Abode Analysis | Tips and Updates
“Radon in the Seattle area? Will my Seattle area home inspector look for radon gas?” The short answer, probably not.
Lets start with the basics, though. “What is Radon?” Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is known to cause lung cancer or at very least significantly increase your chances of getting lung cancer. “I’ll smell it or see it wafting about!” you may think, but radon is odorless and invisible. The only way to know for sure if your indoor air quality is being impacted is to have radon testing done to determine your home’s level of exposure. Your Seattle based home inspector may or may not have the type of equipment available at his/her disposal to properly test for radon. “I’ll be sure to have my home tested for radon then!” …but should you?
“How concerned should I be about radon in the Seattle area?” Due to below average levels (nationally speaking), you really shouldn’t be terribly concerned. If you are, by all means get your home tested to ensure it’s not an anomaly. Below is a map of the nation which shows the predicted fraction of homes thought to have radon levels over 4 “picocuries per liter”, shown as pCi/L. The EPA recommends “action” be taken if your home’s radon levels are in excess of 4 pCi/L.
This map gives us a good idea of where the most dangerous areas are. But lets take a closer look at Washington state and furthermore, the Seattle area.
Okay, now we can clearly see that there are areas in Washington that have higher levels of radon. People in these areas should absolutely be investing in radon testing to ensure their home’s air quality is satisfactory (or, much better than satisfactory, if you prefer). Radon mitigation is surprisingly, not terribly expensive. So if you have a problem, either in your water or your soil, get it taken care of to ensure you and your loved ones (or tenants) are not at an elevated risk of exposure.
“Wait! Radon can be in my water as well as my soil?!” Yup! Because the radon is coming up from the ground, there are 2 places that are the most likely source; water & soil. Radon is expelled from your water when it is aspirated or agitated (think: the spraying of a shower, watering the lawn or washing clothes).
“If I have radon in my water, do I also have radon in my soil?” Nope, though, it’s absolutely possible. The presence of soil gas radon does not indicate or foretell the presence of radon in well water (as well as vice versa).
“So now that I know more than I probably ever thought I would about radon, where do I go from here?” That, my friend, is up to you. According to maps provided by the EPA as well as more specified maps in our geographic area we know that there is a low risk of radon in the greater Seattle area. If I were a parent or had a loved with a condition which put him/her at a higher risk due to compromised lung health, I’d look into having my home tested. Here’s a blurb from National Radon Defense
“Professional radon tests are usually faster and more accurate than Do It Yourself tests
Although Do It Yourself-type radon test kits are very accurate, they must be used correctly by the homeowner to avoid false results. It’s important for all family members to follow the testing instructions carefully to ensure accurate readings. Otherwise, you will need to do several Do It Yourself tests before you are confident in the results. Another disadvantage is that you need to mail the detector into the lab and wait for the results.”
In summary, radon testing in the Seattle area is a viable option for someone highly concerned or at higher risk due to compromised lungs. At this time, it is my opinion, based on my understanding of facts stated by the EPA that we (in the Seattle area) have very little to be concerned about with regards to radon gas. Now that you’ve been educated a little on the subject, how will you decide?
Off to a rainy day inspection here in WA. You may think “are inspections on a rainy day effective or limiting”? In fact, it’s the best time for an inspection. Barring heavy, driving rain and gale force winds; a rainy day helps to find leaks that may be otherwise virtually undetectable. A good inspector welcomes the elements as they bring light to issues. In a perfect world, I would love to recreate all 4 seasons during every inspection. While inspecting homes on a beautiful day is still a highly effective way to discover many issues associated with construction/renovation; a rainy day can offer the added benefit of viewing the home while it works to defend you from the elements.
Seattle’s housing market is, in one word: fierce. So here’s Barlow, an Airedale Terrier, just looking to give you a smile along the way. Cheers!
We’re in day two of the Western Washington American Society of Home Inspectors conferences in Shoreline, WA and we’re learning lots! Todays highlight include a couple of hours on each of the following topics:
Water Heaters – Storage Tanks to Tankless systems
Gas Distribution Systems
and Composition and Metal Roof Coverings Inspection
Are you as excited as we are!?
“No!”, you say?
Can’t say I blame you, but I’m sure you’re glad your favorite home inspection team is working hard to ensure we deliver the most correct and up-to-date information to our clients.
We take learning seriously here at Abode Analysis. That’s why both today and tomorrow we’ll be at the Western Washington American Society of Home Inspectors conferences in Shoreline, WA. Rule, codes and standards of practice are constantly changing. We make sure the information we provide is as up too date as possible.
Home inspections PSA: On an inspection today we noticed a sump pump dumping ground water into a sewage system. Remember folks, if we all did this we would over-run the sewage treatment centers. Your Sump’s should be drained into your storm drainage system or day-lighted away from your home and down a grade. -Your friendly, local home inspection team.
Here’s to hoping your rubber wash machine hoses don’t burst in the time between reading this article and getting them replaced. On inspections we frequently make this call out …and for good reason. If you’re like most people: you know someones who’s wash machine hoses have burst and flooded a portion of their home. When taking the cost of a home into account, why do we skimp here so frequently?
I recently inspected a home for a client who had an inspector tell her to upgrade to metal braided hoses. Unfortunately she didn’t take his advice. Flash-forward 5 years – I gave her the same advice. She shared her story of learning “the hard way” the devastating effect of a hose burst while she was at work. She insisted she would not be making that mistake again.
For a difference of approximately $10 you can nearly eliminate the chance of your hoses bursting. Rubber hoses are rated to about 700psi or so, where as metal braided hoses are commonly rated to 1500psi or greater. In addition, many metal braided hoses come with a 90° angle on one end to relieve the highest pressure area and allow you to push your wash machine closer to the wall. Many metal braided hoses come with a lifetime warranty vs rubber hoses which commonly offer a 1 year warranty. When you’re looking to purchase your next home ask yourself “is it worth the extra few bucks?” – yes, my friend, yes it is.