Friday, March 27, 2009

Radon 2nd Leading Cause of Lung Cancer

(Source: Robin Meyer)

Radon is responsible for at least 15,000 to 20,000 getting lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. In fact, radon exposure is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. This tragedy is compounded by the fact that both radon testing and radon mitigation are simple and inexpensive. While nationally 1 in 15 homes may show dangerous levels of radon, the average levels in many parts of the mid-Atlantic may be two to three times higher than this. There are no immediate symptoms of radon exposure and you cannot see, taste, feel, or smell radon. Cancer can show up five to 25 years after exposure and about 12% of lung cancer diagnoses are caused by radon.

Where Radon Comes From

Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the soil. It is a byproduct of uranium decay. Radon can be found in-new homes, older homes, homes in need of repair, homes without basements; there is no pattern. Your neighbor's home might be radon-free, while your home has dangerous levels. Radon can come from the ground beneath a home, well water, and various building materials. The only way to know is to test your home, which can be done for less than $30 with a simple kit available at most hardware stores.

Before Buying a Home:

Ask the seller for a copy of the home's radon test results. If the home has not been tested, ask your home inspector to include a radon test in his report.
Make sure that the Radon Testing Checklist items were met.
Make sure that the last test was recent, at least within the past 2 years.
Make sure that the seller has performed the test in the lowest, livable level of the house. This usually means the basement, but if the home has no basement, test in the lowest level of the house.
Ask that the home be tested again if any changes have been made to the home's heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system since the last test was done.
Should you decide to renovate an unfinished part of the home, test for radon before work begins. It is much easier to install a radon system in an unfinished room. If your test results are close to the EPA action level (4.0 pCi/l), test the space again after work is completed.
When renovating an unfinished part of a home or building a new home, look to minimize radon presence.

To Minimize Radon When Building a New Home:

  • The integrity of the slab should be maintained at all times.
  • Sump pits need to be installed with a sealed cover.
  • Use a gas tight radon drain for all floor drains.
  • When framing, run a radon vent pipe from the basement to the high part of the attic. This pipe should not be to close to the attic eaves, so that a radon fan can be easily added at a later date if needed.
  • If a sump pump is not required for the basement or if the construction is slab on grade, have drain tile looped around the perimeter of the inside of the foundation and have it terminate with a 3 inch PVC "rough in." A 3" PVC vent pipe is sufficient for spaces that are less than 2,000 square feet. Use a 4" PVC "rough in" and a 4" PVC vent pipe for spaces larger than 2,000 square feet.

How to Measure Radon

Homeowners can test for radon themselves. Order a radon test kit and when finished, make sure to return the radon test to the laboratory with all the required information filled out. Be sure to follow the test kit instructions to the letter. One of the most common mistakes is over or under exposing the devices. A radon test result of 4 picocuries (a picocurie is one trillionth of a curie and measures radioactivity) per liter or higher is considered to be a high radon level. The average radon level in homes is 1.3pCi/L and .4pCi/L outdoors. The 1.3 pCi/l national average includes homes in many regions that do not have radon issues. Keep in mind that the 4.0 pCi/l standard was established as a matter of practicality, not safety. EPA officials at the time were unsure whether the technology and methods employed in 1984 were capable of reducing radon levels further. Recent studies show a significant risk of lung cancer when exposed at levels between 2 and 4 pCi/l. EPA recommends reducing radon levels to below 2pCi/l if possible.

If your home does have Radon

Costs to hire a radon removal professional to lower radon levels average about $800 to $1,200. Homes with crawl spaces or without gravel under the slab cost more. Many radon removal configurations exist and include sub slab depressurization (SSD), SSD with a crawl space, and air exchangers. The work required for a successful radon mitigation are beyond the skills of most untrained homeowners.

What to Consider When Hiring a Radon Abatement or Mitigation Firm

  • Ask to see proof of their certifications from National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) and/or the National Radon Safety Board (NRSB).
  • Contractors must also be licensed as home-improvement contactors in each state they wish to work. The District of Columbia is an exception in the case of radon work.
  • Make sure the contractor is fully insured.
  • Have them describe all of the work they will be doing.
  • Sign a contract and see that it includes all promises that were made verbally.
  • Don't pay for work until it is complete. Down payments are rarely required.
    Ask for at least a 20-year transferable warranty.

Radon Abatement Services is a radon mitigation contractor serving the greater Maryland, DC, and Virginia region. Contact them online for help with lowering radon levels. Call 301-718-6200 or visit their website at http:// for more information.

Fore more Radon Articles

Colorado Radon Testing

It's quite encouraging that more and more people are taking radon gas testing more serious. Maybe the agony it has caused many is the main source of this awareness. Nevertheless, we should not take chances when it comes to this gas and actually we should ensure that the test is done in our homes either by professionals or doing it ourselves with a home test kit.

Even though the home test kits are helpful, we definitely need the help of a special laboratory for analyzing the results of the test. One thing that is noticeable is that the levels of this gas can change depending on the weather. For instance, in winter the levels tend to be much higher while in summer the levels are quite lower. Nevertheless, if you live in a house that is third floor and upwards, then the risks are quite minimal.

When it comes to radon testing, devices that require longer periods of time in testing are more reliable and accurate. The reasoning behind this is that, radon levels change depending on the seasons and thus this devices that are long-term are able to get the average gas value of different seasons. Nevertheless, the minimum time that you need to expose the kit may carry depending on the device that you have.

On windy and stormy days Colorado radon testing might not be reliable and thus it's advisable for one to check the weather forecast before carrying out the test. However, if you prefer to go for short-term testing, then you should ensure that you keep all the windows and doors closed for about twelve hours before you start the test. This way, you'll be able to get accurate results.

More Articles about Radon Testing

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Denver Radon Test

Radon can be very devastating. In fact, living without being sure of radon levels in your house is quite risky. Therefore, to get clear analysis on the levels of this gas, you'll definitely need a radon test kit. This kits are available from National safety council, and they come in low prices that even cover lab analysis and postage costs.

A radon test kit will normally be accompanied by instructions on how to go about while measuring. Afterwords, the kit is sent to the laboratory for analysis and depending on the complexity of the test, the period within which you'll get the results may vary. Where exactly will you place your kit? Well, even though it may be provided for in the instructions, it's better if you placed on the lowest part of the house e.g the basement. Such places as the bathroom, kitchen, hallway or the laundry room have high moisture levels and will tamper with the accuracy of the results.

If your living room, bedroom or the study are located in the ground floor, then this are the areas that should be tested first. However, make sure that you or anyone else does not move the kit when in sampling process. Generally the kits are found in variety of types and thus you should specify the type you're interested in while making the order. You can either buy online or order one trough the phone.

Normally, the gas levels will vary from time to time and thus you should use the radon test kit as often. However, in case you change the ventilation systems, you renovate the house or there are earthquakes and so on, then you should test for radon levels again.

A2ZRadon Mitigation is Denver radon removal company. They help home owners lower the radon levels below 4.0. For More Information on Radon test kit, Visit His Site at RADON TEST KIT. You Can Also Add Your Views About Radon test kit At My Blog here RADON TEST KIT

Radon Mitigation - Fixing a Radon Problem the Right Way

What needs to be done?

If a home's radon level is 4 picocuries per liter or more, the EPA recommends a radon mitigation system (sometimes called radon remediation) to be installed.

A common method utilized to reduce the radon level is "sub slab depressurization". In this case, a suction point or points are determined and a pipe is inserted through the concrete slab floor. This pipe is connected to other PVC piping and a fan is positioned on the pipe outside the living area. The fan then draws the radon gas from beneath the home and vents it to the outside. A radon mitigation system can cost between $900-$2500.

Choosing a Radon Mitigation Company

A qualified radon mitigation company is your best choice for installation of a radon mitigation system.

In many states, these companies or individuals are certified by a state regulatory agency such as the DEP (Department of Environmental Protection). If this is not true in your state, then you should look for a qualified mitigator who is NEHA (National Environmental Health Association) certified. When choosing a radon mitigation company, you should ask for their state or NEHA certification number, if they offer free estimates, and a warranty on the system.

Typically, the mitigation company will visit the home to determine the best configuration of the system and the size of the fan for the type of foundation the house is built on. An estimate of cost for a system can then be determined. After choosing the contractor, plan on 1-2 days for installation.

As always, beware of the lowest bidder. Check for references, job examples, and the amount of time the contractor has been in business.

Life After Radon Mitigation

It is recommended that a radon mitigation system be tested after installation. A test may be performed after the system has been operational for 24 hours or more. A short-term test is usually used for the initial test. In some cases, the estimate given by the contractor may include the retest by a professional company or radon test kits.

A follow-up test is suggested every year to monitor the system's continued effectiveness.

Arick Amspacker is a certified radon technician and home inspector. Over the years he has taught continuing education courses for Realtors and many first time home buyers seminars, as well as a Community College course on inspections and radon. His website sells various types of inexpensive, easy to use radon testing devices, and offers a resource for radon information.