Radon has become quite a hot button when it comes to buying or selling a home. I am not saying that radon doesn’t pose a danger, but with relatively new concerns, we don’t often have the persepctive to put the risk into context. Radon is something that is prevalent in WNY, but at relatively low levels. In fact, levels tend to be much higher in other parts of the country.  Erie County provides a map that displays the prevalence of Radon in particular areas throughout Western New York (Click image for large map).


Radon is a radioactive gas released from the normal decay of uranium in rocks and soil.  Radioactive particles from radon can damage cells that line the lungs and lead to lung cancer.  It is often confused with Mesothelioma, which is a form of cancer that is not linked to radon gas.

Erie County Radon Map - 2010

Erie County Radon Map - 2010

I have a home up for sale that tested slightly above the recommended level.  When you hear the numbers with regard to radon, you might not know how severe it is.  Anytime your house has an issue that poses a potential health risk, you should be concerned, but you should also put it into perspective.  The nice thing is radon is relatively low in most areas throughout Erie County.  A neighbor of mine tested at 4.1 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) when the acceptable level is 4.0 pCi/L.  The cost to mitigate was $1,300 (newer homes are a bit less than older homes).

Radon Map - USA

Radon Map - USA

In my case, I have a home in the Village of Lancaster that has a reading of 5.8 pCi/L.  That might sound high when the accepted level is 4.0, but a high level in some areas is 400 – 500 pCi/L.  5.8 is relatively low, it just happens to be above the level that is recommended, and to sell a house a buyer will usually want this to be remediated.  Remediation is not difficult and most Radon contractors will be able to easily get the level below 2.0.  In fact, they will usually guarantee that number.  My cost: $1,500.

I am electing to use a Radon remediation company who appears to eat, sleep, and drink this stuff.  You have to love a contractor with a passion for his or her work. So much so, that I ended the phone call with him knowing that I could probably find someone who was $100-$200 cheaper, but who wouldn’t do the same job as this company. The company is Radonaire.  You can find them at www.radonaireinc.com.  Give Karl a call if you want a quick education on radon and radon remediation.