What is Radon and How Does It Affect Buying and Selling a Warren County Home?
I keep hearing about Ohio having trouble with radon. What's the story? Should I be concerned about radon? How does it effect buying or selling a home?
Reckoning with Radon!
You've heard right, radon is a VERY prevalent issue in Ohio. The EPA breaks down radon levels into three categories and is measured by AVERAGE in pCi/L (that's picocuries per liter):
- Zone 1: Radon exists in levels greater than 4 pCi/L (Higher risk)
- Zone 2: Radon exists in levels between 2 and 4 pCi/L (Moderate risk)
- Zone 3: Radon exists at levels below 2 pCi/L (Low risk)
The local counties surrounding Warren County are mostly zone 1, with only Clermont, Brown and Highland Counties being Zone 2. However, despite the zone, an individual home can be higher OR lower.
Now you may ask, what IS radon and why do I care?
What is radon? First of all, radon is a radioactive byproduct of uranium decay (yes...THAT uranium). Uranium is in the soil, and as it breaks down radon gas is formed. As you can imagine, the gas rises over time and tries to find an exit from the ground. If your home is OVER that ground, radon will try to come up through any cracks or gaps in your home's foundation. Once it enters your home, it's in your air and you will breathe it along with everything else in your home's air.
Why should you care? Depending on who you ask, some will say you shouldn't care, but here's the bottom line as we understand it. Most major health organizations agree that radon in a high enough concentration significantly increases your chance of developing lung cancer. If you're a smoker too, well your odds just went up even higher. Radon is thought to cause lung cell damage when you inhale the gas. The more time you spend in your home, the longer the number of years, the higher your overall risk. Young children are thought to be especially susceptible.
How do I find out what my risk is? You've got several choices. You can continue as is, never ask, take your chances that your home or potential home has low enough levels of radon that your risk is low. OR you can test to find out the radon levels and work from there. You can either self test (some government agencies over free test kits), or you can hire a licensed radon tester.
What do I do once I find out my radon level? Well, under 2, you're good to go. The EPA recommends mitigation starting at 2, but requirements for mitigation don't start until you exceed 4. This is particularly important if you're buying or selling a home. If radon is a concern to you as a buyer, you SHOULD have a licensed radon tester determine the level of the home. If the level happens to be above 4, MOST sellers will agree to mitigation because they now have a disclosure issue and the fix is relatively inexpensive.
How is radon mitigated? In our experience, radon can be lowered to acceptable levels by approved radon mitigation companies for about a $1,000 or less. Typically the mitigation involves sealing the entrance areas in the foundation and installing an evacuation fan that vents the underside of the foundation to the outside of your home. A retest is conducted to make sure the work has effectively lowered the radon levels to an acceptable range. Properly mitigated, radon is typically NOT a reason to reject a home as a place to live.
If you want to learn more about radon, the EPA's "A Citizen's Guide to Radon" is a useful place to start.
We hope you found this information useful! If you have other questions about buying or selling a Warren County home, please contact The Liz Spear Team of RE/MAX Elite, we'll be happy to help!
Serving Warren County's residential real estate needs,
Liz and Bill aka BLiz
Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas
The Liz Spear Team of RE/MAX Elite
Elizabeth Spear, ABR, CRS
William (Bill) Spear, CRS
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!
Two locations: Lebanon & Mason, OH
Direct #2: 513-265-3004
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