuum-like suction that draws the new, unconditioned air through the foundation. The indoor pressure is much lower than the outdoor pressure, which means even the tiniest cracks serve as a vacuum, sucking in the outdoor air. Thus, the radon begins to build up, especially during the colder months when the windows and doors are tightly closed.
Should a home be bought if the real estate agent says it has moderately high radon levels?
Most real estate agents request information about a home's radon levels. The gas is measured in picocuries per liter, pCi/L. Radon levels are separated into three levels of severity: high, 4.0 pCi/L and above; moderate, 2.0 - 4.0 pCi/L; and low, 2.0 pCi/L and below.
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends reducing levels in any environment in the U.S. containing 4.0 pCi/L and above. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends any European environment with 2.7 pCi/L and above to be mitigated. What's the difference?
Well, according to Dr. Maria Neira of the WHO, most lung cancer cases caused by radon are actually not resulting from high radon levels, but actually by being exposed to low or medium levels in homes. Experts feel that all levels of radon exposure can be dangerous.
Whether the levels are above or below 4.0 pCi/L, TerraFirma can mitigate and reduce a home's levels to the lowest level. TerraFirma provides proper maintenance in order to check on the home and assure that the mitigation is effective.
Knowledge about radon is the sign of a good real estate agent. Any real estate agent should be aware of a home's radon levels before trying to sell. Try to request current levels -- and to have the home mitigated to be certain the levels are as low and safe as they can be.
If you're considering having a home built, radon can still become a future problem. Radon is more expensive to repair later than to mitigate from the start. Ask the builder to install a radon resistant system as your home is being constructed. According to the National Association of Home Builders, one in six homes is being built with these systems. This means 200,000 homeowners are taking the initiative to protect their families before a home is even built. This is a worthwhile investment, and a viable option.
TerraFirma is the local radon mitigation expert in Oregon and can thoroughly explain additional radon facts and the importance of understanding radon levels in a home. Contact TerraFirma today to learn more!
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