Radon Levels in Breckenridge Homes
Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas emitted from uranium, which is a naturally occurring mineral in rocks and soil. Typically radon rises up through the soil and dissipates in the air outside. However, when it seeps through openings such as cracks, loose fitting pipes, sump pits, dirt floors, slab joints or block walls and accumulates in large quantities in a home in can become an issue for homeowners. Radon has been identified as a health risk because it may decay into radioactive particles that can get trapped in the lungs.
Air pressure inside the home is typically lower than pressure in the soil around the house’s foundation and because of this difference, the house acts like a vacuum, drawing radon in through foundation cracks and other openings. Radon levels are influenced by a variety of factors: Soil type and moisture, how “tight” the home is, type of heating and ventilation system, movement of air and groundwater, air pressure, and lifestyle behavior of the occupants.
Radon in our Mountain Homes
Colorado is 7th highest in the U.S. states for radon concern because of the natural geology. Surveys show that homes in most Colorado counties have the potential for radon levels above EPA’s recommended action level. The only way to know if a home has elevated levels of radon is to have it tested.
Radon Testing In Summit County
All homes in Summit County, or in any part of Colorado, should be tested for radon. It makes no difference what your neighbors' test result are, yours could be too high, and measuring radon levels in the home is simple and inexpensive.
Short-term detectors are usually set up for two to seven days, and come in test kits that include complete instructions and return postage for mailing the samples back to the lab for analysis. However, most home inspectors will conduct the radon test if requested. These tests provide quick screening measurements that can indicate potential radon problems.
Short-term detectors should be placed in the lowest livable level of the house, preferably during winter. Long-term detectors can be left in place for three months to one year and provide the advantage of averaging seasonal variations associated with radon levels. Long-term detectors are generally placed in main living areas of your mountain home.
Cost of repairs to reduce radon here in Summit County, Colorado depends on how the home was built and the extent of the radon problem. Most homes can be remediated for $800 to $2,500. A variety of methods may be used to lower radon levels in a home that include sub-slab, drain tile, sump hole, and block wall suction. Sealing cracks and other openings in the foundation and covering sump pump holes are basic approaches to radon reduction. However, sealing alone is not proven to significantly or consistently lower radon levels.
The most commonly used radon mitigation technique, and generally the most effective method, is called sub-slab depressurization. This system uses pipes that extend from a permeable layer below the basement floor upward through the structure, venting out the roof.
Simple ways to reduce radon levels in your Breckenridge Property:
Keep windows open on both sides of the lower floor of your house when possible.
Ventilate crawlspaces under your house.
Open basement windows early in the spring and keep them open when possible until late fall.
Seal cracks in basement floors with polyurethane caulking compound.
Pour water in floor drains once a month to make certain that traps do not dry out.
For additional Information on Radon contact the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.