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The results from the radon test came back today...and they're not good. Not good at all.
The EPA likes to see test results under 2 pCi/L (the unit of measure for radon). Results over 4 pCi/L require mitigation. My house came back at 10.7 pCi/L.
I spent the afternoon researching radon (which I didn't know much about at all) and called a few specialists (who I still haven't heard back from). I think THIS is the best resource I found for really understanding what radon is, why it's a problem, and how to fix it.
My agent had a home a few weeks ago with a radon problem, and the cost of mitigation was $1,200. Because this house is on a slab foundation, most likely I will need to have a contractor install a pipe underneath the house that vacuums the air from under the house and fans it out into the air (where it's diluted to a safe level). The house will need to be monitored every two years to be sure the problem doesn't return.
Radon can cause lung cancer and right now the house is unlivable. The problem will need to be dealt with before I can move in, and I'm pretty sure in order to get the mortgage. I expect the current owners to fix the radon problem and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they will. Otherwise, this could be a deal breaker. I can't invest $1,200 into a house I might not own. If the owners were having doubts, this is their way out of the contract.
The home inspector also came and took a second water sample today. I'm hoping they cover the cost of the replacement test ($85) because they could offer no explanation for the error. More importantly, I hope that the test comes back clean this time (after running the water pipes in the house for a while) and without radon in the water (which is more dangerous and more costly to fix than water in the air).
I'm trying not to get too worked up about the "what-ifs." It helps that I spent the day outside in the sun with a power-sander refinishing some furniture for our new home. Well, I hope it was for our home. Let's just hope that the current owners agree to mitigate for radon and will take care of any issues with the water. Fingers crossed.