Well the radon test for the house came back higher than the EPA suggested safe levels. According to our home inspector the EPA safe level is 4 and the home we are purchasing came back at a 6 in the basement but well below a 4 on the main level. It turns out the area of the mountains we are buying in a 6 is actually a pretty low level. Okay, so do I actually need to do anything about a reading of 6? Is it really that dangerous? After all, the family that was living here prior to us did live here prior to us without worrying about it. Turns out the answer is a little bit depending on the planned usage of the home. This house in particular has been owned by the same family and passed down since it was built back in the early 50’s. I don’t know if they have ever even had it tested for radon. If we were only planning on living on the main level and not using the basement than it is a toss up of whether or not we would of done anything. The radon level on the main floor remember is well below the dreaded EPA safe level of 4 ( I think it was somewhere around 1.8’ish) so not a big deal if we would not be spending much time downstairs. We plan on using the downstairs and finishing it out completely including 2 bedrooms, we will be down there a lot. So what do you do about it?
First things first take a deep breath. Radon is a very common problem (especially in Colorado) and is not a deal breaker by any means. Basically all they do to fix it is drill a hole in the floor and install a pipe with a fan to vent it out of the house. The average radon mitigation system runs somewhere between $900 – $1200 in our area so even if the current owner was not willing to eat the cost we would have. Being that is a safety issue and pretty much any buyer will require safety issues to be fixed the seller was more willing to cover the cost with no argument. After all it’s not like you are just saying it has a problem. It is a verifiable safety condition from a licensed third party inspector, kinda hard to argue the results! Radon related lung cancer deaths number more than 20,000 per year. We would have eaten the $1,200 dollars for the mitigation system even if the seller refused. Peace of mind = priceless! In the grand scheme of things $1,200 is nothing when our family’s safety is in question. I can also guarantee the next homeowner would want one installed if we ever were to sell. So might as well have the seller pay for it now compared to me paying for it later.
So what is the down side? The bottom line is that they are ugly! We will have to pretty it up a little by painting it or what not but again the safety aspect can’t be ignored. It is not that bad in the basement. There PVC pipe and a monitor in the back corner by the sump pump. Not incredibly invasive and we need to be able to see the monitor to make sure the system is working correctly.
The outside is a little more of an eye sore. Basically the PVC pipe has to exit thru the foundation and run up the house all the way to the roof line in order to release the radon safely away from the house. Most of the time it is done on the back or side of the house. They do the best they can in order to keep it from being that noticeable but no matter what you do it is still there. We will definitely be painting ours!
So that’s it! Radon problem solved, one step closer to starting the adventure!