Category Archives: Radon on the Web

Informative articles about radon mitigation gathered from around the web

Should You Test For Radon in Your Home?

Most people don’t think much about Radon, and yet Radon can have a major impact on their health and that of their families. That’s because Radon can seep into homes and contaminate the air inside. That’s a major reason for concern as Radon is a major cause of lung cancer, second only after cigarette smoking. In fact, the US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that there are over 20,000 deaths in the United States every year due to exposure to Radon. How are we getting exposed to Radon, and what can a homeowner do about it?

Radon is a gas that is formed naturally when uranium in rock, soil and groundwater breaks down. The Radon gas then finds its way up to the surface. Unlike other forms of pollution or dangerous gasses, you can neither see nor smell Radon. Most of the time, Radon harmlessly dissipates into the atmosphere outdoors, as it has for millions of years, and it isn’t a problem at all. It does become a problem when it finds its way into your house. How can that happen?

In many ways. What happens is that the Radon gas in the soil under your home collects in the void and air spaces under the foundation slab and gradually enters the home. It can also enter through cracks in foundations or even through showers and drainage sumps. Most new homes have much better insulation than in the past, of so the Radon gas becomes trapped indoors. So in this case the better insulation and sealing actually works against you. What can be done to fix a home with a Radon problem?

There are two basic ways to handle the problem. One of them is to install pipes that suck the Radon gas away from the spaces beneath the foundation and harmlessly expel it to the outside above the roof via an electric fan connected to exterior pipes. Another is to run the pipes inside the house or the garage so that the Radon is expelled outside above the roof. In this case, the electric fan is located in the attic, so the components of the system cannot be seen from the outside of the home. Both of these methods are referred to as Radon reduction or “mitigation” systems. According to Jamey Gelina, a radon specialist with The Air Quality Control Agency, “Radon gas can be reduced to safe levels in practically any home when the proper mitigation techniques are applied.”

How do homeowners know whether or not their house is exposed to Radon? That’s where Radon testing comes in. Radon occurs all over the United States, so testing should be pretty much mandatory. Testing is fairly simple and can be done by qualified testing services that install a detection device and then examine the results after a few days. This will reliably determine if the Radon levels in a home are high enough to require a Radon mitigation system. About one in every 15 homes in the US has excessive Radon levels, and Radon testing is mandatory in many states when you buy or sell a home. Even if it’s not, given the potential health risks, it’s foolish not to test one’s home.

If testing reveals elevated Radon levels, a Radon mitigation system must be installed. Installation isn’t difficult and it’s a proven and effective technology, but it must be done right. There are many qualified mitigation system installers with certified and licensed technicians, so pick someone who’s been in the business for a while to remove this potentially deadly thread from your home.

Chris Robertson is an author of Majon International, one of the worlds MOST popular internet marketing companies on the web. Learn more about Radon Testing and Mitigation.

Author: Chris Robertson
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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Radon – The Invisible Killer

Radon is a colorless, tasteless, naturally occurring radioactive gas found in soil and rock that is a by-product of decaying uranium. You might be thinking, I’ve heard of uranium, don’t they make bombs from that? Well, yes they do, but uranium occurs naturally in rocks all around the globe. Some areas have a natural propensity to have higher concentrations of uranium than others.

Why radon is dangerous

We are all walking around with a bit of radiation in our bodies, and radon is by far the largest contributor to a person’s overall amount of radiation they are carrying around. Breathing high doses of radon has been scientifically proven to cause lung cancer. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, radon could be the second most frequent cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoking causing 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States. Radon-induced lung cancer ranks as the 6th leading cause of cancer deaths overall. Other forms of cancer may be related to radon exposure. Studies are underway to see if there exists a relationship between radon exposure and leukemia.

Where radon is

Remember radon gas is formed as a by-product of soil containing granite or shale (the two of which carry larger than average amounts of uranium). But we’re talking very small amounts. On average, every square mile of surface soil, to a depth of 6 inches, contains only 1 gram of radium which is responsible for releasing radon into the atmosphere. Worldwide, the amount of radon varies greatly and is variable within a given region and even from room to room in a house.

Is radon in my home?

Radon exits the ground and can seep into your home through cracks and holes in the foundation. Radon gas can also contaminate well water. We know that radon concentrations are usually higher in areas near major fault lines so in Southern California we should be aware and take the proper precautions.

Knowing the characteristics of radon gas should help protect you and your family from exposure. First, radon gas being heavier than air tends to settle in low lying areas. With adequate ventilation, radon gas cannot become concentrated to a level to cause harm. On the other hand, in enclosed areas such as inside buildings, basements and crawl spaces, radon gas levels can become harmful. Second, if you smoke, stop! The effects of radon exposure in people that smoke is synergistic; i.e. the effect of smoking coupled with higher than average levels of radon exposure is greater than the sum of the two parts measured separately.

The EPA claims that 1 in 15 U.S. homes has radon levels above the recommended guideline. Their guideline of what is acceptable is roughly equivalent to receiving 200 chest x-rays over one’s lifetime. Their current recommendation (and that of the US Surgeon General) is that all homes be monitored for radon levels.

How to test for radon

Home kits are available in most home centers but it is claimed that their results might not be reliable. A better option would be to hire a professional home inspector with experience in radon testing. Professional tests are reliable in determining if your home has areas in it where radon levels are above the threshold set forth by the EPA. The tests are non-invasive and begin by placing a measurement device near the floor on the lower level of the home. Additional tests may be recommended by the inspector if you have any granite surfaces in your home, like a kitchen countertop. Other than placing the collection devices where recommended, nothing is done. There are some specific instructions that you must follow regarding the testing site(s) like keeping the windows and doors shut as much as possible. Testing may have to be postponed if your area is experiencing high winds or a pending storm, or if humidity levels are high (all of which may adversely affect the test results).

The inspector will return in 2-7 days to collect the devices after which time they are sent to a lab for analysis. Results are usually available shortly thereafter.

How to remove radon

The EPA recommends you use mitigation (control) techniques to reduce indoor radon if levels in your home are above the recommended threshold. Mitigation methods include adding positive pressure ventilation in your home which effectively creates a pressure differential (higher pressure in your home, gas cannot flow in). Sealing all floor penetrations to help prevent the gas from seeping into your home from below is also a good idea. Be advised that ventilating your basement or crawl space IS NOT RECOMMENDED as some people suggest. This flawed mitigation technique practiced by many companies could have the adverse effect of bringing more radon gas in which naturally exists outside the footprint of your home’s foundation.

Homebuyers: be sure to read this

If you are in the process of purchasing a home ask your Realtor to include a radon contingency in your offer to purchase. This clause states the maximum level of radon that is acceptable to you and your family. Afterwards, hire a company to survey the home for radon gas levels. Radon testing is offered by most professional home inspection companies so be sure to ask this question when interviewing home inspectors in your area. If radon levels are found to be above the levels set by you in your contingency, this clause will afford you the right to back out of the contract without penalty.

Facts to remember about radon gas

  • Just because your next door neighbor’s house has tested high for radon gas does not mean your home is at risk.
  • Houses with basements are not at a higher risk for radon than houses without basements.
  • Radon levels vary region to region, and even from house to house on the same street.

This article is free to copy and use on your website or other publication providing the information below is included in your article.

Darin Redding is owner of Housecall Property Inspections, a professional San Diego Home Inspection company. Original Article Source: Radon San Diego

Author: Darin Redding
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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