Category Archives: About Radon

what is radon? how was it discovered? how it effects your health? … and more

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

5 Key Inspections You Need Before Buying a Home

The single biggest purchase many of us will ever make is buying a home. Compared to the cost of a large repair bill or health care bill down the road the amount of money for these inspections is peanuts.

1. Home Inspection

It is mandatory in most states to have a home inspection done. Don’t expect a home inspector to give you cost estimate of any defects they may find. A separate contractor will give you those costs. These are basic things a home inspector will check out the condition of.

a) Structure – general construction of walls, roof, ceilings, floors and foundation
b) Exterior – sidewalks, driveways, fences, landscaping
c) Plumbing – sinks, toilets, drains, showers (does not include sewer/septic inspection)
d) Electrical – main panel, circuit breakers, grounding, light fixtures and receptacles
e) Appliances – dishwasher, fridge, stove, microwave, washer/dryer
f) Central Systems – Heating/Air, water heater, duct work, fireplace
g) Garage – main door, side entry door, firewall, lights, ceiling, roof
h) Roof & Attic – vents, roof construction, flashing & gutters (does not include guarantee of life expectancy of roof – you will have to hire a roofer for that)

2. Termite Inspection

Termites cause a lot of damage to homes. They can survive in all types of climates and have even been found in Alaska. A Termite Inspector will visually inspect all accessible areas of the home for evidence of wood destroying insects or organisms. When the inspection is complete you will receive a termite inspection report.

3. Mold Inspection

If you or one of your family members has allergies, a mold inspection is critical. Mold causes many health issues. Mold survives in dry and humid climates and for millions of years. The mold inspector will use a variety of techniques to gather samples. These samples will be taken back to a lab and grown for 5 to 7 days to check for toxicity. You will be sent a report with the results.

4. Radon Inspection

The US Surgeon General and the Environmental Protection Agency recommends all homes be tested for radon. What is radon? It is a natural odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that has been proven to be the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Coupons for Radon Test Kits can be obtained from the National Safety Council for $15-$25 or from a local home supply store. Once you have completed the tests, you send them off for analysis free of charge. If you decide not to do this yourself you can hire an inspector.

5. Septic Inspection

If the home you are buying has a private septic system, hire a professional septic contractor to do the inspection. Home Inspectors as a rule will not do a septic inspection. To do a proper inspection the septic tank should be pumped out. It is common to have the seller pay for the pump out and you pay for the inspection. If you purchase the home, you will have the peace of mind that the tank is empty and has been inspected.

Having these key inspections done will give you peace of mind. It may also save you from purchasing one of those “money pit” homes. Don’t try to ignore doing these inspections. It isn’t worth the risk.

About the Author: Russie Weidl is a Graduate of the Real Estate Institute and currently works for Watson Realty Corporation in Lake Mary Florida. She is also an Accredited Staging Professional. Russie has been the recipient of many awards throughout the years for excellence in her profession. For the second year in a row she was recently awarded the FIVE STAR Best in Client Satisfaction Real Estate Agent in Lake Mary, Florida and the top Hot 100 Real Estate Professional in Orlando, Florida. To get some free and very informative reports from Russie visit her website at http://www.russiesells.com/content/reports.html

Author: Russie Weidl
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
Smiling shark

10 Tips For Teaching Middle School Math

As a teacher for 11 years and middle-school math teaching consultant, I’ve seen a wide array of different math programs and classes. I’m sharing here the 10 best teaching tips I’ve compiled over the years.

1. Provide compelling content to study.

Years ago, a colleague I was working with said, “Maybe class can be fun, but I can’t make class compelling. I have to teach math!” It’s an assumption worth exploring.

Take Ron Berger’s middle-school math project to study levels radon in their own homes. Studying radon is boring. But Berger’s class project has got to be one of the most compelling projects in math class history. What if his students discovered dangerous levels of radon in the homes of one geographic area and published the results as they had intended? What would happen to real estate values in that area? What he found is that students were highly engaged in mapping, taking averages, looking at standard deviations- students that heretofore didn’t care one bit about radon or the other concepts.

So what’s the trick? The trick is that there isn’t one. You can’t trick students into finding something compelling if it isn’t. Take a little bit of time to develop a few topics of study throughout the year that you find compelling- the Economy, the Presidential Campaigns, the Human Body, etc. Find an authentic way to present your result- the paper, the web, a magazine. Keep the project small, authentic and do-able.

Students of teachers that do take this kind of time have better outcomes on state tests than students of teachers who only stick to the text. Almost any social studies context provides a backdrop for learning that adds depth.

Even teachers who hold a math “topics” class only once a month see real benefits, so you don’t have to abandon your regular class. And, you’ll find that students are more engaged when regular class is held.

If you want to go really deep and have solid administrator support, look into the school reform movement of Expeditionary Learning Schools who have an excellent approach to thematic teaching.

2. Don’t use extraneous rewards such as candy, purchase points, stickers, etc.

There is nothing more certain than seeing the culture of a math class decline over a period of years when a teacher bribes them. The intent of the teacher, of course, is good. A teacher cares about his or her students and wants the very best for them. “I don’t care how they learn math,” one teacher said to me. “I just want them to learn it so that they are prepared.” The teacher cared enough to purchase candy out of her own pocket, but the real message to students is this: the “positive reinforcement” of candy means “math isn’t worth doing on its own.” The research is clear on the matter too, and shows us that extrinsic, non-relevant rewards hurt learning.

Even if the effects aren’t immediate, over time so called “positive reinforcements” like these mentioned above erode an otherwise high-quality math program. As a teacher, you are much better off trying to create inherently compelling curriculum than buying candy.

3. Build a culture where students teach each other.

For many teachers, one student helping another is called cheating. But I actually found that the better middle-school math programs all encouraged students to team together at certain times throughout the week. The activities were usually graded as complete or not-complete, and when tied to meaningful tasks, such as building a survey together and collecting original data, student comprehension was greater than on individual tasks.

Building the kind of culture that works for student pairs or groups takes years and lots of practice. But before you give up and decide it doesn’t work, determine if you are following tips #1 and #2 first.

4. Give less, but more meaningful work, including homework.

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study labels the curriculum in the United States as “a mile wide and an inch deep.” Their review of math texts in middle-school found that some were almost 700 pages long. With heavy pressure to teach to the standards, as a teacher you might be tempted to skip and jump to many topics throughout the text. Don’t. It achieves little learning.

Choose the most important pieces before the beginning of the year, and keep it simple. Teach the concepts you do teach with depth.

The national advisory counsel formed from the study recommended “put first things first” and suggested that indeed, less is more. Take the time to cull the curriculum to a manageable size for your students, and present them with only that. If you have to “cover” standards, find out what standards and document when you indeed teach them in class. You’ll find that teaching with depth often reaches to a broad array of standards.

It’s helpful to know what’s driving the breadth. As the national study panel concurs, publishers are trying to meet demands of hundreds of different districts by including everything that any school might want. And while publishers have been attempting custom publishing, it is just as difficult to create a math curriculum for a small district as a large one. Thus, the challenges of book publishing lead to a single, uniformly created overarching textbook. Often this is a very large text or an entire series.

In the classroom, teachers and students become overwhelmed and unable to handle the scope or breadth of learning in this form. As teachers, we have to recognize that predominantly negative emotions surround math in middle-school, and that anything we can reduce those emotions will go a long way toward gains in learning learning. Placing a 500 page text in front of a 7th grade student is unlikely to help, so use it sparingly and build little, home-made notebooks for daily use.

5. Model thinking, not solutions or answers.

Don’t show a student how to solve something. Instead “think aloud”. For example, you might have a whiteboard with a problem up, and start by saying, “o.k., I notice that the 4 numbers I am to sum are all in the thousands category, and that the first is near 3,000, the second near 5,000, and the third… I am confused about…” Model exactly what you thinking including confusion, emotions, skills, strategies and more.

When you do this, also let your students know how mathematicians think. One piece of research that is helpful to know is that mathematicians spend a long time thinking about how to set up a problem, a little bit of time doing the problem, and a long time “looking back” by asking the question, “Does this make sense?’ Model that for your students, by putting up a complex problem on the board and spending time not just jumping into a solution, but just talking about what strategies you might use to solve the problem.

6. Provide feedback that is immediate, relevant to the task, non-comparative, and leads the way to next steps.

Many teachers believe that grading is a form of feedback. It isn’t. Grading, when done well, can be a form of assessment of learning, but the distinction should be clear. Grades are not an effective tool as assessment for learning. Grades are the end of the road, when you assess what has been learned, but they should not be intended to inform a student where to go next.

Take, for example, three groups of students who received different kinds of “feedback” on math papers they had “turned in.” The first group received only narrative feedback (no score) informing them where and how they made mistakes. The second group received a grade (or score) and narrative feedback. The third group received just a grade. Not surprisingly, the students who received narrative feedback improved when re-tested. Those who had received only a grade did not have the information to improve, and performed the same when re-tested. But here is the surprising part. There was no difference between “grade-only” group and the group that received the grade and narrative feedback. Why? The students who received both a grade and narrative feedback completely ignored the written suggestions and only looked at the score. “I got a blah, blah, blah… what did you get?”

Because we live in a world where grades and formalized assessments are so important, work with the system by differentiating assessment for learning and assessment of learning.

When you are grading, one guide is to reference Rick Stiggins strategies of assessment for learning. That way, when you are conducting an assessment of learning (i.e. grading), you’ll notice that you are momentarily stepping out of the role of improving a student’s learning and won’t have the conflict of trying to do two things at once.

7. Change mimeographed sheets to problems you and your students personally develop.

A pervasive aspect of our culture is to give out page after page of information. In faculty meetings, business meetings and conferences, hundreds of pages of documents are handed out. It makes us look organized and prepared. It’s also a way to “cover” content. But for a middle-school math student, it also makes it hard to determine what is important. Was it the fractions part? Was it the decimals section? Was it the number line? Was it the triangle puzzle problem? Was it the cartoon?

Instead of another mimeographed page, have your student write their own story problems. Tell them to add artwork for comprehension. Give them the latitude to make them fun. Celebrate them by posting them in class. Give them 5 home-made story problems they create for homework instead of a mimeographed sheet with 30 problems, and really dive into improving them through revision.

8. Use story to teach math.

Write a story, a real story with characters and plot, and add the math problem set. Write about wizards that need to use angles for their sorcery. Write about spice trading ships on the deep seas. Write a story that lasts a whole page before even getting to the math portion. You’ve engaged the right-side, or less analytical, part of the brain and you’ll see a powerful effect of enhanced engagement.

9. Get math tutor volunteers once a week for two-months before state testing.

As a teacher or administrator, spend time during the fall months by planning for and scheduling a single day each week during the months of February and March (right before testing) to have volunteers come in to teach math in small groups. But what’s nice is that if developed correctly, these volunteers don’t need to have any special training in math.

Start with a simple plan. Each student has 10 skills they have chosen to work on during the whole class tutoring session and have written down their practice problems in class. The phone calls are made, the specific planning with an administrator is done, and volunteers come in and help the students answer the 10 questions during class with support. Schedule tutoring once every week for two months before testing and see your scores greatly improve.

10. Work with the emotions your students have for math.

10a. Ask your students how they feel about math. Use a bit of class time periodically to gain a better sense of where they are. And, just let them feel how they feel. If they like math, they like it. If they are bored, empathize. If your students can’t stand math, you will gain far more ground by seeing their perspective than trying to prove they are wrong. As a teacher this is hard because we are so accustomed to trying to “fix” the situation, and of course, our ego is tied to student emotion. If our students are bored, we feel like we aren’t doing the right thing. But the larger truth is that there is an ebb and flow in all of us for the topics we are learning. When the boredom, frustration and negativity does emerge, try understanding it. Perhaps class does feel a little boring. That’s o.k. Sometimes it will. And then slowly, over a period of years, build those compelling pieces into your classes so that you punctuate boring times with excitement and joy.

10b. Go slowly. Changing the direction of your math class is like trying to change the direction of a large ship, especially when dealing with emotions. Even once everything is place for the changes to occur, you will notice the “ship’s” momentum going in the same old direction before you sense any real shifts. This is part of the process. It took me three years to develop a coherent math program at my middle-school and even then, we occasionally slipped in to old patterns. Good luck!

Scott Laidlaw, Ed.D. has been teaching for 11 years and served as consultant for best practices in mathematics under a federal grant. The company Imagine Education has been building story-based games to teach mathematics for the past 7 years. This February, Ko’s Journey will be its first on-line nationwide release. Built with a design called story-playing, students learn math in context authentic to the story-line. Find out more at http://kosjourney.com

Author: Scott Laidlaw
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
Pension

If a Home Inspection Finds Problems You Need to Know About

Whether you’re buying or selling a home, that home needs to be inspected by a professional home inspector. It’s his job to find problems that need to be dealt with. Whether they’re safety and health hazards or just annoyances, if he doesn’t find them, somebody else will, and there will be trouble down the road later. Many times the problems found can be solved easily before they become major.

Home inspectors commonly find plumbing problems. For example, there may be leaks around any pipes or fixtures. How is the laundry connection to the washing machine? Is water pressure adequate throughout the house? Does the toilet flush properly? Are there any leaks around the toilet, and is it secure around the base? Does everything in the kitchen, bathroom, or other water sources drain properly? If the home was built in the 1970’s or ’80’s, does it have polybutylene pipes? If so, they may fail and are a red flag for a home inspector.

Electrical problems are found regularly. Outlets may be loose or don’t work. The home buyer certainly wants these to work and doesn’t want to be concerned with a fire hazard. More than 40,000 fires occur each year because of faulty electrical systems.

Are plugs in the kitchen, bathroom and other key areas GFCI circuits? That is, are they ground fault circuit interrupters that will shut down when there’s a surge in current. Do appliances work properly? While checking this may not be a state or local requirement, it’s worth looking into.

Many breaker boxes are improperly wired with breakers that aren’t the right size or don’t fit. Having the correct wire gauge is essential as well. Such problems arise in older homes that haven’t been updated. Greater electricity demand from computers and other appliances makes this a very important issue. A breaker box must be able to handle the capacity required of it.

Home inspectors also find problems in the heating or central air system. Changing air filters regularly isn’t enough. Has the unit been properly serviced and maintained by a professional? Does the furnace burner work as it should? Are any gas leaks evident? It’s important to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

If the home has a fireplace, has it been properly maintained? Does it vent properly? Smoke and embers are both unwelcome and hazardous. It may be necessary to have a qualified professional inspect and clean the chimney. Also, in what condition is the fireplace’s masonry?

Problems on the roof and in the attic are also commonly found. Considering it costs an average of $1,000 or more a year to heat a house, this requires careful attention. An attic may not have enough insulation, or there may be gaps that let heat escape. That means in a sense dollars escape, too. Keep in mind that good insulation keeps air conditioned air in during the summer as well. Insulation requirements vary from state to state, and your home inspector knows what the home needs.

On the roof, torn and missing shingles are common. There may also be problems with flashing that hasn’t been installed properly, allowing water to seep into the house.

Windows can also pose problems. They may leak moisture if they’re not correctly installed or don’t open and shut as they should.

Water is a real “no no.” There are places where it shouldn’t be. Whether it’s found leaking from plumbing, spills from gutters where it shouldn’t, comes in windows, or is found in the basement, it’s an indicator and cause of serious problems. Many gutter systems don’t carry water far enough away from the house. That could cause water to seep into the foundation, a problem gutters should prevent. If grading around the home doesn’t carry water away, the water could pool against the foundation and seep in.

Any water in the basement can kill the deal for a prospective home buyer. Moisture in the house can also cause mold, which is a serious health issue that must be taken care of.

Another common problem is radon, an odorless, colorless gas found in many homes. It comes up through the ground and is a leading cause of lung cancer. Your home inspector should have the necessary instruments to detect it, especially if testing is required in your state. Incidentally, one option for dealing with radon may consist of a fan and pipe system that takes the radon from under the basement floor and vents it outside.

The presence of asbestos could be a problem in older homes. For example, it may be found in material that insulates water heater pipes. Your home inspector will know how serious the problem is and should be able to suggest how the asbestos can be removed or adequately contained.

Are there any potential safety concerns, such as missing hand railing on staircases? Is lead paint in an older home a problem? Are floors and structures sound? Has settling of the house created any problems that need attention?

Remember, by finding and dealing with unpleasant surprises now, you can prevent headaches and unnecessary expenditures for yourself or a prospective home buyer later on. If your home inspector gives you bad news, he’s doing you a favor. Don’t feel insulted. Take it in stride and, if you own the home, promptly correct anything that can be corrected.

Here’s hoping you get plenty of good news from your home inspection.

Choose a home inspection company as carefully as you have selected the home you are buying. Author Gary Monfeli provides professional home inspection in Chicago. Click now to view frequently asked questions about Illinois home inspection [http://www.homeinspectionman.com/faqs.asp].

Author: Gary Monfeli
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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Pros & Cons of Various House Foundations

Slab, Crawlspace or Basement? When building a new home, which foundation is the best choice? I offer the pros & cons of the typical three choices.

Slab:

Pros:
– Least expensive to build
– No moisture/humidity to deal with under sub-floor
– Easy access for handicapped or senior persons, since very close to ground level

Cons:
– Hard surface, takes a toll on your body/joints
– Difficult to run additional wires/pipes
– HVAC typically located in the attic (unconditioned space)
– A leak in a water supply line in the slab is very expensive to fix
– Entrance at ground level, not as eye appealing
– High likelihood of radon issue (can be easily mitigated)
– More prone to wood destroying insect issues, since close to ground

Crawlspace:

Pros:
– Able to install additional wires/piping easily if needed
– Wood floor structure is softer than concrete
– Entrance higher off ground, more eye appealing
– Easy access for repairs
– Less likely to have a radon issue (on ventilated crawlspaces)

Cons:
– Moisture issues (water & humidity) are a major issues, creates fungus growth & rot
– Easy access for unwanted pests
– HVAC in unconditioned space

Basement:

Pros:
– Able to install additional wires/piping easily if needed
– Wood floor structure is softer than concrete
– Easy access for repairs
– Entrance higher off ground, more eye appealing
– HVAC is located in conditioned space (more energy efficient)
– Additional storage/workshop
– Inexpensive additional square footage, can be finished at a later time
– Increased re-sale value of home & increased buyer appeal
– You can build on a sloping grade
– Provides shelter during extreme weather (tornado’s, hurricane’s, etc)

Cons:
– Most expensive to build (compared to a slab or crawlspace)
– Need a sloping lot to build a walkout basement
– Higher likelihood of radon issue (can be easily mitigated)

Mac has remodeled many old homes, been employed in several different construction trades & is a major do-it-yourselfer. He currently owns a home inspection company and has been inspecting homes for many years which is where my experience is most relevant to the proper way to build a home. To learn more about building your dream home, visit my website, http://www.house-building-tips.net

Author: Mac Barlow
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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Strategies to Sell Your House Yourself – Pay Close Attention to Experts & Ignore Them at Your Peril!

When you are trying to sell your house yourself, you may have dispensed the services of an agent, but you should heed the advice given by other professionals. Prior to putting your home on the market, you will need the services of a professional inspector. Get your inspector to thoroughly examine your home and pick up valuable tips that could mean the difference between success and failure.

One of the major things to be aware of when selling your house yourself is the property’s electrical wiring. The last thing you want is for all your sale profits to go towards the cost of a lawyer because faulty wiring caused serious damage to your home.

All experts will mention the radon test to you. If your home has high levels of radon, this can be easily fixed. Plus this is a huge plus point for potential buyers. For the most accurate results, you should have a thorough radon test and then do a retest afterward. Mention this to buyers when they visit.


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Author: Sam Renstaff
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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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

Before You Sell Your Home, Know Who to Call

Pop quiz time: when you sell a home by yourself, how many people are involved in the process?

You may have answered two: the seller and the buyer. While these two are probably the most important people involved in the sale of any home, by no means are they the only people to consider. Just because you have decided to go the For Sale by Owner route doesn’t mean you get to eliminate the middleman. Selling a home involves more people than you realize.

In fact, there could be as many as twenty people involved in the sale of your home, people you may have to hire in order to complete a legal, smooth transaction. That’s right. Were you to sell your home through an agency, some aspects might be covered by the agency with their own people. Otherwise, fees for various services will come out of your own pocket.

Let’s take a look at some of the people involved in the sale of your home:

Attorney / Real Estate Specialist – Unless you are a lawyer, you may require the services of an attorney specializing in real estate law to see you through a sound contract. There may be certain regulations applicable to your property and/or region that a layperson may miss in a contract. Make sure you know everything in your contract before you sign it, or have a lawyer assist you.

Real Estate Appraiser – It would be nice to slap an arbitrary value on your property, but in order to sell your home it must first be appraised for approximate. A licensed real estate appraiser helps determine the worth of your property through various factors, including damage and reconstruction, value of nearby homes, and overall condition of the surrounding area. Some real estate agencies may have somebody on staff for this purpose.

Property Inspector – To adhere to various disclosure laws, it is required to know everything about your home before you sell. A licensed property inspector is brought in to make a thorough, unbiased evaluation of your home. Such reports are helpful to the seller as well as the buyer, as a careful inspection may alert the property owner to needed repairs he did not know existed.

Mortgage Loan Officer – Say you have a potential buyer for your home. Great! Now you need to know whether or not he can pay. Here, the assistance of a mortgage loan officer is needed to confirm the buyer’s qualifications and evaluated overall financial health. This way the seller is armed with that knowledge and can determine whether or not to sell.

Environmental Specialist – What is the condition of your neighborhood and surrounding area? Do you live near a plant or factory that may offer living hazards like pollution? An environmental specialist offers services to evaluate the home and surrounding property for potential health risks. Depending on where you live, you may be required by law to report such anomalies.

Tax Advisor – Are you or the buyer required to pay certain taxes attached to the sale of your home? A tax specialist may be needed to evaluate the sale and report any levees that must be paid.

Lead Paint Inspector – Especially if you are selling an older home, you may require aid of a specialist to determine if your home contains lead, whether by current paint or remnants of old coatings.

Radon Gas Expert – Like carbon monoxide, radon gas cannot be seen or smelled, and is very deadly. Radon gas emanates from the breakdown of uranium, and may be a potential hazard if you own an older home. An inspector may need to be called in to check if your home tests positive for radon.

Sanitary Systems Expert – Make certain your pipes and sewage systems are operating correctly. A quick call to a sanitary inspector for a clean bill of health here may be needed.

Occupancy Permit Inspector – Your home may be subject to various occupancy laws, especially if your property is not detached. An occupancy permit inspector can advise you with regards to such regulations.

Zoning Inspector – Is your home only zoned for residential purposes, or may it be sold as commercial property? A zoning inspector can determine the overall usability of your home.

Survey Company – Where exactly are the property lines? Do you own more acreage than you realized. You may need to hire a surveyor to help determine the exact square footage of your property.

Flood Plain Inspector – Do you live in an area susceptible to flooding and hurricane damage? If your property rests near a flood plain, you may need to have an inspector take a look at it to determine if your home is safe from potential hazard.

Termite/Pest Control Company – You may have termites and not know it! Before you consider selling your home, it is strongly recommended to have a pest control expert inspect your home for termites, insects and other risks associated with vermin.

Title Company – Are you legally able to sell the home at all? Is the property under your name, or do you need the permission of a third party like a former spouse or relative to sell? Enlist the assistance of a title company to confirm ownership.

Insurance Consultant – Are you liable for anything beyond the sale of the home? Will a potential buyer be able to insure the home against all natural disasters? You may need to consult with your insurance agency before you consider selling your home to know what is needed from you.

Moving Company – Last but not least, once you do sell your home you have to move all your stuff! Unless you plan to rent a van and do it yourself, you will have to call a moving company to assist you.

When you think about it, there are many people involved in the sale of a home. Though you likely won’t see all of them at once, your house can expect to receive lots of company as you prepare to sell, not all of them buyers! This is why it is important to consider all factors before going through with a For Sale by Owner option.

With a real estate professional on your side, however, many of these tasks may be covered by the agency. This is why it is recommended that you consult with an agent even if you plan to sell on your own. Get all the facts before you hang your sign.

Kathryn Lively [http://blog.thewriteseo.com] is a freelance writer who writes for American Loss Mitigation, helping homeowners stop foreclosure, and for Exclusive Tenant Rep, Virginia business real estate solutions.

Author: Kathryn Lively
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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How Drinking Water From Your Home Water Filter Can Become Contaminated

Filtered water from your own home water treatment could save you money. Beside the environmental hazard of empty plastic bottles, depending on bottled water could be very expensive. Tap water has been shown to better than most bottled water.

However, disturbing news about certain public water treatment facility practices can make one wonder if drinking water from such treatment facility is dependable. This was shown in a recent report in Canada and in US that operators admitted to doctoring water quality analysis in order to make the water appear clean. Also, adequately treated water can be contaminated within the house plumbing systems.

To ensure clean healthy water, many people have purchased a home water treatment device. These devices are designed to remove harmful chemicals in drinking water. But without proper maintenance, filtered water can become contaminated. This could happen in a couple of ways as shown in the following explanations.

First, scientists say that drinking water can pick up radon in the home. Radon gas is colorless, odorless, and radioactive which can occur naturally in the air by the breakdown of uranium. According to Penn State Agricultural and Biological Engineering, if radon contaminates your drinking water, and the water passes through an activated carbon filter, the system could become radioactive, making the dispensed water even more dangerous.

Secondly, the media in a water treatment device helps reduce contaminants in your drinking water when contaminants are trapped in the filter pores or when they adhere to the surface of the media. The filter pores have limited capacity to allow water to pass through them. So, as more water is used the pores can become clogged with the contaminants, or it may accumulate too much on the media surface.

If the filter is not replaced according to manufacturer’s recommendations, the contaminants on the media surface could become some large that it will eventually fall off and contaminate the water being filtered. In some cases, it may even be necessary to change your filter cartridges more frequently due to the quality of your water.

It is therefore recommended that you should check the radon level in your home after you have installed a water filter, and to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for water filter replacement cartridges.

To learn about choosing the best water filter system for your home, you may visit the author’s website at Water Filters and Water Purifiers Guide.

Author: Dare Adelugba
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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These Substances Can Destroy Your Health – Avoid Them!

There are various substances that are around us on earth. Some of them are good while some are not just bad but dangerous. Most of the dangerous ones are so deadly that they kill humans. These substances can be in gaseous, solid or liquid state. You have to watch out for these dangerous ones that can go as far as killing anybody.

Air is a mixture of gases but all the gases in air are not needed by man for respiration because they are dangerous gases. Maybe you need to know that the air contains gases such as nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon compounds, oxygen and the rare gases but in all these gases, man requires only oxygen. Maybe you also need to know that some carbon compounds in air such as carbon monoxide could be dangerous to human health. You will find out as you read on.

There are certain machines, devices or gadgets that we use that produce gases that are dangerous to our health. There are cars, airplanes, lorries, motorcycle, and other means of transportation that are in all the countries of the world. These technological machines make our movement from one place to another less difficult. However, these exact same machines produce gases that can cause serious health problems to human beings.

Exhaust pipes of vehicles produce carbon monoxide. This carbon monoxide is dangerous to health when inhaled because it reacts with the constituents of the human blood and body. What is carbon monoxide and how does it affect human?

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, flammable, and highly poisonous gas. It is a major product of partial combustion of carbon and carbon compounds. Carbon monoxide combines strongly with the iron atoms in hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the major oxygen-carrying compound in human blood. The affinity between carbon monoxide and hemoglobin is 240 times stronger than the affinity between hemoglobin and oxygen.

The combination between carbon monoxide and hemoglobin leads to carbon monoxide poisoning. The combination produces a dangerous compound known as carboxyhemoglobin which displaces the oxygenated blood carried by hemoglobin. This poisoning can lead to death. One unusual thing is that the victim will not feel as if anything is happening to him or her until it becomes too late.

One of the ways to treat carbon monoxide poisoning if the victim is still alive is to move the person to an environment where he or she will receive fresh air immediately because breathing pure oxygen from the fresh air can cause faster removal of carbon monoxide from the blood.

Another poisonous substance is radon. Radon is a radioactive gaseous element. Research has shown that it can cause cancer of the lings and other types of cancer.

Other poisonous substances are nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, fluorine, mercury and lead. Like radon, lead is a radioactive element and soft metal that can cause also cause severe health problems such as brain damage, cancer of the lungs, anemia, high blood pressure, impotence, anxiety, nervous breakdown and hyperactivity. It enters the human body through food, water and air in varying quantities. 65% of the substance enters the human body through food. 20% of the radioactive element enters the body through water and 15% of it enters through air. Research has shown that cigarette contains a negligible amount of lead. Research has also shown that food substances such as fruit, vegetables, meats, grains and soft drinks contain small quantities of lead.

Avoid these gases, elements or substances as much as you can so that they will not adverse effect on your health. Handle them with proper care if you are working in companies, factories or industries where they are used as raw materials.

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Author: Raymond Edeh
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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