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    Radon Gas in the Eastern Sierras

    Lake Crowley

    After recently purchasing a home in Crowley Lake that tested high for Radon Gas I thought it would be helpful to share what we learned about radon testing and mitigation. If you are buying or selling a home near Mammoth Lakes you may want to consider testing for Radon gas. Radon gas is carcinogenic and caused by decaying uranium which then rises from the earth into the atmosphere. It is a dense gas and can tends to build up in homes where the doors and windows are closed and also in basements.  If left untreated radon gas can cause lung cancer and possibly other cancers like Leukemia. Numerous homes in the Crowley Lake neighborhood have tested high for Radon and have been mitigated.  We hope to share what we learned about Radon and mitigation with other potential buyers or home owners.




    Key Facts about Radon:

    1. Radon Gas is measured in units of picocuries per liter (pCi/L)
    2. Homes testing for Radon above 4.0 pCi/L should be corrected according to the EPA
    3. Homes testing above 2.0 pCi/L could also be considered for correction.
    4. Homes below 2.opCi/L radon levels do not need abatement according to the EPA
    5. 1/3 homes in the US have radon levels above 4.o pCi/Ls according to the EPA and many families are living with Radon and do not even know it
    6. Radon is believed to cause approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the US.
    7. The good news is radon can be easily mitigated in most cases and brought down to safe levels.

    While purchasing our home, we came to find out there was not a radon inspector for the Eastern Sierras. Local contractor, Greg Enright, previously had done Radon inspections and mitigation but when I spoke with him he was no longer doing these and had gone back to building custom new homes for his clients.  After doing some online research, I decided to buy an electronic Radon tester called the Corentium Home by Air Things on Amazon.  The nice thing about this tester is that it can be used over and over. Alternatively, there are single use charcoal test kits available. Radon levels can fluctuate from day to day and differ between locations within the home.  I also wanted to know the radon levels after we had mitigation done on the home.  During the inspection period for our property we left the radon tester in the property for several days and it ended up testing above 5.0 pCi/L.  My wife and I have 2 young twins and did not want them to be exposed to high levels of Radon.

    Greg Enright referred me to another Radon Mitigator, Norm Denny of Pinnacle Construction Consultants (775) 691- 7101.  Norm gave us an estimate for the Radon mitigation and after the work was completed our Radon levels dropped to 0.32 pCi/L on a daily average.  The work involved sealing the crawl space of our home with a radon approved plastic liner.  A PVC pipe is installed to the exterior of the house that is attached to an exhaust fan that draws the air from the crawl space and vents out near the roof line away from windows.  There is also an alarm on the system in case the fan stops working.  The work was completed in a single day and we were happy with Norm and the work he provided.

    I also learned that Norm has mitigated homes in Mammoth Lakes and June Lake for high radon levels. Lake Crowley seems to be fairly prevalent for Radon.  Here are 2 helpful websites for more information on Radon: EPA Radon State/County Map  which shows which areas are at most risk for Radon.  City-Data shows different counties and zip codes in California and how many radon tests were above 4.0 pCi/L. Interestingly enough, I discovered that Rancho Palos Verdes (where I am from) and the Palos Verdes Peninsula both have had quite a few homes that tested high for Radon as well.

    Radon gas is easier than ever to test for and there is no reason to put your family at risk by not testing the home you are buying or living in.

    radon results low
    Safe Radon levels after being mitigated.
    radon test results
    Radon levels while in escrow and above the 4.0 pCi/L level where treatment is necessary.
    Radon Piping

    Radon piping where it exits the house and goes up towards the roof line to vent.

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