The last couple of home inspections on pending sales I have had, both transactions had high levels of radon.  They were each in different parts of the Portland metro area. Should you be concerned about radon levels and how can you take care of the repair?

Is It Safe To Buy A Home With High Levels Of Radon?

Buying a house can be a bit like falling in love. You shop around, seek advice from friends, and when you find the perfect match, lay it all on the line and pop the question. But even after a seller has said yes to your offer, you’ll need to complete a home inspection, which often includes a radon test.

Radon test results usually shortly after your home inspection report and can be riddled with terrifying facts about this deadly gas. If it reveals high levels, you may be left wondering whether you should walk away from the sale. You don’t have to. Here’s why.

A Radon Problem Can Be Fixed

Radon-related lung cancer kills an alarming 21,000 people each year, a tragedy multiplied by the fact that significant exposure to the gas can be easily remedied. The scope of the work depends on the level of gas and the style of your house, but it’s pretty simple and not overly expensive.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, radon is found in every state and in many locations within the Portland metro area, even in the suburbs. It’s a naturally occurring radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Because the air pressure inside a house is typically lower than the pressure in the soil around its foundation, radon is drawn into the home through cracks in the foundation and other openings.

Radon levels are measured in picocuries per liter, or pCi/L. Levels of 4 pCi/L or higher are considered hazardous. Radon levels less than 4 pCi/L still pose a risk and in many cases can be reduced, although it is difficult to reduce levels below 2 pCi/L.

The EPA estimates that a radon removal system costs about $1,200 for an average house. The system is usually comprised of one or more PVC pipes that run from the radon-emitting soil beneath a home up through the roof. An in-line fan draws air through the system so that it doesn’t leach into living spaces. Once installed, a follow-up radon test is done. Even in houses with extremely high radon levels, you can expect a drop to levels considered safe.

You Can Ask for a Seller Credit

If a radon test reveals high levels—anything above 4 pCi/L—ask for a walk-through with an EPA-licensed radon remediation specialist. Here is the link to our State of Oregon Radon Office for information or I would be happy to provide you with a list of licensed and bonded contractors. Most will provide a free remediation estimate, and, if the work is done, guarantee that radon levels will be acceptable.

You can ask that the seller for a price reduction that covers the estimated cost of remediation. If the seller balks, remind those involved in the transaction that it’s a problem other buyers are likely to encounter as well. In Oregon, a seller is required by law to disclose the radon test results to other potential buyers on a seller’s disclosure form.

A Single Radon Test Offers Only a Snapshot

Relying on just one radon test done as part of a home inspection is a mistake, even if it reveals that the home has safe levels. In our tests, test kits that measure long-term levels—90 days or more—were far more accurate than the one-week tests used by most home inspectors. That’s because radon levels fluctuate day to day and season to season.

Let your home inspector test for radon and use the results as a bargaining chip to ask a seller for a credit if radon is detected. Just don’t think of it as the final word. You’ll still want a more thorough radon test done after the sale has closed.

Need more info? Check the radon information section of the EPA’s website. If you’re buying or selling a home, print out the EPA’s pamphlet on radon and keep it with your files.


Thinking of Selling Your Lake Oswego Home?

Prices are still increasing in Lake Oswego. Interest rates are also increasing but are still low and there is a huge pool of buyer demand. I have ready, willing and able buyers ready to purchase your home. If you want to know the value of your home in today’s real estate market, please call me at 503-804-9685.


There are links above to search for real estate.  I have a new website where you can search or you can use my mobile phone app as well. My website and mobile app provide you with access to all listings available on the RMLS™ system regardless of who the listing agent or brokerage may be. Listings are updated frequently throughout the day giving you the information you need, when you need it.

Moving to Lake Oswego?

Want to know more about Lake Oswego? I’d love to be your buyer’s agent, please give me a call at 503-804-9685.

I have worked in Lake Oswego as a Real Estate Broker since 1978 and have lived in Lake Oswego since 1988 and know all the neighborhoods! The real estate market is “hot” here in the Portland metro area and Lake Oswego. I am ready to assist you with all your real estate needs! “There is no substitute for experience.”

ALL ABOUT…..Lake Oswego Real Estate. Copyright 2008-2018. Betty Jung. All Rights Reserved. Use of this article, photos and images without permission is a violation of Federal copyright laws.