Radon Portland, Oregon

7 Replies

Hello BP community Hopefully someone has some knowledge or experience with radon testing in the Portland market. Are you seeing this as an issue in transactions and how have you handled it either as a buyer or seller? Are tests reliable or anyone have recommendations? Thank you in advance for your input!

@Kiki Helland radon testing has become a pretty common part of the typical retail real estate transaction inspection process in the Portland area.  Some years ago a man passed away from lung cancer due to radon and his family has been very active in promoting radon inspections.  I think it is only a matter of time until its required or a release is required - like lead based paint testing. Its very spotty on whether or not the test comes back positive or negative - two neighbors can have completely different radon levels depending on the soil composition and such things as how well insulated (tightly sealed) the home is.  I haven't heard any murmurings of inaccurate testing.  Environmental Works is a company who my husband (an agent) routinely recommends and works with.  Many home inspectors deploy radon test units also.  In our experience, if necessary, mitigation typically isn't overly complicated - an exit fan is usually installed from a crawlspace or basement to the exterior of the home.  I believe newer construction often times is already set up for a mitigation system without the pump/fan installed but not sure about that.  Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.  Best of luck!

Radon testing is standard now in PDX, I’ve dealt with it in my last three transactions including buying two radon mitigation systems. If your house is above a predefined bumper of PPM, an 8 (as I remember). Your expected to buy a radon mitigation system for the buyer. Environmental works is a good company and it will cost you about $1,500 on a small SFR. You can do this as a concession too

@Kiki Helland as @Steve B. and @Lisa Thoele have stated, Radon testing is becoming the norm up here. It is the new must have test, much like lead-based paint was. There are several hot areas around Portland and many medium risk level areas. The following link can get you, probably, more information then you are looking for Oregon Health Authority : Radon you can search by map or zip code. The test can be a nuisance for sellers since it is a minimum of 48 hours of testing. During this time, doors and windows should be kept closed, except for normal use. The measurement used and defined by the EPA is picocuries, at a level of 4.0 the EPA recommends mitigation should be performed. New construction is required to have a Radon mitigation system installed. As with any repairs in a transaction the mitigation is negotiable, just because the buyer asks for it, it does not mean the seller will pay for it. Case Study: buyer has a company test for Radon, who also performs the mitigation. Results came in high so the buyer asked for repairs to be done. Seller questions results so goes out and has their own test done, by a company that does not perform mitigation. Result? Came in much lower, well below the 4.0 pCi/L. 

Keep in mind, for those who love granite or any natural stone countertops/flooring, Radon is naturally occurring. These products will release Radon, albeit, low levels but still releasing Radon into the house.

As for your question on testing, the longer the test sampling period the better the result will be reality. 48 hours is about the minimum and what is performed in most if not all real estate transactions.

Patrick, I think you hit the nail on the head of what I was suspecting.  Mine came in "just above 4" and it was done within an hour and-a-half test.  My realtor is telling me the buyers will want concession and advised me how much it will be and that I should complete the remediation. 

I will do my own testing should the deal not happen, and hopefully the correct levels reported will be within a safe range.

Thanks all for your input! I hope I can assist someone else down the road...

@Kiki Helland 1.5hr test? I myself would not trust those results, but that is just my opinion of course. I was not aware there were technicians out there performing tests less than 48 hours. Fun Fact: WHO (World Health Organization) states at 2.6 pCi/L you should start mitigation.

I wish you the best of luck on your transaction.

Hi, I own a professional radon measurement company in the Midwest (ARC-1 Radon Testing)and I know a lot about radon and the testing of multifamily buildings, schools, etc. Radon measurement in a multifamily building, school, or larger commercial building is not at all the same as testing in a home. Don’t hire some home inspector who thinks he knows what he is doing. Get someone who has been certified by the National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) for multifamily buildings. If you’re in a licensed state such as (IL, KS, OH, Iowa) be sure the person is both state licensed and NRPP certified.