All About Radon

You have probably heard the term “radon” floating around recently, most likely in connection with real estate. But what is radon? Why is it getting so much attention? And do you really need to get your home tested for it?

Radon is a tasteless, odorless, colorless gas that occurs naturally everywhere in the environment, all over the world. It is a radioactive gas that is produced when radium decays. While there are some areas of the globe that naturally experience higher concentrations of the gas, in most outdoor locations there is a sufficient amount of ventilation so as to minimize any effects that the gas would cause. The situation indoors however, is another story. Inside, radon gas can have a dramatic affect on air quality, especially in more tightly enclosed or less ventilated indoor spaces like basements, etc. Over time the amount of radon gas in these enclosed spaces can build up causing a threat to any who inhabit the space.

Exposure to radon is actually quite dangerous. Radon is a carcinogen, or cancer causing gas. The EPA has estimated that radon is responsible for thousands of lung cancer deaths each year. In fact, many sources have noted, that, its cancer-causing affects are surpassed only by cigarette smoke. Radon is one of the primary causes for lung cancer in the United Sates. Fortunately, in almost all cases, these cancer-causing affects can be avoided. Currently the EPA estimates that one in every 15 homes in the United States has radon levels that are above the recommended limit.

What is the recommended radon limit? What do you need to do to make sure that your home is not full of cancer-causing radon gas? The answer is quite simple. The only way to know where your house stands with radon is to have it tested. Or if you are building a new home, you can help prevent radon build-up by requesting that the builders use radon-resistant techniques. These radon-resistant techniques have been proven to reduce the amount of radon in the air, and they are often less expensive to install while a home is under construction than they are to add to an existing home.

The maximum recommended radon limit is 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L). That means if your house tests at 4 pCi/L or higher you will definitely want to take repairable action. And while the EPA has strongly recommended that people whose homes test at 4 pCi/L or higher seek mitigation for their homes, they have even encouraged people whose homes test at 2 pCi/L to look into repairative measures.

There is a cost to have your home tested for radon, but the process is fairly simple and non-invasive. A radon collector is placed in the lowest living space in your home (often the basement) for a range of 2 to 7 days. The only thing you will need to do while the collector is in your home is to ensure that the reading device is not blocked. After the selected time period has elapsed, the collected data will be sent to a lab for testing. Then within a few days to a few weeks you will get your results. If your homes tests at a level under the recommended 4 pCi/L, taking further preventative action will be up to you. However, if your home tests above the recommended 4 pCi/L, it is strongly encouraged that you have mitigation devices installed.

Mitigation is more costly than radon testing. Getting your home properly mitigated can cost you anywhere from a few hundred dollars all the way up to a few thousand dollars. And while that may seem a bit pricey, the benefits far out weight the costs.

First of all, there is the more obvious health benefit. Having your home properly mitigated significatnly decreases the likelihood that you or your family will contract radon-related lung cancer. For many people, this point alone is enough of a reason to take the appropriate action.

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For those who require additional inspiriation, it most often comes in the form of real estate. More and more people are becoming aware of radon and the need for testing. New home buyers are regularly encouraged to ask about radon testing in the homes they are looking to purchase. Because of this it is recommended that anyone looking to sell their home have it properly tested for radon and get it mitigated if needed. Several home sales have been lost or had the sale price greatly reduced because the home for sale was not properly mitigated. Today’s home buyers want their homes tested, and they want appropriate proof of the result.

There are a variety of ways that a home can be properly mitigated. The method used will depend largely upon how much radon reduction is required and will be determined on a case by case basis. Some of the more typical mitigation options include:

o adding a gas permeable layer underneath your home (a layer-often gravel-is placed beneath the flooring system to allow soil gasses to move more freely)
o plastic sheathing is used in crawlspaces to hep prevent radon gases from entering the home
o any openings found in the foundation are sealed to prevent gas from entering the home
o a 3 to 4 inch gas-tight PVC pipe is installed running from the gas permeable layer of a home (usually the basement) out through the roof to increase radon ventilation

Radon testing and mitigation can seem like a daunting endeavor, and the very real potential threat of lung cancer can be quite frightening. Fortunately the solution to this issue is not only valuable, it is also fairly simple and pain free. Radon testing is too important to be ignored and should be done, if not for your physical health, then at the very least for your financial health as a homeowner and potential home seller. You need to become familiar with radon gas, and radon testing. So whether you own a home, are looking to buy a home, or are planning to sell your home, you can’t afford not to have your home tested.

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Please visit my inspection mega-site for more information about my full service home inspection and environmental testing company. We service Brooklyn, Queens, New York, Manhattan, Staten Island, Nassau County, Yonkers and the Bronx. You may also wish to visit my learning library which is packed with great tips and advice for buyers, sellers and homeowners alike. Lastly, you can also take advantage of my VIP referrals for vendors in over 50 home related trades, where your satisfaction is assured and the inspection of vendors completed workmanship or products is conducted on your behalf for free; visit my site for more details or call toll free 866-476-2056.

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Author: Dennis Kanakis
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
Solar panel, solar power

Radon Facts – What It Is And Why It Should Be Tested For In Your Home

Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that is a decay product of uranium that naturally occurs in soil and rock. The 2nd leading cause of lung cancer, Radon causes 15,000 to 21,000 deaths in the United States annually and has been found and identified in every state. Once produced, radon moves through the ground to the air above while portion remains in the earth and dissolves in underground water. It is estimated that over 6% of every home in the United States has elevated levels of radon that may need remediation. The Environmental Protection Agency and many state governments recommends Radon testing. The EPA states that any Radon exposure carries some risk. Radon levels are measured in picocuries. A picocurie (pCi) is a measure of the rate of radioactive decay of Radon. Remediation is suggested if the levels average 4 picocuries per liter or higher ( pCi/L) Unless Radon is tested for, there is no way of knowing how much Radon is present. Some states require radon testing for real estate transactions including property transfer or for mortgage approval on a planned property purchase. If Radon levels are not within an acceptable range within a planned purchase, ventilation remediation may be required before the sale will go through.

Only smoking causes more cases of lung cancer than does Radon exposure. If you smoke and are exposed to higher than normal Radon levels your risk of lung cancer is elevated. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a Radon risk comparison chart available for those who smoke and who have never smoked. The problem is that Radon gas decays into radioactive particles that can become trapped in your lungs. Over the course of a lifetime, lung tissue may become damaged. Breathing of Radon does not cause any short-term bad health effects such as fever, headaches or shortness of breath and everyone that is exposed to high radon levels will not develop lung cancer, but the potential risk is higher than usual. Radon in drinking water also poses some risk, but research shows those risks are much lower than those risks from breathing radon in the air.

Most indoor Radon comes into a building from the soil or rock beneath it. The Radon becomes trapped under a building and builds up pressure. The built up pressure forces the gases through cracks and other openings in a building and become concentrated. Because Radon levels are not predictable, it is wise to purchase an inexpensive Radon test to determine if levels are unacceptable in a home or building.

What is the Radon testing procedure?

Radon testing is inexpensive and easy. To perform a radon test simply follow the instructions provided and return the radon sampling bag in the self-addressed envelope. All that is required to collect the sample is to open the package and place the sampler in the area to be tested. The test start date and time and the completion date and time are recorded on the supplied data card that is returned with the collected sample. The sampler should be exposed to the environment in the area being tested for 2 days. The cost of the kit includes a laboratory analysis fee and the detailed report, which will be sent to you.

The Report Includes The Information On: Report Date, EPA ID Number, State ID #, Lab ID #, Kit ID #, Radon Level Measured (pCi/L), Test Location, Test Type, Start and Stop Date and Time, Test Method, Radon Health Risk, Explanation of results, Recommended next steps required based on radon level.

Be Proactive. Don’t wait until someone falls ill, or you are contemplating selling your home to test the levels of Radon in your residence. Stay healthy, Be Safe.

The author is the owner and founder of Be Safe Plus LLC, an e-commerce website that specializes in Safety, Wellness, Sports Therapy and Exercise products and solutions including Radon testing kits.

http://www.BeSafePlus.com

Author: Renee Grasso
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
Alternative energy

How To Detect and Reduce Your Home’s Radon Gas Levels

Many homeowners have questions about radon and the serious effects it can have on you, your family and even your home. But, the only way you’d ever even worry about radon is by learning about it and seeking professional assistance. Radon is an invisible, odorless, hazardous and natural occurring gas that is a result from uranium decay in the earth’s crust.

In the United States, radon is the leading cause of cancer found amongst non-smokers. Radon is dangerous because it quickly breaks down and scatters into the air. Large and dangerous amounts of radon can and will accumulate inside your home, within a short amount of time, without your knowledge or permission. As a result, radon exposure can cause lung cancer. Radon induced lung cancer kills 21,000 people each year. Let’s learn more about this silent killer so that we’re not growing anxious without hope.
There is hope.

By far the largest source of radon is located around and under your home in the soil, but this deadly gas can also present in the air, building materials, and public and private water supplies.

How is Radon Measured?

Since radon is invisible and odorless it can only be detected and measured using radon specific detection equipment and devices. Radon detectors are somewhat common in the United States and Canada and can be purchased at most hardware stores and home building centers.

Most radon detectors are generally placed in a home for several days, and then sent to a lab where your home’s radon levels will be analyzed and determined. There are more expensive models of radon detectors on the market that can be installed in your home by a professional. Whether a short term test that remains in the home for a few days, or a long term test that remains in the home for over 90 days. Whichever you prefer!

Does My Home Have Elevated Radon Levels?

Radon tends to move through the soil, so any homeowner with a dirt crawl space beneath their home, may be exposed to the high levels of radon. However, homes with concrete foundations can also have high levels of radon. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends an action level of 4.0 picocuries per liter (pCi/L).

This radioactive gas can enter a home through the smallest crack in the walls and floor of your home’s foundation, through utility lines, and even drains and sump openings. Radon is not just limited to the basement or crawl space of your home. It quickly travels upstairs into your main living space.

What Are The Health Effects of Radon Exposure?

According to the EPA, smokers who have been exposed to radon have a greater chance of developing lung cancer. However, radon induced lung cancer also kills many people who have never smoked or been hugely affected by second hand smoke, everyone is at risk. Unfortunately, studies have also shown that children are at a higher health risk of developing health effects due to radon exposure, in comparison to adults.

What Are the Symptoms of Radon Poisoning?

Studies show that radon causes some of the highest numbers of lung cancer cases throughout the United States. A persistent cough, respiratory difficulties, hoarseness, breathing difficulties, and respiratory infections are all common indications of radon gas poisoning.

Recognizing Radon Poisoning

Radon poisoning typically occurs where there are high levels of radon gas. This usually occurs when a person is constantly exposed to poorly ventilated crawl spaces, mines or basements.

Radon originates through a decaying process that releases tiny radioactive particles, and when inhaled can begin to deplete lung tissue resulting in lung cancer.

How Do I Protect My Family Against Radon Poisoning?

The United States Surgeon General office recommends that homeowners periodically test their homes for radon in order to stay on top of the conditions. Radon levels can change on a daily basis because of changes in soil composition, weather, encapsulation, and more. Have your home tested and mitigated. If you have any suspicions or concerns about radon induced lung cancer, be sure to get tested for lung cancer.

Contact Tar Heel Basement Systems today to schedule radon testing and radon mitigation in Winston-Salem NC and all surrounding areas. They will design a unique radon mitigation system and provide maintenance visits to verify the system is working and your home’s radon levels are remaining low.

Samantha Walton currently works as a web content writer for home improvement sites. She’s a college graduate with a B.A. in communication and a concentration in public relations. She’s aspiring to one day further her education with a seminary degree. Her experience ranges from internships in marketing and public relations, content writing for local television broadcasts, to writing and editing newsletters, fliers, and other content for her local church.

Author: Samantha Walton
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
Eco Friendly

Protect Your Family From Radon Gas

Radon gas is an invisible, odorless gas emitted by uranium decaying underground. Harmless outdoors, radon can seep into your home through the ground and accumulate: at high concentrations, this radiation can be extremely dangerous. In fact, radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and the second leading cause in smokers. Protect your home and family from this unseen menace with radon testing and, if necessary, radon mitigation.

Radon Testing

Radon testing is an easy, straightforward process. A charcoal canister is used to collect radon gas from your home, usually over the course of approximately 48 hours. During the testing period, it’s important to keep all doors and windows closed for the most precise readings. At the conclusion of the testing period, the canister is sent to a lab to measure the accumulated radon concentration. Simple as that. Do-it-yourself kits are readily available, although you may want to consider having a professional administer your test for optimal accuracy. Because your test results will be the basis of future action (either none because levels appear safe or an expensive radon mitigation) it’s important to have the best readings possible. That way you’ll be able to make an informed decision about what the next steps should be.

Radon Mitigation

If your test does report unsafe levels of radon, you need to address the problem ASAP. You’ll need to contact your local specialist: They will be able to design and install the right radon reduction system for your home. Depending on the construction of your home, there are several different options. The most common are sub-slab depressurization (for homes with basements) and sub-membrane depressurization (for homes with crawlspaces).

Sub-slab depressurization entails drilling a small hole in the floor of the foundation slab and excavating a slight cavity below. Then, a pump is connected to the hole and the radon (and any other organic contaminants) is vacuumed out of the ground before it has a chance to leak into your home. These gases are vented outside, where the radon can disperse harmlessly. Sub-membrane depressurization is similar to sub-slab depressurization, but because there is no slab, a membrane is installed over the floor of the crawlspace to trap the radon. The gas is extracted in a similar fashion and vented outside.

Because radon mitigation is not a one-size-fits-all process, this really is not a job for DIYers; from targeting the entry point to creating a complete seal, professionals have the knowledge, expertise, and skill to ensure your family will be safe.

Radon Resistant New Construction

If you live in an area with a known radon problem and are building a new home, you may want to consider radon resistant construction. These preemptive measures prevent the radon from ever entering your home, stopping the problem before it begins! The techniques are the same as for mitigation, but because your home is not being retrofitted the system can be more efficient as well as unobtrusive. For example, vent stacks are installed internally as the building is constructed, hiding this potential eyesore while still completely venting any radon gas. Talk to your contractor about whether radon resistant new construction is needed for your house.

Just like your home isn’t safe without working smoke detectors, if you haven’t tested for radon you’re taking a risk! Let professional radon contractors bring you safety and peace of mind with complete radon testing and mitigation. If you’re looking for a trustworthy technician in your area, organizations like the American Association of Radon Specialists and Technologists (AARST) and the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) can help you find a qualified professional.

Matt Gallo is a home improvement specialist and the Internet marketing manager for Prospect Genius, a leading provider of online, local advertising solutions.

Author: Matt Gallo
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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