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Radon Mitigation in Virginia Becomes A Necessity for Homeowners

There’s been a bit of a myth being tossed around about a frog’s reaction to the gradual increase of heat. Some claim that if a frog is placed in warm water that the frog will not attempt to escape even as the water begins to boil-thus, the frog dies. Others say that the frog will not sit still long enough for the water to boil, or that the frog would absolutely notice the change and try to escape.

However, the scenario has been likened to snake rescue, where one expert has said that a snake will rest on a “hot rock” even if the rock becomes extraordinarily hot and eventually kills the snake. Let’s assume this perspective is correct and that some reptiles don’t respond or even recognize an obvious and deadly change in their environment. Does it suffice to say that we as humans may sometimes be unaware of the hazards that slowly develop within the very comforts of our own homes? Some would say, yes.

Radon Enters The Scenario

Many people have died as the result of carbon monoxide poisoning, which has been known to increase over time without an individual even noticing. This is why many states have requirements for carbon monoxide detectors. Radon poisoning can and does have the same ill-fated effects as carbon monoxide poisoning and the reptile stories mentioned above.

Radon is the result of soil’s uranium decay. As this process occurs, polonium is released and this creates radon’s toxicity. Unfortunately, radon commonly goes unnoticed, not because of ignorance but because of the gas’ translucence and ability to go under the human radar.

It is invisible. It has no taste, form or scent. So, it’s not all that uncommon for a person to unknowingly live in a home with extraordinarily high levels of radon. Although radon is quite frightening to discuss, it’s very real and more importantly-it’s easy to fix!

Let’s learn more about the effects of overexposure to radon gas and then we’ll discuss the testing and radon mitigation resources that are available in Virginia.

Radon-The Second Leading Cause of Lung Cancer

By now, the harmful effects of cigarette smoke is no hidden secret, but for many years smoking was part of relaxation and for some, a past time. Smoking cigarettes and living in a home with radon gas has one thing in common- lung cancer.

Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer and radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer. However, radon takes the lead as the leading cause of lung cancer amongst non-smokers. By the simple process of elimination, radon is a killer and just as cigarettes have gotten away with murder, radon is still getting away with over 20 thousand deaths a year in the U.S. alone-according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has documented about 15 percent of the world’s lung cancer cases as being caused by radon poisoning.

Low Radon Levels Are Still Dangerous

It’s easy to think that the worst thing possible could never happen to you; in fact that’s optimism at its best. However, when radon is involved in the equation, optimism can coexist with being proactive and safe. Even if a home has somewhat low, or what is considered to be low risk levels of radon, it’s still a good idea to call a professional to mitigate and get the levels as low as possible.

“We know that radon is a carcinogen. This research confirms that breathing low levels of radon can lead to lung cancer,” said Tom Kelly, the director of the EPA’s Indoor Environments Division.

“Most radon-induced lung cancers occur from low and medium dose exposures in people’s homes. Radon is the second most important cause of lung cancer after smoking in many countries,” said Dr. Maria Neira of the WHO.

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Radon Levels in Virginia

According to the studies performed by Air Chek, Inc., the national average of radon levels in the U.S. is 1.3 pCi/L (Picocuries) and potentially more than 70 percent of the counties in Virginia maintain a level of radon even higher than 1.3.

Although the EPA has defined 4.0 pCi/L as the “requires action” level, many organizations including the WHO have found that even low levels of radon can be problematic, as we’ve already learned.

Virginia, like West Virginia, has many counties harboring very high levels of radon. However, Virginia is looking a bit better than West Virginia that only has six of the 50 counties with a minimal risk of radon. Meanwhile, Virginia has just below 50 percent of the counties in danger and about a quarter of the excess counties in moderate danger.

Though shocking and even a little scary, these numbers don’t define your home’s levels. In fact, you could have low levels of radon. But, regardless of the level, you want to know your family is safe. The best way to do that is to have your home tested for radon and to be sure to have annual checkups to be sure your mitigation system is working efficiently. As the earth’s soil changes, climate and your home changes, the radon levels can also adjust either by increasing or decreasing over time. That’s why it’s important to work with an expert in minimizing the radon levels in your home.

The EPA has defined three defining zones for radon levels: high, moderate and minimal concern. It appears that the southeast counties of Virginia have maintained a minimal risk as the rest of the state varies between high and moderate concern.

Here are three examples of Virginia counties with different levels of radon.

Southampton County is considered to be at low risk with 11% high concern, 21% moderate and 69% low.

Wise County is considered moderate risk with 38% high, 18% moderate and 52% low.

Lee County is considered at high risk with 41% high, 15% moderate and 44% low.

Although these all have different overall averages, each county has a percent of homes with high radon levels. This means that all homeowners regardless of the county should have their home checked for radon. What are your levels?

Your home’s radon levels can be lessened and you can be saved from the radon toxicity by contacting your local radon mitigation expert.

If you want a Virginia radon expert to mitigate your home and identify your home’s radon level, be sure to contact Evergreen Basement Systems. They offer radon mitigation in Virginia as well as other home improvement services such as basement, crawl space, and foundation repair, and basement waterproofing.

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
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Home Radon Gas: How to Detect and Use Testing Kits

Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that occurs naturally. It is a chemical element existing as a by-product of the natural decay of uranium, an element in the ground that been around since the earth was formed therefore it is found in low levels everywhere. When radon becomes trapped in buildings, concentrations can increase in indoor air and radon exposure then becomes a concern.

We need to be very much alert that radon is a deadly gas. It is one of the leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, only second to cigarette smoking which is the number one responsible for lung cancer deaths. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Surgeon General have strongly recommended that all residences (except those above the 2nd floor in multi-level buildings) be tested for radon. Needless to say, smokers with high levels of radon in the home has much greater risk of getting lung cancer.

How Radon Gets in Home
Uranium is a radioactive element that decays and forms radium which gives off radon gas, it then travels up through the ground and infiltrates the water and air we breathe. When it reaches the surface of the ground, the gas can go directly into the air where it does not usually do any damage, or it can seep into a building where it collects and causes health problems.

Some parts of the US are more susceptible to radon gas than others. The difference between the higher pressure in the soil around your home’s foundation and the lower air pressure inside your home makes your house act like vacuum, that radon gas gets drawn in through cracks, open seams, holes and just about any openings below the surface of the ground.

Since radon may also presents in well water, it can be released into the air in your home via showering water and other household water uses, though the risk is small compared to the radon amount entered from the soil. For small number of homes, the building materials may also give off radon gas, although they rarely cause problems alone.

Methods to Detect Radon Level
You have to perform a test in order to find out if radon is in a building. That is the only way. The EPA recommends two ways of testing:

Short-Term or Passive Testing – This is the cheapest and quickest way. Depending on the device you choose, they can remain in your home for 2 to 90 days. Charcoal canisters, electret ion chamber, continuous monitors and charcoal liquid scintillation detectors are most commonly used in short term testing. Because radon levels tend to vary from day to day and season to season, a short term test offers a less conclusive evaluation than a long term test. For quickest yet firmer results, do a short term test followed by another passive test as such.

Many types of low cost short term “do it yourself” radon test kits are available in hardware stores and home centers. Make sure to buy a test kit that has passed EPA’s testing program or is state certified. You should see phrase like “Meets EPA Requirements” displayed on the kits. They are quite inexpensive.

Long Term or Active Testing – This is a more expensive way and the testing kit has to be remained in the home for more than 90 days. There are two types of commonly used test kits: Alpha track and electret detectors. A long term test gives you a reading that is most likely to tell your home’s year round average radon level. Radon gas detectors that monitor gas levels on a continuous basis are also available.

Hire an EPA qualified or state certified radon tester if you prefer, some lenders may require certified test results to close the transaction when buying or selling a home.

How to Use a Radon Test Kit
Always follow the instructions that come with the test kit. Place the radon test kit in the lowest living space of the property. It should be put in a room that is used regularly, but not your kitchen or bathroom. Put the kit at least 20 inches above the floor in a location where it won’t be disturbed. Keep it away from drafts, high heat, high humidity and exterior walls. Leave the kit in place for as long as the package says, do not take away earlier than that. When finished testing, reveal the package, send it to the package specified lab directly. Normally you should receive the results within a couple of weeks.

Note that if you are doing a very short test that lasts only 2-3 days, be sure to close your windows and outside doors at least 12 hours in advance; for longer period of testing, keep the windows and outside doors as much as possible during the test. Keep in mind: Do Not conduct 2 to 3-day passive tests during severe storms or unusually high winds. The results will not be accurate.

Interpreting Test Results
The amount of radon in the air is generally measured in picocuries of radon per liter of air (pCi/l), or may be expressed in Working Levels (WL) sometimes. Based on the EPA standards, amount of radon that is higher than 4 pCi/l or 0.002 WL is considered too high that corrective measures should be taken to fix the problem. If your initial short term test result is higher than 4 pCi/l or 0.002 WL, the EPA recommends that you take a second test to be sure. For a better understanding of the radon levels in your home, taking a long term test is recommended.

Any radon exposure carries some risk, even the levels below EPA set standard. So lower the radon amount sometimes is necessary. This would be in the next hub – Radon Reduction Techniques.

(c)Copyrighted: You may freely republish this article as long as author bio and active hyperlinks are included.

Jacklyn Chen – Webmaster of Gift Ideas and Magazine Subscriptions

Author: Jacklyn Chen
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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Radon and Lung Cancer – What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You When Buying a Home

Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers in the United States. As a Certified Property Inspector and Radon tester, I am seeing that most new home buyers are unaware of the dangers of Radon. As a result of this lack of information, most home buyers as well as current homeowners are not having their homes tested for Radon. In many cases, my clients have also been misinformed by real estate representatives or the media regarding both the prevalence and lung cancer dangers of radon. Radon testing if done by the homeowner, is inexpensive, and takes only 48 hours.

Here are some important facts about Radon that homeowners and renters should know to protect the health of your family. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. Visit cheec.uiowa.edu/misc/radon.html for more on a study by Dr. William Field on radon-related lung cancer in women.

Radon is a cancer-causing natural radioactive gas that you can’t see, smell or taste. The type of construction, foundation or location does not prevent a Radon problem. Its presence in a home can pose a danger to a familys health. The only way to determine if a home has a Radon problem is to have an EPA standardized test done. This test can be completed by the homeowner or a certified professional.

The U.S. Surgeon General and EPA recommend that all homes be tested for radon. All homes can be fixed if there is a radon problem found. The average cost of a radon fix for a home is about $1,200. Some home improvement stores sell inexpensive test kits for about $35 (which includes an EPA certified lab report). However, Consumer Reports recently found that those test kits were not very accurate. Therefore, if you want to do your own testing contact your state radon office for a better quality inexpensive test kit.

If the homeowner or buyer/seller does not or cannot to do the Radon testing (some states require a professional complete the test during a real estate transaction), visit the National Environmental Health Association Radon Certification website at: radongas.org/radon_measurement_service.shtml This site has properly certified radon testers as myself listed by the cities in your state.

The untimely deaths of Peter Jennings and Dana Reeve have raised public awareness about lung cancer, especially among people who have never smoked. Smoking, radon, and secondhand smoke are the leading causes of lung cancer. Although lung cancer can be treated, the survival rate is one of the lowest for those with cancer. In many cases lung cancer can be prevented; this is especially true for radon.

EPA has designated January as National Radon Action Month, a time when state radon programs and other partners conduct special radon outreach activities and events across the country. The aim of National Radon Action Month is to increase the public’s awareness of radon, promote radon testing and mitigation, and advance the use of radon-resistant new construction practices.

For more information on Radon and home inspections or to contact the author, please visit: http://www.gpinspect.com

Steve Zivolich, is an ASHI Certified Inspector and owner of Guaranteed Property Inspection and Mold Investigation in Southern California. He is also certified in: Radon, Mold, Energy Efficiency and Asbestos testing and investigations.

Author: Steve Zivolich
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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Radon And Real Estate – Know The Facts And Fear Not

Concerned about buying or selling a home with Radon? You’ll find no need to worry if you educate yourself with the facts. Radon is found all over the United States, and one home can show a reading while the house next door shows nothing. From a real estate perspective, buyers can consider it a plus if a mitigation system is already in place, because that means the house has been tested, and fixed, and there’s no mystery. On the flip side, sellers can confidently let potential buyers see the radon results of a house, along with any mitigation, in a positive light, because information is more honorable than ignorance. I figure the good karma alone would pay off…

Radon is a radioactive gas found in soil and rock, formed by the decay of uranium, which is a natural process. Radon gas is invisible, with no odor or taste. Statistics say that radon hasn’t been shown to negatively affect home sales, but after my own experience of having the option to buy a house with radon, I wondered if that statistic was really true. I didn’t want to buy a “cancer-causing radon house” but that was a very uneducated and closed end thought. Ironically, I was ready and willing to buy a house that didn’t even mention radon at all. Of course, it had to finally occur to me, “What if this other house has radon too, and it’s just never been tested?”

In retrospect, our situation made me think that the psychology of not mentioning it at all could be pretty slick, and affective, but only initially. The truth is, there are still many people who – innocently – don’t consider it an important part of buying or selling a home; it simply doesn’t occur to them. There are many who even consider radon a scam entirely. However, out of respect and consideration for the market, it would probably be wise to have test results on hand.

Would you rather know, or choose ignorance? I’d rather know, particularly if a house had a high level that needed to be addressed with mitigation. An extremely high level, like 20 pCi/L (pico Curies per Liter) might spook me a little, but my chances of getting lung cancer even then (without mitigation) would only be 36 out of 1000, and that’s IF I were exposed over a lifetime. Statistics say that a level of 20 pCi/L would cause lung cancer to 260 out of 1000 people if they were exposed to that level for a lifetime AND they also smoked cigarettes. So obviously the level is hugely reduced for non-smokers, but we all know that smoking is its own risk anyway.

Human nature doesn’t typically want to think about risks and our emotional interpretation of them with numbers, charts and comparisons. Any one of us could still get hit by a bus tomorrow, right? Still, information offers wisdom, and to make a decision as a home buyer, you should take a look at the numbers with a mitigation system in place so you can at least see that there’s no need for extensive fear.

Mitigation systems can reduce whatever level of radon that is present down to 2 to 4 pCi/L. Because of the very definition of radon, the EPA can’t say that they consider any level safe, but they do say that 2 to 4 pCi/L is acceptable, with minimal risks. If mitigation lowers radon to an acceptable level, the EPA says your chances of getting lung cancer are only about 5 in 1000. With lower numbers like that, one realizes that walking or living in pollution over a lifetime could just as easily have ramifications too, like a dozen or more other factors. Okay, so, “Warning: being alive will kill you one day.” No big surprise there.

It’s nothing to make fun of, but very low levels of radon need not be perceived as alarms that make home buyers run for the hills. Humans have been living with varying amounts of radon in the earth and air for a long time, completely oblivious to it for the most part. It fluctuates with warm and cold, damp and dry conditions, and furthermore, there are worse things in the world that can be just as hazardous to our health, if not more so. Don’t become phobic, but stop and think about the chemistry, biology and toxins all over our environments; some of our cleaning products, molds, pesticides, pets, and even food choices… Heaven help us if we over-analyze “indoor pollution” and “what’s in that dust?”

Here are some things to consider, just to make sure you’re informed and have no unnecessary fears or misconceptions.

How long might you live in the house? Some people buy a house to live in for a lifetime while others know that they will want to take it up a notch in 5 or so years. Radon’s health risks are charted to show how a person’s health would be affected over a lifetime of exposure; this is probably equivalent to 20 years or more. The risk for only 5 to 10 years of exposure would likely show lower risks than the EPA’s “over a lifetime” chart.

According to the EPA, the average indoor radon level is estimated to be about 1.3 pCi/L. If you buy a home that hasn’t been tested at all, consider that this average exists.

Yes, radon is a hazard, but it can be fixed. Have confidence in mitigation systems, and if you have any doubt, contact the National Radon Hotline at 1-800-SOS RADON to ask if there are mitigation professionals in your area that can check the system. If they can’t tell you, they can at least give you the number to your state’s radon office so you can find out about trained mitigation contractors in your area.

Study the Environmental Protection Agency’s website (www.epa.gov) to find many consumer resources, including information about radon and health, and how various mitigation systems work.

If you’re in love with a house that you want to buy, don’t hesitate to ask the seller to test for radon, even though it may take some extra time. If the score shows radon above the “acceptable” level, know that mitigation can either be requested as a contingency in your offer, or you can try to get a fair reduction on the price of the house to accommodate your cost of adding mitigation.

Suggestion to sellers: test your house and make sure you’re ready to show test results if a prospective buyer asks about radon. If needed at all, you can either have mitigation installed in order to offer a safer home for sale, or be prepared to lower your asking price accordingly. (Not by much, roughly $500 to $2000). There’s a very good chance that a buyer will appreciate the knowledge or action taken pre-sale. Only the uneducated will shy away, so it would be helpful to have a few informative brochures readily available.

Simply put, houses with radon can be fixed, and doing so doesn’t cost an arm and a leg – no more than a medium to low-cost home repair. Fear not. If you want to buy a house because it feels like home, and the deal is ripe and full of potential, don’t miss out on it due to uninformed (or misinformed) fears about radon. Refer to http://www.radon.com or the EPA’s website to find out more about test kits and contacting your state’s radon office; be educated, so you can make a smart decision on buying, or take responsible, if not considerate, action as a seller.

Author: Angela Cravens
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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The Top 5 Ways to Keep Radon Out of Your Family’s Home

1. Get a radon test performed
Testing homes and businesses for radon is one of the best ways to tell how much radon is coming into your home through cracks and crevices. A radon test tells you numerically what the risk in your home is. And since our kids, pets and ourselves breathe radon gas in and out constantly, it makes sense that more and more people are getting the test done to make sure there is as little radon in their home as possible. After all, if you could prevent lung cancer, wouldn’t you?

2. Get a professional opinion
Even if you buy a home radon test kit yourself, getting a professional opinion is always a good idea. The reason is that first, a radon kit must be done scientifically. Any moving air, pets or kids going by can skew the test results so it’s best to have your results verified by a professional radon mitigation contractor. Plus, they know tricks and things to look out for because they work to get rid of radon all the time. Most of us don’t have that expertise and knowledge to work off of.

If needed, radon mitigators will advise you on what measures can be taken to rid your home of the radioactive gas. They can tell you what needs to be done specifically to make your home and family less susceptible to the effects of radon gas.

3. Re-test your home
Any responsible radon mitigation professional will test your home for an initial radon reading. But, the best radon experts will perform checkups on your home’s levels to ensure your home’s radon levels are still safe. This is much like a scientific experiment, where the scientists will take measurements before and after the “action” has taken place. This allows them to provide a numerical value to represent the radon changes in your home. This matters because it dictates whether anything needs to be done to the home, to get the radon readings as low as possible.

4. Seal it up
A common practice homeowners and contractors will take on is to seal the home’s cracks to keep radon out. This helps because it cuts down the amount of air that passes in and out of the home. The only issue with this is that homes are chock full of cracks and crevices and it’s almost impossible to make sure they are all sealed. Even if you did seal 100% of them, radon could still be present in the home. This is why crack sealing is a great complement to other radon mitigation practices but should not be the only line of defense.

5. Get a radon detector
As the dangers of radon are now talked about more than years past, companies have made radon detectors easier for homeowners to find and use. Radon detectors can help alert you to high radon levels in a home. There are both short-term and long-term detectors available on the market. Radon detectors are a great way to get an immediate reading on your home or office and can also be used after radon mitigation to ensure that levels are consistent – if something changes in the amount of radon, the detector should detect that and give a different reading.

If you’re looking for a radon mitigation professional in your area to perform radon gas testing in your home, you should contact National Radon Defense. It’s a network of radon business professionals that you can trust.

Author: Marianne Snyder
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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How to Protect Your Family From Radon Gas

Number one cause of cancer
It’s common knowledge that smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer and it makes sense. With all the chemicals flowing through the lungs consistently each and every day, the chemicals cause regular cells to mutate into cancer cells and then they spread throughout the body.

Radon causes lung cancer
The same principle follows with the second leading cause of lung cancer, which is radon gas. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) radon kills 21,000 people by way of lung cancer each year. About 2,900 of those people were not even smokers. Radon can also be found naturally in drinking water, which is another way it enters our bodies.

Radon gas can be found everywhere naturally. But it’s especially found in enclosed spaces like mines, homes, and basements. It’s a gas no human can smell or see, which makes it dangerous because there’s no way to know for sure that you have a radon problem just by smelling it or looking for it. To put this into perspective of how dangerous radon gas can be to your health, the third leading cause of lung cancer is second-hand smoke.

The most threatening side effect of radon gas is lung cancer. It is the only physical malady proven to be linked to radon exposure. According to the EPA, smokers have an even higher risk of getting lung cancer when exposed to radon because they have more carcinogens passing through their lungs at a consistent rate.

Since the gas permeates our lives quite literally, we are constantly breathing it in and out with each breath. The gas is both inside and outside as it comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in our soil and water. Radon is a form of radiation, which may be why it affects us like other radiation forms do. Since the gas is all around us, we have to be vigilant about watching the gas levels in the spaces we inhabit.

The quick fix
Testing for radon levels is the easiest way to find out if you have radon gas in your office or home. Testing kits can be found at hardware stores or online and you can set them up. You will need to follow the instructions very carefully so test results are not skewed however.

Another option is to have a radon mitigation contractor do a radon reading at your home to see what levels of the gas are present. This is a great value because the contractor can also tell you how to best keep radon out of your home or office. Whether your test results come back with high levels or low levels, they can give you tips on how to best protect yourself and family from the gas. If you do end up needing a radon mitigation system, a certified radon contractor will be able to complete the job correctly. Doing it yourself could save you money initially but the chances are high that at some point a contractor will need to come in to get the radon levels as low as possible.

The radon reading catch
The EPA recommends that buildings with 4 pCi/L (pico Curies per Liter) or more take action and have the building mitigated for radon. The difficulty with this is that many people then think levels lower than 4pCi/L are safe.

The reality is though, is that even at a level of 1.3 oCi/L in a building, 2 out of 1,000 people may still get lung cancer. As a country we still do not understood enough about radon and the risk it poses to each of us. This means the best way to protect ourselves is to go on the offensive against radon.

The take home message here is, radon can still harm you, even with only small amounts. This isn’t being written as a scare tactic, but to make people aware of what radon can do, so they can protect themselves and their family.

To test your home or office for radon gas, find a professional who does radon gas testing today.

Marianne Snyder writes about home improvement topics like energy efficiency, basement waterproofing and crawl space repair.

Author: Marianne Snyder
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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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.

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.

Olympian Civil Home and Building Inspections (866) 476-2056
Copyright © 2008 Olympian Civil Home and Building Inspectors,
2008 All Rights Reserved

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
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