A few months ago, someone went to my wife’s office and spoke about radon and having your home tested for radon. As it turns out, in Colorado, higher levels of radon are common because of the composition of the soil. Still, it never was very high on my list.
However, my wife got a coupon for a free radon test kit, and she mailed away for it, set it up, and mailed it back in. I expected the results to come back something along the lines of, “Not even close. Frankly, you are silly to even be worrying about it.”
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Radon Test Results Denver Colorado
That is not what happened. Instead, the test results for our Denver, Colorado home came back with a radon level of 3.8. (The units are picograms per liter, I believe, but that isn’t really important.) At 4.0, the EPA recommends you “take action” to mitigate the radon in your home.
However, everyone says you should do a retest before you do anything because one result isn’t enough to go on.
It turns out that my wife’s company also has an electronic radon meter she can check out based on our concerning result. It’s sitting two feet away from me on a cluttered shelf right behind where I sit every day.
Right now, it reads 5.0.
Yes, I’m freaking out a little bit.
Technically, you are supposed to test for 48 hours before drawing any conclusions, but here is the thing. The other test said 3.8 and was in a different part of the basement. The number on this tester has only gone up since I put it in.
Even worse, the “best” time to test for radon is in January when you keep your home all closed up for winter time, but it is now May, and windows and doors have been open not that long ago. In other words, I think this number is only going to get worse.
At certain levels (thankfully, higher than 5.0) living in a home with Radon is the equivalent of smoking a pack a day. For smokers, radon is even more of a problem, resulting in a substantial increase in potential mortality from lung cancer.
The good news is that the effects are not an instant thing and build up over time.
The bad news is that I’ve lived in this house for over 10 years. My home office for my freelance writing business is in the basement, where the radon is the highest. I’ve basically been sitting in too high of radon levels for a decade.
Fix Radon Levels Mitigation Denver, Colorado
It apparently isn’t a huge deal to “fix” the radon in your home. The way radon gets in, in the first place is that the air pressure in your home is lower than the air pressure in the ground. So, it creates sort of a vacuum effect that pulls the radon (and other harmless gasses) into your house.
Fixing a radon problem is called “radon mitigation” and while there are several different methods to mitigate radon, they all basically come down to installing some pipes and a fan to create a different vacuum and pull the radon out into a vent that goes into the air. (Apparently, radon vents into the air from the soil all of the time, the concentrations are just so low that they don’t matter.)
It isn’t as easy as just putting in some sort of bath fan, however. So, you have to call someone, which means you have to find someone. There seems to be a handful of certified radon mitigation companies in the Denver area, so that part is O.K.
Radon mitigation costs between $800 and $1200 for an average radon vent system. That’s not cheap, but I can think of a lot more expensive crap that can happen to a house. (Our neighbors had to rerun their water supply line from the street into their house. That costs like $10,000!) But, I’m not really all that excited about have some construction guys come do stuff to my house.
Plus, I have an old 1920s house that already has a bunch of weird crap to it. When we replaced our water heater, I had to buy a more expensive, specialized direct vent, water heater, because their isn’t enough room in the chimney to vent it out, or something. Instead, I have a 4-in pipe sticking out of my brick wall in the back. I worry it will take something equally lame to do this work.
Of course, I’m not going to sit here and get lung cancer (assuming it’s not already too late), plus I’ve got a family to think about, so I’ll have it done sooner rather than later.
I’m solidly in my 40s now, I don’t need crap showing up that has to do with mortality.
Go check out my Acorns review to make me feel better 🙂
Where To Get Radon Information
If you are worried about radon in your home, the State of Colorado offers some radon information on its website.